About The Mill Ballads

The Mill Ballads toured as a music theatre production from the 17th October 2020 starting at Spring Bank Arts Centre in Derbyshire and concluding at the Lowther Pavilion Theatre in Lytham St Annes on the 2nd August 2023.

"Cheshire-based folk band Trebuchet...created a rich musical texture...Steve Howe...a magnetic ,impassioned performance in the persona of Sefton"

Glossop Labour Club 2023

"What a treat it was! Traditional and original music and songs, a specially written script blended into a seemless and dramatic presentation, based on the story of the Greg's development of Quarry Bank Mill"  

The Green Room theatre, Wilmslow.


The year is 1845 and Joseph Sefton recalls the experiences of his life. While recounting his stories, his thoughts and memories come to life in songs. The Mill Ballads, a music theatre production, is based on real historical characters and events, which took place in and around Quarry Bank Mill in Cheshire during the industrial revolution. 

The Mill Ballads has now been released as a podcast in two parts. Click on the video below to listen to the whole production.

Steve Howe playing Joseph Sefton photo credit Melanie Harris

Joseph Sefton recounts his memories, played by actor and musician Steve Howe. Photo credit Melanie Harris

From the lives of the child apprentices that Samuel Greg the owner, put to work in his mill, to the tragic events of Peterloo in Manchester. The Mill Ballads takes you to the center of the Industrial revolution and gives an eyewitness account of the changes, that shaped the North West of England and eventually the world we live in today.

Trebuchet left to right are Mark Seyler, Keith Carter Harris and Steve Mansfield Photograph by Alex Bond

Trebuchet left to right are Mark Seyler, Keith Carter Harris and Steve Mansfield. Photo credit Alex Bond

Trebuchet are a three piece band from Cheshire who perform  these ballads of both original and traditional folk songs and music.  Actor and musician Steve Howe has experienced working with touring theatre companies as well as having twenty years of heritage performances under his belt. 

Steve Howe photo credit Alex Bond

Joseph played by Steve Howe, recounts his memories of military service. Photo credit Alex Bond

The changes of the industrial revolution, impacted the lives of working men, women and children in early 19th century England. Cottonopolis, as early ninteenth century Manchester was somtimes known, was where this revolution took place. As well as coal to fire the new steam engines, it was cotton which would fuel the race for wealth and power. But at a tragic cost to many, who's voices would not be heard by the wealthy political leaders.

Keith Carter Harris and Steve Mansfield. Photo credit to Paul Sharp

Keith sings lead vocals and plays guitars and bouzouki. Steve Mansfield plays concertinas and woodwind. Photo credit Alex Bond

Mark Seyler, Keith Carter Harris, Steve Howe and Steve Mansfield.Photo credit to Melanie Harris.

Mark Seyler far left, plays electric 5 string and Octave fiddle. Steve Howe on vocals and percussion. Photo credit Melanie Harris