Music legend Frank Ifield made a rare appearance at the Coventry Music Museum this week to show his support for the launch of a new Belgrade Theatre musical, Godiva Rocks. Born in Coundon, Coventry before later moving to Australia, the Country music singer returned to the UK to celebrate the announcement of this world premiere production that will feature some of his most successful songs.
Frank Ifield achieved 15 UK top 40 singles including four number ones throughout the 1960s, including I Remember You, Lovesick Blues, Wayward Wind and Confessin’ (That I Love You). He is just one of 20 artists with a Coventry connection to have their music featured in Godiva Rocks, alongside Vince Hill, Hazel O’Connor, The Specials, Terry Hall, King, The Primitives and The Enemy.
Written by Alan Pollock and directed by Hamish Glen, Godiva Rocks aims to capture a sense of pride for Coventry’s vibrant but often overlooked musical history, from the 1960s to the present day as Alan explains: “On one level, this is a warm, funny, human story that keeps you guessing right to the end.”
“But on another, it’s a story about an enormous pride: we, Coventry have produced this music. It came from somewhere inside us – from the people, the atmosphere and the soil of the place – and we sent it out into the world. Now it’s coming home and I hope people can celebrate that.”
The launch was held at the independent Coventry Music Museum, which is run by Coventry Music Historian and Journalist, Pete Chambers BEM, and is situated amongst Coventry’s 2 Tone Village. The area is named after what is perhaps the city’s most famed musical genre, with 2 Tone pioneers The Selecter and The Specials originating from Coventry.
Godiva Rocks will be Alan Pollock and Hamish Glen’s third collaboration following on from 2011’s Too Much Pressure and the acclaimed Coventry Blitz play, One Night in November. It continues the Belgrade Theatre’s commitment to staging productions that reflect the stories of the city and region, Nick Walker’s FA Cup play, We Love You City and, more recently, Bob Eaton’s 2 Tone Musical Three Minute Heroes.
Director Hamish Glen said, “It’s great to be teaming up with Alan once again, following the huge success of One Night in November. Godiva Rocks continues a Belgrade tradition of producing shows that bear witness to local history, local stories and local experiences. Although Alan has created a fictional story, it’s absolutely embedded in what happened to Coventry – its redevelopment, its regeneration, its loss of its venues, its decline and its re-emergence. As Artistic Director, this an essential strand of the Belgrade’s artistic vision.”
Premiering on the Belgrade’s Main Stage in October, Godiva Rocks tells the story of girl meets boy in Coventry – but nothing, and nobody, is what they seem, all because of one extraordinary night at the Orchid Ballroom, back in December ’64…
Shady financier Leo Freeman’s decision to knock down the Orchid ballroom has far-reaching consequences – as daughter Nell meets the extraordinary Patrick Vernon – and the hunt for a missing tape reveals a history of musical passions and romantic jealousies stretching back to the dawn of musical time.
The timely announcement of this new musical, follows the recent submission of Coventry’s Bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021 and is one of eleven cities currently vying for the title. The Belgrade Theatre hopes to continue the legacy of the bid with this production by highlighting the city’s cultural achievements and putting Coventry’s musical history on the map.
Godiva Rocks runs on the Main Stage from Sat 7 – Sat 21 Oct.