The week before the Musical Theatre Workshop I took a research trip to Morecambe. I’d never been before and I have to say I was completely unprepared for the sheer majestic beauty of that view across the bay. Locals refer to it as the “best view in the world” and I’m not going to argue with them. The magnificence of nature’s handiwork offers little hint of the very real danger of this coastline with its fast tides and sinking sand. That is until I actually got to watch the tide come in. It’s fair to say I’ve never seen water move that fast and the thought of being out on that beach in the dark sends a chill down the spine.
I also learned that Morecambe has a rich “showbiz” tradition. Eric Morecambe of course hailed from the town and took his name from there. But I also learned that once upon a time Morecambe had two piers and no less than four theatres. Now it has barely one theatre.
The Beatles, Rolling Stones and The Who all played there in their heyday. I found myself wondering how close major acts would get to playing a gig in Morecambe these days. If you lived in the town you’d probably have to travel to Manchester for the equivalent now, or maybe an open air outing at Haigh Hall, Wigan in the summer.
There was much talk during the recent EU Referendum and since about “abandoned Northern towns”. This is surely a stark example of this. It’s difficult to imagine though how leaving the EU will improve that. One of the themes of Sinking Water will be how communities survive on both sides of the world in the face of rapid modern changes. On one side of the world (Fujian, China) a burgeoning superpower which, despite obvious progress, carries with it an enormous economic divide and where it sometimes seems that people exist merely to work merely survive. On the other (Morecambe), a forgotten corner of the world’s fifth largest economy which seems determined to rip down and centralise culture and entertainment.
Daniel York Loh, book writer/lyricist (music by Craig Adams), Sinking Water, a musical examination of events around the 2004 Morecambe Bay cockle pickers tragedy.