Rallying call to fund a piece of the action

Shirley Collins and Tim Plester NNL-140307-103545001
Shirley Collins and Tim Plester NNL-140307-103545001

A Banbury-born actor who has appeared in Dr Who, Game of Thrones and the new Wolf Hall production is calling on his home town to help fund an important new documentary.

Tim Plester, an actor, director and film maker, is appealing for help in raising money through a ‘crowd-funder’ for his latest work charting the life of the iconic folk singer Shirley Collins, arguably the most important singer of traditional British music of the past 50 years.

Mr Plester’s last feature film was Way of the Morris, a journey from the English village green in Adderbury to the First World War trenches of the Somme in France, searching for connections with the Morris dances that were part of his childhood in Adderbury.

“Our new goal is to make a feature documentary called The Ballad of Shirley Collins. The film will be a lyrical response to the life and work of this musical pioneer and folk legend,” he said.

“It’s partly inspired by her beguiling autobiography, America Over the Water, and it will retell the tale of the famous song-collecting trip she took around the deep south of America with legendary field-recordist Alan Lomax.

“It was a trip on which they uncovered and documented the music that inspired the soundtrack to the Coen Brothers’ film O Brother, Where Art Thou” said Mr Plester, who went to Drayton School and now lives in London.

Between 1959 and 1980 Shirley Collins changed the course of folk music in England and America. After losing her voice in response to a personal trauma, she ‘disappeared’ for 30 years until plans for this film were hatched.

In February she performed for the first time in 32 years.

The Kickstarter fundraising campaign aims to find £25,000 by the end of July. Funders offering £5-£2,500 will have their names in the credits of the film and other incentives, from rare re-recordings of Shirley Collins’ material to lunch with her, a tour of Adderbury with the directors and even a cameo appearance in the film.

See www.kickstarter.com/projects/shirleycollins/the-ballad-of-shirley-collins