Freemans - it's The Peterborough equivalent of Made in Dagenham
S ince 2008 Eastern Angles Theatre Company has made a name for itself by producing quirky and entertaining plays about the history of Peterborough, and involving local people in the creation of their shows. Their next project '˜Delivered by Freemans' is no exception.
Inspired by the people who worked at the Freemans Distribution Centre in Westwood during the 1970s and ‘80s, Eastern Angles’ new Heritage Lottery Funded project will take this unlikely subject matter as the starting point for a new ‘documentary musical’ to be performed in October and November at The Undercroft at Serpentine Green Shopping Centre.
“The Freemans story is so well known across the city,” explains Artistic Director Ivan Cutting. “Everyone seems to have worked there at some time and remembers the shop where you got massive discounts on the latest fashions. It’s also the Peterborough equivalent of ‘Made in Dagenham’ – a story of feisty women finding their strength and winning Equal Pay for everyone in the warehouse.”
The community play element of the project will be called ‘All Wrapped up in Westwood’. As theatre director Poppy Rowley explains, Eastern Angles are looking for researchers, backstage helpers and budding actors to help stage the show.
“We’re looking for a team of local actors and backstage volunteers to bring the story to life. Starting in mid-August, we will spend just 10 weeks rehearsing. It will be quite intense, but a lot of fun. Auditions are open to anyone over 16 years old.”
Richard Hunt, Vivacity’s Director of Culture, has a special connection to Eastern Angles and a real enthusiasm for the Freemans project.
“As Head of Peterborough Archives, I worked closely with Eastern Angles on the Forty Years On project,” he said. “We interviewed scores of people about what it was like to live and work in Peterborough as it developed into a New Town. Freemans employees kept popping up with fascinating stories to tell. So, I’m delighted that, with support from Vivacity, this spin-off project focusing on the distribution centre has come to fruition.”
Group auditions will take place on August 5 and 6. Email [email protected] or call 01473 218202.