The Dark Store

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Ballad of GladnessMusic: Sarah Dew. Lyrics: Charlotte Oliver
00:00 / 04:22

The Dark Store is an exciting new collaborative project between Sarah and writer

Charlotte Oliver. It shines a spotlight on those who would not ordinarily have a chance to share their story: hidden workers from the 19th century up to the present day including the covid era.

'Ballad of Gladness' is a work-in-progress example of one of the songs that will form part of this hour long radio ballad. As part of a creative writing workshop with poet Clare Shaw,

Tracy White, member of USDAW (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) wrote a testimony detailing her working life during the covid pandemic. Charlotte then sifted through Tracy's words to find the essence of her story and shaped it into the ballad form that the song's lyrics take, whilst remaining true to Tracy's language. Sarah then wrote, recorded and produced the song.

Vocals: Charlotte Oliver, Clare Shaw, Raven (Sally Lidgley, Jaye Lewis, Pat Edmond,

Karen Chalmers, Nia Davison) and Sarah Dew.

Music: Sarah Dew

‘The Dark Store’ is a radio ballad: a collection of spoken word and original folk songs, highlighting the significance of the hidden labour and lives of essential workers, throughout history to the present day. The project uses historical material and contemporary testimonies, some of which reference the Covid era. These provide fabric that is worked into poetry, folk music and song by a collaboration of writer Charlotte Oliver and composer Sarah Dew. We provide a platform where voices are heard. We challenge invisibility; promote respect; applaud the creativity and struggles of those working in ‘the dark’, and disrupt preconceptions of historical forms and folk ballads.

'The Dark Store' will be installed at South Square Gallery from Friday 3rd June until September 2022.


It will be broadcast in full by Chapel FM;  more details to follow.


For information about Charlotte Oliver, see


For information about Clare Shaw, see 

Supported by Arts Council England; South Square Arts Centre;

Arcade Production Company, Scarborough; Chapel FM.

Please contact Sarah for further information.