A group of young actors will bring life to street theatre by a local playwright as part of the forthcoming Black Country Festival on Saturday 9th July with the support of Black Country Radio. It will be the first Black Country Festival since 2019 because of the COVID pandemic.
The group, directed by Phil Liptrot of a Comedy Theatre Group in Stourbridge, includes Laura Liptrot from Chameleon Drama and actors of Chinese heritage from New Earth Academy at the Birmingham Hippodrome.
Ian Henery, local playwright, was commissioned by China West Midlands to write a trilogy of plays for China West Midlands entitled “Home”. Black Country Radio are one of the partners of China West Midlands which is all about greater cultural understanding, mutual prosperity and collaboration between China and the West Midlands.
The first play in the trilogy was called “The Chinese Labour Corps” and was supported by Arts Council England. the play had a successful week-long run at The Blue Orange Theatre in Birmingham and was part of the Chinese New Year Festival Online 2022.
The second play, “Coming To Birmingham: Making Of a Modern City”, has been in script development since April and featured as a reading performance at the Walsall Festival of Words last month by the group including Vy-liam Ng and Julie Ym Phung.
“Theatre want to see scripts of no more than 20,000 words” explained Ian “and the first draft of the second play came in at 43,000 words. I needed to edit it – the play was more than twice as long than required. There was a scene set in China in 1942 during the Japanese Occupation and Chinese Civil War and I wanted to save that for street theatre.”
The scene features a farmer and his wife re-enacting the Chinese creation myth in their home for the amusement of their watching child.
“It was a play within a play so I edited it out “said Ian “and we have turned it into street theatre for the Black Country Festival”. The cast includes Chi Lam, broadcaster and author Susan Vickers, Angela Qi Huang, Andy Chan, Cindy Millman and Laura Liptrot.
“We are grateful to Black Country Radio” said Ian Henery “for the loan of the microphones, PA equipment and for getting us permission from the council to perform as part of the Festival.”
There will be a special performance on the Black Country Radio Stage in Stone Street Square at 1pm on 9th July by Laura Liptrot showcasing brand new material.
“It`s going to be bostin as we say in the Black Country” said Ian Henery.