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
TV review Nick Hewer, the man whose eyebrows speak a thousand words, is set to leave The Apprentice
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Peter Lik: The self-proclaimed 'fine-art photographer' whose work sells for millions
The best underrated Christmas movies from Love, Actually to While You Were Sleeping
Grace Dent on TV: The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies was a beautifully shot, immensely considered drama
The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies, review: Jason Watkins is brilliant, but real victim Joanna Yeates is reduced to a footnote
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre