Mick Martin Keeps On Keepin' On With New Arts Council England Funding
Bradford playwright, Mick Martin, is celebrating as Arts Council England approve funding for the development the next phase of his new play.
Keep On Keepin’ On, a sequel to his critically acclaimed sell-out play, Once Upon A Time In Wigan picks up with the same characters decades later to tell the story of a northern soul family in a contemporary Northern town. The creative for the play was originally developed through an Arts Council England funded R&D project with the Old Courts in Wigan in 2019. Covid-19 put a halt on proceedings, but now, Mick has been funded to develop a national tour of the play.
Working alongside Lancashire based producer, Alex O’Toole, Mick is now in discussions with place partners to bring the play to towns in Northern Soul strongholds across the UK as part of wider ambitions to foreground a narrative about the plight of the independent retailer and show how theatre can help reinvigorate local high streets and their evening and nighttime economies.
Adam Knight, Chief Executive Officer at Blackpool Grand Theatre, who will produce the play in partnership with Mick Martin, and who is one of several place partners signed up to the next phase of research and development for the project believes the tour of the play has the potential to help propel transformative ideas that benefit towns like Blackpool.
“I love the concept behind the Keep On Keepin’ On tour. It’s exactly the sort of project that can help towns like Blackpool begin to reimagine the use of empty shops and connect different audiences to more cultural experiences on the high street. I’m excited for The Grand to be involved and for the project’s alignment with our Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation supported ambitions to create more stories for more people in Blackpool and beyond.”
Mick Martin, said, “I'm delighted to have been awarded funding and I’m so grateful for the continued support of Arts Council England. Keep On Keepin’ On is about the modern-day northern soul scene and the changing faces of the 'left behind' towns that spawned it. It's a play about now, family and love, about people struggling to keep it together in these dark and straitened times at the working-class coalface of dysfunctional northern Britain. That’s why we want to bring it to high street spaces rather than traditional theatre venues. This funding will enable us to have conversations with each town on our tour to ensure the play helps to start the right conversations with their communities and brings new audiences to the theatre and the high street.”