Parkway Dreams: Peterborough get the musical treatment
Alice Jones' Arts Diary
London Road, about the Ipswich prostitute murders, paved the way for unlikely musicals. Now, get ready for Parkway Dreams, an all-singing, all-dancing drama about the transformation of Peterborough town centre in the 1970s.
The show, which sounds like something Alan Partridge might enjoy, is the creation of the inventive East Anglian company Eastern Angles. Written by rising star Kenneth Emson, graduate of the BBC Writers’ Academy and erstwhile EastEnders script-writer, tells how “how a small Fenland city morphed into a buzzy New Town”.
The Lottery-funded project, based on 15 months and 6,000 hours of interviews with town planners, councillors and local residents, includes several songs including one, “We Need a Tom”, dedicated to Tom Hancock, who produced the first Master Plan for Peterborough new town.
“The source material could be quite dry but we’ve got these really joyous songs”, says Emson. “The challenge is to tell the story of Peterborough and to create an emotional bond with the audience. When we started interviewing people for the show, we heard how they had a dream to make Peterborough a better place. As soon as you hear people talk with passion, you have your subject for drama.”
The show will tour schools and other local places of interest from next week before a national tour, including a performance at the new writing theatre festival High Tide on 5 May.
Emson, 30, from Essex, who was short-listed for the Bruntwood and Pearson prizes in 2011, opens another play at Oxford Playhouse next week, called England Street. Is there a urban theme developing? “God no. That’s my non town-planning play”, he says. “It’s about two brothers on the run after the riots.”
Also in the Arts Diary
Game of Thrones
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Caitlyn Jenner car crash: Driver who died in collision sued by surviving passengers for $18.5m
- 3 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 4 Hulk Hogan wants to be Donald Trump's running mate in the US Presidential election
Game of Thrones season 6: Jon Snow theorists believe Ned Stark's son may have a twin sister
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: Monty Python-inspired Australian Sam Simmons wins comedy award with 'very silly' show
Game of Thrones season 6: Director promises most exciting premiere yet 'starts off with a bang'
Star Wars: The Force Awakens: Online toy marathon to launch new film
Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet: Technician quits after social media row with actor's fans
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'