August newsletter

Hi there

This year I’ve been busy with a show called The Transports – a words-and-music look at exile and migration. We’re really proud of the production, which won 5* from the Guardian in January. If you’d fancy seeing the show – or catching it again – here are four opportunities for you.

  1. Watch free the live stream of our performance at Shrewsbury Folk Festival, 2.45pm this Saturday afternoon
  2. Listen free to our performance on BBC Radio 3 this autumn
  3. Sign up for news of our CD coming out in December
  4. Book tickets for our national tour in January 2018

The show
Peter Bellamy wrote a cycle of folk songs about the true story of a poor couple from East Anglia being transported as convicts to Australia on the First Fleet of 1788. Written in the 1970s, but sounding like traditional songs, his work The Transports became legendary, mainly thanks to an album featuring the folk music aristocracy of the day. Our production includes leading musicians of another generation: The Young’uns, Faustus, Nancy Kerr, Rachael McShane and Greg Russell. Plus me. I cut down and reshaped the original song cycle, and wrote a narration to set the scenes and link the songs. I’ve connected the story with exile and migration today. And through the Parallel Lives project, we partner with local refugee and migrant support groups in every town we play. Here’s a preview of our production and me talking about it on BBC Radio 4 Front Row.

Watch us at Shrewsbury
Head to Shrewsbury Folk Festival. By the weekend, this should explain how you can watch a live stream of our performance in the main Bellstone Marquee at 14.45 on Saturday 25th August. It will be our largest gig to date – up to 5,000 in the audience I understand, along with a mosh pit and TV screens – so I’m getting suitably excited.

Hear us on BBC Radio 3
On Wednesday we go into the BBC Radio Theatre in London to record The Transports in front of a live audience. If you’ve secured a ticket for this, I’m afraid the BBC has a habit of giving out more tickets than there are seats. So it’s first come, first served, and many are likely to be turned away. Apologies but we have no control over this, and I don’t know what time would be wise to start queuing. But the good news is that you won’t need to queue to listen to it. Just pour yourself a drink, put up your feet and consult your i-player. Transmission will be sometime this Autumn. I’ll let you know.

Listen to the CD
The album’s being prepared for release around December. We had a great time recording it in Sheffield and the early mixes sound terrific. If you’d like to sign up for exclusive info about advance sales, please head to Hudson Records.

Book tickets for January 2018
We’re heading out on the road again this January. We have the same fine cast and we’re travelling widely around the country. I can’t wait to perform at City Varieties in Leeds – home to The Good Old Days – and we’re delighted to have two East Anglian venues in Bury St Edmunds and Norwich, close to where the story is set.

If you know people in these towns who may be interested, do pass the word on. Last year our tour sold out in advance in every venue (except one huge one), so people are advised to book early.

Cheltenham Town Hall 10 Jan
London Union Chapel 11 Jan
Yeovil Octagon 12 Jan
Manchester Dancehouse 13 Jan
Preston Guild Hall 14 Jan
Bury St Edmunds Apex 16 Jan
Bromsgrove Artrix 17 Jan
Guildford G Live 18 Jan
Southampton Turner Sims 19 Jan
Chesterfield Winding Wheel 20 Jan
Leeds City Varieties 21 Jan
Durham Gala 22 Jan
Berwick Maltings 23 Jan
Norwich Maddermarket 24 January

And finally
I’ve spent the summer performing dodgy music hall shows – often including the removal of trousers – so it will be good to return to the seriousness of The Transports. (Though I must remember not to break into Knock Knock jokes and filthy limericks between songs).

Oh, and I can hardly finish an email without re-mentioning that Five Star review in the Guardian….

Go well. Best wishes,

Leave a Reply