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The Palace, Ibstock

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The Pilgrim--Silent Film, Song and Story

Show Details

Presented by Sonic Silents

Performance date and time
Saturday, 1st December 2018
7:30 PM

A trio of masters of American old-time country string music and bluegrass provide live musical accompaniment to the early 1920s and 30s Hollywood silent Wild West short films of pioneering, Oscar-winning director Frank Borzage.

Led by champion Maryland fiddler Kate Lissauer (Buffalo Gals), her earthy vocals shine against the top-notch, committed playing of five-string banjo master John Whelan, and of Jason Titley, arguably the UK's finest bluegrass guitarist. An absorbing and poignant glimpse of a bygone time, the evocative music brings the films fully to life. _________________________________________________________________

Kate Lissauer: fiddle, vocals, banjo

John Whelan: banjo

Jason Titley: guitar

This wonderfully warm homage to the black and white Oscar-winning Hollywood Western movies of pioneering director Frank Borzage features live performance of old-time scores to silent films by a trio of masters of American country music.

Beginning his career as a successful and sought-after actor, Frank Borzage started directing short films in 1915, and won the first ever 'Academy Award for Directing' in 1927, for 'Seventh Heaven'. Famed for his focus on the emotional and sensual elements of stories, Borzage was a true Hollywood maverick. Rejecting conventions, he offered an insight into the lives of early settlers in such a way that gives modern audiences a refreshing new-look at a long established film tradition.

Two of Borzage's earliest short films are screened here with live musical accompaniment from leading lights of old-time American country music Kate Lissauer, John Whelan and Jason Titley.

Together they perform a new live score of original compositions and arrangements of traditional material to 'The Pitch O'Chance' (1915) and 'The Pilgrim' (1916). These films offer an absorbing and poignant glimpse of a bygone time, and of the creative forces that shaped the film making industry. One of the best exponents of American old-time music, Kate Lissauer was banjo before banjo was cool. In addition to being an artist of clawhammer and finger-pickingbanjo styles, Kate is an award-winning Appalachian fiddle player, guitarist and singer. She plays the old songs and tunes from the roots of US music and the early days of country string bands, as well as a composing her own music inspired by the sound and feel of old-time country. Since moving to England from her home state of Maryland, United States, Kate has become a luminary in the country and bluegrass scene in the UK, and serves as leader of the Buffalo Gals Old-Time Country String Band and the percussive dance company Buffalo Gals Stampede. John Whelan is a captivating old time banjo picker with a distinguished brand of two and three-finger picking. A superb bluegrass guitarist, Jason Titley's flair for improvisation and deep understanding of rhythm always makes his playing spontaneous and exciting.

The Pitch O'Chance: 1915, USA, Dir: Frank Borzage, 25 min / The Pilgrim: 1916, USA, Dir: Frank Borzage, 28 min

USA/UK. International arts supported by Live & Local Friends. Commissioned by the Bath Film Festival.

'Great old-time music! A force to be reckoned with.' Maverick Magazine

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Performer's website

Running time
90 min + interval

Audience Type
Adults/Older Children

Age Range

Ticket Prices
£10.00 Standard / £8.00 Over 65 / £8.00 Under 16

Main Box Office Telephone Number
01530 262400

Available From
The Palace Box Office: 01530 262 400

Venue Accessibility (See Key for more information)

Live & Local affirms that when a disabled person’s access requirements necessitate them being accompanied to a performance, that person and their personal assistant should be able to purchase two tickets at a total cost of no more than the cost of a one full-priced ticket. Promoters are advised that this is best practice that is now supported by an established legal precedent.

Designated parking Ramped approach up to entrance Wheelchair accessible toilet

This performance is supported by:

Arts Council, England