Thanks to all of you who came along to the Finding Our Funny Roots show at the Arena Theatre last Saturday and helped make sure it sold out. We’d been working hard on this project all autumn, and sharing the results of that work to a full house was everything we’d hoped for. The laughter at the time and the positive feedback we’ve had over the weekend has made all our graft worthwhile.
Those of you who were there will know the show explored the work and the impact of Black Country comedians, as well as looking at Black Country humour, and the role of our dialect in it, which is why Emma Purshouse and Brendan Hawthorne are playing the roles of a modern-day Aynuk and Ali here…
and why everyone in the room will always remember seeing Dave Pitt dressed up as local comedy legend Dolly Allen. A sight that’s too good not to share, so fill yer boots.
The curtain may have fallen on Dave’s career as a Dolly tribute act, but the Finding Our Funny Roots project still has work to do. Over the next few months we’ll be helping create five short films based on the show, as well as taking a version of it into care homes. For now, though, we’d just like to thank all the people who’ve been part of the FOFR team. Brendan Hawthorne, Brian Dakin, and Billy Spakemon for their comic contributions to the show; Alex Vann for his BSL interpreting, and for writing and performing the closing song; and Gary O’Dowd for his advisory role and for the photos we shared in this blog.
We’d also like to thank all the volunteers who trawled through Wolverhampton Archives, travelled the Black Country recording anecdotes and memories, and collected oral history interviews; everyone who agreed to give their two penn’orth – on where the Black Country is, what our humour’s about, and what makes us special – when we pointed a camera at them; Dave Pitt for making sense of the footage we brought back afterwards, for turning it into funny, madcap, and coherent video clips, and making sure all the tech worked. Sterling work, all of you. And finally, our thanks to Creative Black Country for securing funding for this project from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and trusting us with it. We’ve thoroughly enjoyed it, and we hope we’ve done our region proud.