Piers Tempest’s new production “Emily” hits theaters this week. The Farfield Quaker meeting house in Addingham was one of the filming locations for the film. Chris Skidmore, author of the book Quakers and their Meeting Houses, reports.
There is such buzz about a filming location. So many people and so much equipment appear overnight and the next day it’s all gone! So it was on June 4, 2021 that Tempo Productions took over Farfield Friends Meeting House for the day to film a scene from the recently released movie, “Emily”, based on the life of Emily Brontë.
Farfield Meeting House, a preserved meeting house from 1689 owned by the Historic Chapels Trust, is normally a peaceful, secluded location, a place to sit quietly whilst walking the Dales Way between Addingham and Bolton Bridge. The film company had scouted it the previous fall and felt it might represent a small Sunday classroom where Emily was teaching. The majority of the filming had been centered on Haworth and the moors and that was, I believe, the only location in Wharfedale.
When I arrived that day the land across Bolton Road had been turned into a car park and an assortment of portaloos and food trucks. The meeting room itself was surrounded by wires and light fixtures, the plaques on the wall had been removed and anything that looked a little out of place was covered in convincing artificial ivy! The interior of the meeting house had its pews removed and replaced by rows of school desks and on the east wall were a few boards with Bible texts, which would have been out of place in a house of Quaker meeting but perfectly in keeping with an Anglican classroom!
The scene was that of a meeting between Emily [Emma Mackey] and William Weightman [Oliver Jackson-Cohen], his love interest for the purposes of the film. Occasionally actors would appear, lights would be turned on and directed through gauzes to provide “sunlight” through the windows, and cameras would roll. In between moments, there were discussions, adjustments to lighting, makeup, and costumes, and a lot of waiting. The photo shows one such period, a conversation between the two actors, seated on the 17th century tombs in Farfield Cemetery.
It was fascinating to watch – and a little anxious in case the building was damaged, but all was well and when I came back the next day to check there was only a bit of dust and a strange piece of sad ivy to show. that they were filmmakers there!