SINGING TOGETHER Radio Play to Be Broadcast on BBC June 6
Eight young actors and three professional actors will soon be heard on a radio play set in Swindon and Wiltshire. In a first for Prime Theatre, Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival and BBC Wiltshire, 'Singing Together' is the story of a choir of World War Two evacuees coming to Swindon and being billeted all across the county.
The play also features the singing voices of 400 primary pupils from Wiltshire and Swindon. Fifteen schools learned nine folk songs such as Cockles and Mussels and Wild Rover as part of the sixth month project supported by Wiltshire Music Connect. The traditional songs were recorded in April at Wiltshire Music Centre before the final play was recorded in BBC Wiltshire studios. Actors aged 9 -18 from Prime Youth Theatre joined a trio of adult professionals to bring more than 20 characters to life.
Playwright Vicky Ireland, MBE worked with Julie Davis, Community History Advisor at Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre to include regional settings that actually hosted young evacuees. The play's South West locations include Avebury, Wroughton, Cricklade, Durrington and Salisbury.
'Singing Together' was originally the longest running BBC Schools radio programme and ran for almost 60 years from 1939 when it was created to bring a sense of community to the nation's evacuees. The radio play is part of the 2016 Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival and will be broadcast on BBC Wiltshire on Monday 6 June at 11am.
Mark Powell, Artistic Director of Prime Theatre said: "We have such a wonderful time bringing well-loved songs to today's children. The enthusiasm and energy from everyone involved has made a really memorable and unique programme for all ages."
Toby Smith, Director of Ageas Salisbury International Arts Festival added, "This project is a digital first for us all. We're thrilled we can share it even further with a BBC radio broadcast and for a whole month on iplayer."
Kathrine Hume, head teacher at Crudwell Primary School added: "This project has given our children a link to other generations and an idea of how songs have developed over time. The songs will live on for us past the radio play and into a school concert too."
Douglas Coombs, BBC Singing Together producer (1968-88) commented, "This project is a vital part of international music heritage. Whoever came up with this idea deserves a knighthood!"
Songsheets for the featured songs are available from www.salisburyfestival.co.uk