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
Listen to his collaboration with Naughty Boymusic
Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Tidal launch: The most pretentious lines from Alicia Keys' valedictory speech
- 2 Britain First 'acting like Ukip henchmen' by invading meeting of activists in revenge for pub protest against Nigel Farage
- 3 Katie Hopkins attacked me on Twitter — so I reported her to the police for inciting racial hatred
- 4 Tidal: Jay Z's Spotify rival streaming service criticised for making wealthy artists even richer
- 5 Brixton squat flats now costing up to £3k per month show how out of control rent is in London
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
Street preacher quoting from the Bible fined for calling homosexuality an 'abomination'
Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers