Tales from the Thames is currently touring to sold out venues across South Essex where theatre is rarely, if ever, staged. From a village hall in West Tilbury to a historic pub on Canvey Island, a Heritage Barn in the Wat Tyler Country Park to a Leisure Centre in Pitsea, Tales from the Thames is charting its way along the Estuary, visiting ten diverse, intimate community locations over 13 performances.
The online premiere will take place on Monday 12 July 2021 at 7.30pm and will then be available for one week on the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch YouTube channel and via its website.
Tales from the Thames is the first of a new series of exciting Creative Estuary Co-commissions – the initiative which aims to showcase 60 miles of the North Kent and South Essex region as one of the UK’s most dynamic and creative areas in the whole of the UK – working on this occasion with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch (QTH).
Written by QTH Associate Artist Rebecca Brewer and playwright Vickie Donoghue, both from Thurrock, with Southend-based songwriter M G Boulter, Tales from the Thames begins as the sun rises over the river, and everything is coming to life. The soundtrack of the Estuary is heard, from the dawn chorus of birds to engines starting, front doors closing and metal containers being loading onto waiting ships; across South Essex journeys are about to be made.
But today is different…
After Rebecca, Vickie and M G had written the script and music, the job of creating the show was undertaken by Rebecca as co-director, working alongside QTH’s Artistic Director, Douglas Rintoul. The set and costumes were designed by Southend’s Rachel Dingle with choreography by Nikki Watson, from Gray’s CoDa Dance Company. Southend – on – Sea based Harry Fitzpatrick is Assistant Director, while Michael Bennett, Romford, created the sound design and Josh Mead, Upminster, designed the lighting for the show. M G Boulter is Musical Director.
The cast includes Colchester’s Tim Freeman (A View from the Bridge, Protocol Productions), Southend-on-Sea’s Mia Jerome (Lost Lending Library, Punchdrunk), Chafford Hundred’s Tom Mangan is the co-artistic director of multi-award-winning theatre company Rendered Retina and Southend-on-Sea’s Lisa Wright (Sunny Afternoon, UK Tour).
Featuring live music and songs by M G Boulter – whose new album Clifftown, has contributions from musicians in bands such as Bellowhead and Spiritualized – this newly commissioned piece is deeply inspired by the Essex Thames Estuary and is made for and by the people who live and work alongside it.
When audiences were asked their opinions about the show, responses included “Enlightened and entertained”, “Funny, engaging and awesome”, “Different, amusing and relevant”, “Lively, interesting and funny”.
Tracey Luck, Chief Officer and Co-founder of St Stephen’s Community Trust said “Monday was great! Everyone we spoke to really enjoyed the show – lots of positive feedback about how the show lifted spirits after such a stressful year. Well done to you all.”
Emma Wilcox, Creative Estuary Project Director says: “I was lucky enough to see the performance in Pitsea and I’m delighted that now even more people will be able to experience the show.”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
Photo credit: Mark Sepple
Queens Theatre Hornchurch (QTH) is a vibrant producing theatre, working in outer East London, Essex and beyond. As a cultural hub, over 210,000 people enjoy the programme each year. Audiences are guaranteed a warm welcome from a three-year winner of UK Theatre’s Most Welcoming Theatre (2016 – 2018) and London Theatre of the Year 2020 (The Stage Awards), the first Outer London theatre to receive this prestigious award. For more information about Queens’ Theatre Hornchurch, visit www.queens-theatre.co.uk, Twitter @QueensTheatreH, Facebook @QueensTheatreH, Instagram @QueensTheatreHornchurch, YouTube
Creative Estuary has a vision to forge a new future founded on creative energy and innovation, along the length of the Thames Estuary. Our ambition is clear: To transform 60 miles of the Thames Estuary across South Essex and North Kent into one of the most exciting creative clusters in the world. We’re going to do this by developing the places where the creative industries can build a vibrant and prosperous future, enriching communities and strengthening the region. The creative and cultural industries contribute more than £100bn per year to the UK economy, helping to attract investment, catalyse innovation, and enhance distinctive places and communities. The £6.5m Creative Estuary programme will transform the visibility, identity and future of the region’s creative production infrastructure, supporting more than 400 new jobs, delivering new skills, qualifications, and apprenticeships across an area of 1.5million people, providing skills and training for more than 500 people. By using culture as the catalyst for growth, the Thames Estuary will provide much-needed space for expanding creative businesses and provide the scale of services, skills and infrastructure sought by both UK organisations and international creative producers. The success of Creative Estuary will contribute to wider national programmes to generate investment, jobs and creative industry opportunities for the whole Thames Estuary, making it one of the most attractive places to live and work in the UK. Creative Estuary is supported by The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and led by a consortium of public sector and cultural organisations. The project is led by the University of Kent on behalf of a consortium of public sector and cultural organisations. They include the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), Kent and Essex County Councils, the Greater London Authority, 11 local authority areas represented by Thames Gateway Kent Partnership and Opportunity South Essex, South East Creative Economy Network (SECEN), University of Essex, Locate in Kent and cultural organisations Metal and Cement Fields.
Creative Estuary Co-commissions will support a wide range of cultural projects with new commissions for Estuary-based producers and artists, from activity for emerging cultural activists to large scale commissions with a diverse mix of partners. Creative Estuary Co-commissions will raise widespread awareness of existing creative talent across the region and support creative practitioners and organisations to make and present new work. We are committed to helping all our creative practitioners and engaging our local communities to contribute to their creative identity and will give artists, organisations and creative practitioners opportunities and support to help them realise their creative ambitions. The Co-commissions will create opportunities for creative innovation and new cultural production – we want to capture imagination and provide opportunities for greater collaboration and knowledge sharing.
FOR MORE INFORMATION, INTERVIEWS AND IMAGES
Tracy Jones, Brera PR – firstname.lastname@example.org / 01702 216658 / 07818 061503 / www.brera-london.com