The cast of The Vigil - left to right. Patti Tunnicliffe (seated) Prof. Ray Johnson (film-maker) Kath Griffiths, Martin Wilkes, Peter Salt (the priest in the Vigil), Lily Meigh, Dorren Beardmore (with baby), Alan Barnett, Joan Pavlak, Steve Emanuel, Paul Williamson, Patricia Sinclair and Anita Oxford.
The recent filming of Paul William's play "Heroes of Sneyd - The Vigil" took place where it was first performed at Holy Trinity Church in Burslem in January. All who took part belong To City Voices. Our Chair, Alan Barnett, commented “I wondered how we would feel, performing a play in a church whilst being filmed. Of course, we had already played to a good sized audience at the memorial to the miners on January 3rd, so in retrospect, the thought of being recorded wasn't too scary. Although one was conscious of the camera, the players soon got into character, and the experience actually became very enjoyable. I will even go as far as to say that City Voices might be tempted to obtain their own recording equipment for future productions! Professor Ray Johnson of Stafford University carried out the filming, and included some very “up close and personal” one to one camera shots. This was to give a great documentary-type feel to the project, which hopefully will give extra impact to the finished product."
The movie will be shown at the Film Theatre Stoke on Wednesday 16th March 2016. Admission is free on a first come first served basis.
When our Chair Alan Barnett was approached by Middleport Pottery to attend a VIP day with the City Voices members who were involved in the tour and poetry workshop day with Beanstalk charity and the pupils of St Peter's school Cobridge, Alan was curious as to who the VIP was. However he was told that it was all "hush hush." When he was advised that participants had to produce photo ID and that photography was banned, the penny dropped! Middleport Pottery was of course given a £9million restoration by The Prince's Regeneration Trust, therefore the VIP could surely only be Prince Charles himself. Also present would be the cast of the reality TV show "The great British pottery throw down" which was filmed at Middleport. So on 26th January, Alan, Anita Oxford, Adam Boustead and Paul Williamson braved the wet conditions at Middleport Pottery to line up alongside the children from St Peter's school and Beanstalk to meet HRH Prince Charles. All were delighted that HRH found time to chat to them, and Alan said that HRH seemed genuinely interested in what City Voices do. An added bonus was that Paul suggested presenting Prive Charles with a copy of our latest anthology "Landscape of Fire" which Anita duly did, and which the prince graciously received (he put it in his pocket). A bit of bedtime reading at the palace perhaps? As yet we have no photographs of City Voices with the Prince, but watch this space!
Alan sits between Emily Adams of Swan Bank Burlsem Bookroom and a representative from Beanstalk, along with Adam, Anita and Paul (in period dress as requested by Middleport) after their presentation to HRH Prince Charles
It is with the utmost sadness that City Voices say goodbye to long-standing member and Vice Chairman, Derek Payne. Derek has long been interested, inter-alia, in physics, cosmology and the origins of the universe, and the concept of "What is reality"? Lively debates have ensued in the group as there are many different opinions and beliefs at City Voices! Derek was recently inspired to re-commence his studies seriously, and has submitted a paper to the University of Reading which they have said they will publish. A fantastic achievement for anyone at any age, but all credit to Derek who has an amazingly enquiring mind. Sadly Derek feels that he needs more time for his work and must leave the group where he will be greatly missed. We all thank Derek for his work on the committee, help with transport, and creative contribution. We are glad to say that Derek will continue creative writing at Alan Barnett's weekly Wednesday group at Hanley Library. Au revoir, mon ami.
Back in September last year I told you all about Paul Williamson's play "Heroes of Sneyd" - "The Vigil". Paul is our founder and the play, performed at Holy Trinity church, Burslem, by members of City Voices, is a tribute to the miners who died in a pit disaster on New Year’s Day 1942. As it was wartime, there was nothing in the media about the disaster, as it was felt that such news might affect morale. However, the disaster is remembered every year by surviving families and friends of the miners who were killed and injured; it is an occasion of sadness but also a tribute to those who died in the war effort. “The Vigil” needed to reflect that. There were many rehearsals and some trepidation. On the morning of the performance, Fr. Brian, the parish priest, was involved in a single car collision when his car hit a tree and landed on its roof! Luckily a passer-by called the emergency services who rescued Fr. Brian, his fellow priest Paul and his dog! All the occupants of the car were miraculously uninjured and Fr. Brian made it in time for the performance. After all that, it is safe to say that “it was alright on the night”. Many of the audience and indeed the cast were moved to tears by the heartfelt performance given by City Voices. Amongst the audience was Professor Ray Johnson of Staffordshire University, a documentary filmmaker and film archivist. The end result is that Prof. Johnson is to make a movie of the play with the City Voices cast, interspersed with commentary, music, historical back-drops and a full cast list and acknowledgements. The movie will be shown at the Film Theatre Stoke on Wednesday 16th March 2016. Admission is free. The recording will then be stored in the Staffordshire Film Archive for posterity. Prior to this, the play will be performed at Goldenhill Community Centre on Thursday 16th Feb at 2pm. Needless to say there has been much talk of red carpets, limos and Oscars! Joking apart, this is a great coup for City Voices and for the memory of the real “Heroes of Sneyd”.