So what is it?
Riots & Lobsters is an exhilarating evening of performance exploring the whirling words and worlds of the acclaimed Cornish playwright, Nick Darke with esteemed composer and musician Jim Carey and his band of Saboteurs.
Audiences will be enthralled by a unique evening of music first created for plays including Ting Tang Mine, The Bogus, The King of Prussia, and The Riot, toured nationally by Kneehigh in the 1990’s, here re-imagined and arranged in a fresh new context by the original composer Jim Carey.
We’ll travel on a musically diverse, story rich journey from America to Cornwall, telling tales of riots and lobsters, fishermen and miners, corrupt officials and power-driven politicians, pioneers, saboteurs, love and redemption, of course not forgetting the classic yarn about the stomach of a horse that lands on someone’s head!
Performed by a group of the most talented multi-instrumentalists in the country (that's us, The Saboteurs!) these diverse and poignant songs easily cross stylistic boundaries, sometimes folk songs, sometimes ska or swing. Over the course of one fantastic evening lyrical laments, ballads and brass will all tell the stories and bring to life the worlds created by Darke & Carey.
We want to make sure that these wonderful pieces of music are turned into actual physical and digital scores, that recordings of the work are made and produced so that this work is not lost for future generations.
We want this music to become part of the repertoire of Brass Bands and Choirs across Cornwall, so that it's place within our musical heritage is secure.
A bit about Jim Carey...
Jim is a painter, composer, director & producer, recording and performing music for events, theatre, radio & film. Jim has led a number of bands including BragaTanga, a world music quartet which has toured extensively. His work has been closely associated with the stage as a Musical Director & performer including over a decade with Kneehigh where his collaboration with Nick Darke began. Since beginning work with Kneehigh in 1982, Jim has been prolific in his stage work with further companies, including Miracle Theatre, The Eden Project, Hall For Cornwall, Wildworks, Cscape, Silly Boys and Goldentree.
“Jim Carey is one of Cornwall’s greatest assets. He has written music for countless films & theatre shows & worked with the best of Cornwall’s writers, actors, musicians & directors. His setting of Nick Darke’s Lobster Song is a modern Cornish classic. You can’t quantify what Jim’s contribution is to the projects he works on - ask anyone he works with & they’ll tell you that the power & the beauty (and often the humour) of Jim’s music is simply an inspiration. It’s never just a soundtrack - it adds a fresh, new dramatic dimension &, while it always complements & strengthens the work as a whole, Jim’s music brings its own passion, its own soul, its own wonderful magic.”
- Colin Rogers, Director, Cornwall Film Fund
"Jim Carey composes music that makes the hair stand up on the back of your neck, that speaks of the warmth of fire & the breaking of bread… The man is a genius."
- Tim Smit, Eden Project
And a bit about Nick Darke...
Nick Darke was born and raised in St Eval, Cornwall, the son of a farmer. He trained as an actor and worked at the Victoria Theatre, Stoke, throughout the 1970s. His first play, Never Say Rabbit in a Boat was performed at the Victoria Theatre in 1978. He won the George Devine award in 1979.
Nick went on to write over twenty plays which have been produced by, amongst others, The Royal Shakespeare Company, National Theatre, Royal Court, Donmar Warehouse, The Bush, Kneehigh, The Lyric Hammersmith, BBC Radio and television. His work is translated and performed regularly throughout the world.
After suffering from a stroke in 2001, Nick lost the ability to speak and write, and while relearning these skills produced and fronted the BBC4 documentary The Wrecking Season, filmed and directed by his wife Jane.
He was chairman of St Eval Parish Council. He regarded his greatest personal achievement to be when he and Jane fought to convince the North Cornwall District Council to eliminate the mechanical raking of beaches in North Cornwall, a process damaging for the natural eco-structure of beaches. In 2005 he died of cancer; only four weeks after being diagnosed, aged 56.
Nick would have been 70 in August 2018, and to celebrate his birthday his friends, family and colleagues have been making fresh interpretations of his work to celebrate his life. Youth Theatres and school groups across Cornwall have performed his work and work inspired by him throughout 2018, including HFC Youth Theatre's performance of hells Mouth on their stage shortly before the theatre closed for re-development.
Towards the end of 2018 Bec Applebee created Darke Women, a robust encounter of strong willed, strong minded women from Nick's plays. From dynamite makers and Smugglers to wet-suit and Brandy experts, Bec managed to unearth some unseen writing from the FXPlus Archive at Falmouth University and the show toured to packed theatres and village halls across the county.
There are other treats in store this year including Edward Rowe (Kernow King) in Nick's one man play, Bud.
Riots and Lobsters is the most ambitious of the Nick Darke 70 projects in it's scale and in terms of the legacy it hopes to leave and this is why The Saboteurs seek your support to make sure that it happens!
Your contributions will help to fund our work with community musicians and ensure that a record (both scored and recorded music) is made so that the legacy of this work can live on.
Jim has secured support from Arts Council England, FEAST Cornwall, Hall For Cornwall and Falmouth University and we are now fundraising for the final things we need to get this show on the road!
Photographs of Jim & Nick by the brilliant Steve Tanner, Nick's biography courtesy of Henry Darke. Film by Brett Harvey.