In 2017, the locally acclaimed Complete Commedia Company took five of the 100 Stories and created and performed a series of specially dramatised promenades under the theme of Thurrock 100 Tales.
Amongst others, there were tales of forgers, shoemakers, inventors and scientists and what happened at Cash’s Well, all told in the irreverent comedy style of La Commedia Dell’Arte with a very Thurrock flavour.
Fabulous costumes for the performances were designed and made by students of South Essex College on the Costume Construction Degree, based at High House Production Park with guidance from Kinetika.
The festival included a series of promenade performances around Horndon, Grays, Chafford Gorge, Lakeside, Coalhouse Fort, Langdon Hills and finally to East Tilbury to share the story of the global Bata Shoe factory that connected Thurrock directly to the rest of the world.
Through Thurrock’s Bata connections to India, T100 and its growing team of volunteers were invited to join Kinetika’s project Silk River. This was featured in the 2017 Re-Imagine India programme that marked 70 years of India’s independence from Britain. We scaled up the model of Thurrock 100 to connect communities along the Thames including Purfleet, Grays, Tilbury and East Tilbury, with parallel communities along the river Hooghly in West Bengal.
This project became a window for T100 to look into Thurrock’s past, acknowledging and celebrating its strategic position on the river that continues to makes it an international gateway today.
“Performing stories from Thurrock 100 Tales is the realisation of an aspiration. I have always wanted to make theatre about my home that is relevant, current but most of all, entertaining. Most importantly, it must be brilliant theatre. What we’ve done to the stories of Thurrock 100 Tales, is utterly faithful but totally irreverent. The historians would shudder at the liberties we’ve taken.”
Artistic Director, Complete Commedia Company
2017 CREDITS AND THANKS
FUNDERS Arts Council England; Thurrock Council
DELIVERY PARTNERS Complete Commedia Company; Coalhouse Fort Park; Bata Heritage Centre
KINETIKA Ali Pretty, Artistic Director; Jo Beal, Project Manager; Edwina Rigby, Marketing/PR; Donna Plakhtienko, Business Manager
ARTISTS Ali Pretty; Edwina Rigby; Joanne Mitchell
WALK LEADERS Peter Woodard, Walk designer and leader; Robert Teer; Mike Tarbard, Chairman Bata Heritage Centre; Nick Stanley, Senior Ranger Langdon Hills Country Park; Rachel Gallehawk, Senior Librarian, Grays Library
LOCAL VENUES Intu Lakeside; The Ostler’s Bistro and Bell Inn, Horndon on the Hill; Door step locations in Horndon provided by Kim Towlson, Lisa Anderson, Jane Barry, Angela Stevens; Church of St Peter’s & St Paul’s; Essex Wildlife Trust Visitor Centre and Chafford Gorges; Coalhouse Fort
THANKS TO The Complete Commedia Company: Tom Mangan; Sarah Jennings; Alex Mangan; Jordan Choi; Rachael Dowsett; Ruby Henderson; Bernadette Wakeling. Complete Commedia Company Production: Director: Bernadette Wakeling; Assistant director/Promenade advisor: Sophie Austin of Teatro Vivo; Scripts: Tom Mangan, Jordan Choi, Alex Mangan & Bernadette Wakeling; Songs: Bernadette Wakeling; Project manager for CCC: Ruby Henderson; Marketing management for CCC: Hannah Wakeling; Filming & photography for CCC: Siobhan Alder; Props: John Kimberley; Costumes: 2nd year students on the Costume Construction Degree at South Essex College: Evie Spray; Jackie Creesey; Sue Peterson; Sheena Moore. Course leaders and tutors: Rachel Young, Lou Cox, and Joanne Mitchell. Masks: Strangeface; Hana Gunfield, Intu Lakeside; The Ostler’s Bistro and Bell Inn, Horndon on the hill; The Rev Sue Mann and Alastair Macrae (Church Warden); Mark Allinson; Michelle Savage and Matthew Brown from Thurrock Council; The Woolmarket Management for providing green room facilities.
PHOTOS Mike Johnston