Theatre lovers rejoice, as the premiere of the site-specific play ‘All Change for Ashford’ will take place this spring, offering a glance at the history of Ashford and railways, with music and projected film.

Performed by a cast of professional actors and musicians (including Ashford District’s very own Eleanor Brunsdon), the play will focus on the borough’s proud railway roots from the very first days of steam to the present day.

The creative team at a brainstorming event in the Cornstore, at the Coachworks, Ashford From left to right, Max Philo (filmmaker), Gavin MacArthur (projection mappist), Stephen Israel (director), Suzi Hopkins (playwright), Jo Compton (administrator), George Dersley (filmmaker) & Mike Simmonds (musical director)

An action-packed two-hour performance will depart from Revelation Ashford, stop at County Square Shopping Centre, before a high-speed finale at Elwick Place with choirs, a concert band and large-scale projections.

When and how to watch

Performances take place at 7.30pm on 28, 29, 30 April, and 5, 6, 7 May. Tickets are available from Revelation Ashford: £8 (adult), £4 (u16/concessions) and £20 (family). Book at: www.revelationashford.co.uk or call 01233 663201.

The event is produced by The Company (www.thecompanyuk.com) and was commissioned and supported by Ashford Borough Council.

Cllr Matthew Forest, portfolio holder for culture, tourism and leisure said: “This production is going to showcase Ashford’s creative talent and utilises many of the wonderful artistic and technical skills that our borough has to offer.

“Ashford has a long and proud railway heritage, back to the days of the steam engine right up to the modern day at Kent & Sussex Railway, and of course Ashford International Station. This promises to be a fun, fact-filled trip, so hop on and enjoy the ride.”

Director Stephen Israel said: “Ashford has an extraordinary railway history, and as a town that is changing and developing all the time, there is such a positive vibe looking into the future, and we try to squeeze all this into a 2 hour site-responsive multimedia show. 

“This is a play that has been created from the stories of the people of Ashford, and the involvement and support of the community has been incredible from the 70 local people we have interviewed, the local choirs and band performing music in the show, the Ashford college students who are running the show, and the venues who have even made us free hot teas and coffees on cold winter days – thank you Ashford.”

Film is provided by Ashford’s Modus Films, with projection mapping at Revelation Ashford created by Ashford-based Gavin MacArthur, creative director of the immersive experience pioneers Pixel Artworks. 

Music will be performed courtesy of five community choirs (Ashford Invicta Singers, Sing Sure Community Choir, St Mary’s Church Choir, SOS Ashford Choir and Wayward Harmonies), and this will be supplemented by the Ashford Concert Band and the actor/musicians.

Students from Ashford College will also participate in the project through as 2 assistant stage managers, and volunteering as tech crew and stewards.

Further support for the event has come from Arts Council England, Kent Community Foundation (Frank Brake Charitable Trust Fund), Community Rail Network, Keltbray Foundation, Southeast Community Rail Partnership, John Booth Foundation and Great Chart Primary School.

This accessible-friendly production requires members of the audience to move from venue to venue. The last venue is out in the open, so please dress appropriately.

For more information about the event visit www.thecompanyuk.com or contact admin@thecompanyuk.com

By Ed

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