Show brings sounds and stories of Windrush to life at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

A theatre is set to echo to the sounds and sights of the Windrush generation.

DJ and backing vocals Ken Mclean, writer/producer/director Owen Miller, and musical director Orvil Pinnock are looking forward to the show at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
DJ and backing vocals Ken Mclean, writer/producer/director Owen Miller, and musical director Orvil Pinnock are looking forward to the show at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre

'Rush - a Joyous Jamaican Journey' will be coming to Wolverhampton Grand Theatre to tell the story of reggae music and the Windrush generation.

Narrated by comedian John Simmit, the show features the music of the likes of Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Marley, Lord Kitchener and Millie Small, all performed by the 11-piece JA Reggae Band.

Owen Miller, who is the show's writer, director and producer, said the idea had come from his experiences as a child in the 1970s watching how his elders enjoyed the music and hearing their stories.

"I would sit there at 119 Lynwood Road in the front room and see my elders dancing and having a party, although I never listened to that music as I was into the Sweet and David Bowie," he explained.

"Now, years after they've passed on, I speak to the generation and learn so much about them and how when they came over here, they were told their qualifications meant nothing, so I decided to write the story to show the good as well as the bad.

"It's been great to see the reactions as people have come to me and said it wasn't what they were expecting, but they're really happy with what they saw and it's great to take people on a journey."

Tour manager Dani McCalla spoke about the reaction to the tour, which comes to the Grand on November 16, saying that people had needed little urging to get up and dance.

She said: "It's been great and we absolutely love seeing everyone just getting up and dancing and we've not had to encourage anyone as it's just been a natural thing.

"We can feed off this and we have a great time on the stage seeing everyone having a great time in the audience, and we get so many nice messages on social media from people saying what a great time they had.

"They'll tell us that the music is great and the show is funny, but they're also moved by the experiences of people as well, so it's great to get that feedback."

Ken Mclean, also known as Ken Dread, said the show was a part of him and his life

The tour has played to venues in Birmingham, Coventry, Derby and Nottingham, and will go to cities including Edinburgh and Liverpool in the new year, but is ending 2021 at the Grand Theatre.

Ken McLean, who performs as DJ and backing vocalist Ken Dread, had learned about the Windrush generation from his parents and said the show was very close to his heart.

He said: "I'm very passionate about this show because I can relate to it as a product of that generation, so I've lived the show and been in it.

"Hearing things on a regular basis on tour, I still chuckle to myself because it brings back memories of my childhood.

"I think people can expect an experience like nothing else they've ever seen before as there's humour, knowledge, live music and just a general, beautiful vibe on stage."

Musical director and lead guitarist Orvil Pinnock said the music helped to invoke memories of the time.

He said: "Windrush has been seen in a negative light because while they were invited over here, they faced a lot of hostility.

"However, the music was one of the things they could look back on as it was always saying something positive and brought a lot of warmth, as well as influencing a lot of other scenes.

"I really enjoy being part of this and being able to tell the story of our generation in a positive way as it shows the contributions made and pays tribute to those who contributed to this society."

'Rush - A Joyous Jamaican Journey' plays on Tuesday, November 16, at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Top Stories

More from the Shropshire Star

UK & International News