A new play for radio by Richard Kay.
"Togetherness" tells the story of Barry Thrush. Recently widowed, he decides to record his spoken thoughts for posterity, whilst struggling to know how to immerse himself into the village to which he recently moved. After a slightly unusual encounter he begins to realise that he carries as much responsibility as anybody for the village's dwindling community spirit and he finds a new lease of life through the power of singing together.
Having worked with Badapple for the last few years; as director (The Snow Dancer, The Thankful Village, Farmer Scrooge's Christmas Carol, The Elves and the Carpenter, The Last Station Keeper, Eddie and the Gold Tops), Youth Theatre Director (writing and directing three pantomimes) as well as Performer (The Frozen Roman), I was delighted to be asked to write a play for this podcast series. Without wanting to make it about the current Covid situation I was inspired to write about the notion of Togetherness as I have experienced it through conducting two local choirs (The York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir and the Ryedale Voices). I was drawn to the experience of singing as a way to combat feelings of isolation as well as for physical and mental wellbeing. Having been brought up in a small village, I was also keen to explore the wonderful idiosyncrasies of village life!
The process for recording this play included turning a spare bedroom into a recording booth, rapidly learning how to use the Audacity software and working out how to record performers remotely. Some conversation was recorded in person (with local performers Thomas Frere and Rachel Watkinson) but the majority of the dialogue was recorded over Zoom (with Badapple favourite Frances Tither) and then edited. For the song, the Ryedale Voices learned it over Zoom and then recorded their individual parts which were then put together to create the choral song. As yet, this song has never been performed by singers in the same room!
Thomas Frere has been performing, touring, filming, directing and recording for more than 30 years. He recorded this podcast in his sitting room in York in between his lock down job as a delivery driver and his alternative life as a labyrinth designer. If you’re really interested, you can read about him here: https://thomasfrere.com
Rachel Watkinson is a York based actor and Mum of 3. Credits include a variety of stage, screen and voice work, but most recently she has played roles in Skelf Island and The 3 Muskateers with Rusticus; A Midsummer Nights Mischief and The Sleep Pirates for Hoglets Theatre and Crow White and The Get Lost Show at York Maze. Rachel also has 15 years experience running drama workshops in and out of schools for Stagecoach and Perform Workshops Ltd. Rachel was delighted to take part in the recording of Togetherness during lockdown and hopes you enjoy listening.
Frances Tither is a fine actor and singer and stalwart of the Badapple company and is currently broadcasting in lockdown from her hometown of Warrington, Cheshire.