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Support Silly Boys and their wonderful Penzance-inspired play and walk away with an Anthony Frost artwork

By LeeTrewhela  |  Posted: February 28, 2014

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SILLY Boys get serious about introducing some anarchy into the world of theatre.

Cornish-bred theatre company Silly Boys are attempting to fund their new production via crowdsourcing website Kickstarter.com and they need your support.

Entitled Two Punks And A Tandem, this is the true story of a sponsored bike ride from John O’Groats to Land’s End that took place in 1985.

The brainchild of musician Seamas Carey and writer Callum Mitchell, Silly Boys enjoyed a hugely successful year in 2013, touring family puppet show The Tallest Horse On Earth throughout the UK to great acclaim.

The new show has a particularly personal attachment to Callum, as his dad was one of the two punks in the title.

He said: “In 1982, a group of young people in Penzance decided they were fed up with having nowhere to go, no work, no money, no hope… So they started raising money, with plans to open a drop-in centre in the town that could support the large number of young and unemployed people living there.”

Inspired by the do-it-yourself punk attitude of the late ’70s, the gang organised jumble sales, cabaret concerts, battle of the bands and more. They attended debates and protests across the country, even appearing on TV with the likes of Captain Sensible and Billy Bragg.

By 1985, the council had agreed to lease them a derelict building on High Street in Penzance, they just needed to raise some extra money to get in and do it up. And so the bike ride was suggested.

“I’d hear snippets of the story growing up,” added Callum, “but it was only recently that I was indulged in the full gory detail of it all. And I immediately knew that I wanted to turn it into a show.

“It has everything that we, as a company, look for in a story. Drama, comedy, anarchy, music…. Even without my own connection, I’d think it was a wonderful yarn. What happened over the two and a half weeks they were gone is so inspirational, moving and absurd that you just could not make it up. And it’s testament to what they achieved that the Breadline Centre still exists in Penzance today.”

As well as documenting local history, Callum believes the piece is very relevant to Britain in 2014.

“It’s uncanny how similar it all is again. Tory government, huge numbers of unemployed youth, cuts to local authorities, health services, benefits. It feels fitting that we should do this show now because of the parallels that can be drawn between now and then.”

Due to other commitments, the duo will be researching, devising and writing the show sporadically over the next year. Their plan is to tour Two Punks And A Tandem throughout spring 2015, following the same route, John O’Groats to Land’s End, Silly Boys style.

They are hoping to capture and imitate the spirit of the gang in ’85, with each perk offered to those who pledge their support being produced with that same punk aesthetic. You could get yourself a handmade poetry zine penned by Callum, a copy of the soundtrack composed by Seamas or one lucky pledger could even walk away with an original print by renowned artist Anthony Frost, who has produced cover art for the likes of The Fall.

“It’s amazing to have Anthony on board,” said Callum. “Not only is he one of my favourite artists, but he actually donated a piece for auction back in 1985 too.”

The show will be developed as part of the Bristol Old Vic Ferment scheme and is also supported by Kneehigh and Radio 4 word-witch, Annamaria Murphy, who played a huge part in getting Breadline up and running.

To find out how you can get involved and support the show, see:

www.kickstarter.com/projects/callummitchell/two-punks-and-a-tandem

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