In Autumn 2012, Rob Bell approached the Hillbilly Troupe to collaborate on a performance of the Sharp Street book that was to be published in November. The History Troupe was born. Together, this troupe of writers, poets, musicians and artists put together a unique performance that stunned the 400 people who filled Trinity Methodist Church on Newland Avenue – the Church closest to Sharp Street. Rupert Creed, a nationally recognised specialist in community theatre, was hugely enthusiastic: “this is a unique approach combining poetry, music, images. Neither play nor concert, it breaks fresh ground”.
Since then, the History Troupe has worked on another Rob Bell idea, the trilogy Migrants Tale and have staged Reaching for the Land of Green Ginger; A kind of belonging and the Other. These performances combine readings; music; song and images to tell the tale in a fresh and challenging way.
The History Troupe approach to performance is evolving with Rob Bell, Graham Hamilton and Fernando Ferrero collaborating with others to select future themes; Dave Gawthorpe (Hillbilly Troupe) exploring a range of musical genres to support the theme and, New York based Derek O’Connor looking at the visuals.
Plans are taking shape for the History Troupe to be based in a performance space and then, to develop close ties with a “tour” of interesting (and often forgotten or marginalised) performance spaces. We are exploring a number of partnerships with schools and community centres. Watch this space for breaking news on all these exciting developments.