The Dancing Club blog January 2017
As Andy Edwards composes the music for the new draft of ‘The Dancing Club’, I wonder what Wynn and Frank would say if they realised they had become a double bass and drums. I hope they’d be pleased that their ability to transcend generational divides could be shown through the changing beats and rhythms, like their dancing feet throughout the town.
As a new draft has emerged, one where music and dancing has brought their passion for creativity to life I needed to see if their story still had the power to connect with younger generations. What I don’t want to do is write a play that looks backwards because their story is one of embracing the new.
Nigel Holman, Head of Acting at Kidderminster College, and if anyone came to the reading in August then you’ll remember him as the wonderful actor who played Frank Freeman, opened his doors to let us test out the story by working with his students. Second year students on the BTEC Performing Arts read through a draft and then moved into the music room to see if the original music Andy has composed made them want to put on their dancing shoes.
I was blown away by the talent at Kidderminster College and the professionalism of the acting students. The play is written with many characters to be played by four actors and the ease with which they took up this challenge shows there is a rich mix of artistic talent being developed in the town, something Frank and Wynn would be happy to see. What followed the reading would have pleased them even more as we began to workshop scenes with the music. Andy’s music connects with the changing story and he has skilfully moved from ballroom to Latin to rock and roll, into the height of underground scene of the 60s taking over. But as the beats moved into Northern Soul the students’ feet were itching to move and by the time disco entered the stage I looked around to see all of the students on their feet following two students teaching them a routine. Frank and Wynn’s spirit was back in the town and if they were watching they would know that their story and spirit is still alive and well. After the dancing ended a discussion around the importance of the arts followed and the need for intergenerational dialogue.
There will be a presentation of the new play with original music and professional actors at Kidderminster College on March 16th and the next stage is to take this play on tour. To show the rest of the region and beyond the creative talent that Frank and Wynn brought to the town and how the power of creativity can open up dialogue and generate community spirit.
If you have any stories you would like to share about Frank and Wynn Freeman please contact Caroline via her website www.carolinejester.com