Folk, the landmark play celebrating the traditions of rural England, takes centre stage at the McGrigor Hall from 25th to 29th July as the 2023 Frinton Summer Theatre festival of the arts continues.
Theatre-lovers can expect an evocative performance filled with beautiful music and pastoral song, starring the hugely talented pianist, William Oxborrow.
More than a hundred years on from the origins of Folk, the debate still rages as to whether this music should have been committed to paper or continued the centuries-old tradition of being passed from generation to generation by vocal learning.
The controversy began in 1903, when musician and composer Cecil Sharp set about visiting the Somerset countryside to hear and collect the great songs of a long-established oral tradition. Sharp came across hundreds of beautiful, haunting melodies and songs, and began transcribing them. During his travels he came across two half-sisters, Louie Hooper and Lucy White, whose voices and tunes utterly captivated him, perfectly encapsulating what seemed like the ultimate English pastoral idyll.
Folk tells the story of how Sharp visited remote Somerset villages and collected their traditional songs whilst getting to know and perhaps understand a little more about their hard lives. There are spine-tingling moments as the women project their inner emotions through beautiful song.
Whatever your opinion on the ethics of harvesting these songs from the fields of England, there is no doubting that without Sharp’s involvement the world might not have heard such sublime musicality.
In this fabulous presentation of Folk, Frinton Summer Theatre is delighted to welcome back William Oxborrow, who appeared expertly playing his violin in last season’s performance of Ladies in Lavender, in the role of Cecil Sharp to demonstrate his exceptional skills on the piano.
Frinton Summer Theatre’s artistic director, Clive Brill, said: “Frinton Summer Theatre has a long-held reputation for bringing the very best talent from the West End to the Essex coast. To have William Oxborrow performing as Cecil Sharp is such a coup and audiences are set to be delighted by his musical talents.
“This performance of Folk celebrates all that is great about the true origins of music from the voices of the people inspired to create it. It’s a classic tale of storytelling, emotion and expression, beautifully told through an enchanting soundtrack.”
All evening performances are at 7:30pm, with matinee performances at 2:30pm, and ticket prices range from £20 to £25 for evening shows and from £18 to £23 for matinees, with a 10% discount if you book every show in the McGrigor Hall season.
Cecil B Sharp