“I like lots of different music and Shirley’s in the top ten of all artists for me, irrespective of what they’re supposed to be classified as.”
Stewart Lee
Widely regarded as the 20th century’s most important singer of English traditional song, Shirley Collins is someone who was born to invoke the old songs.

Alongside her sister Dolly, Shirley stood at the epicentre of the folkmusic revival during the 1960s and 1970s. But in 1980 she developed a disorder of the vocal chords known as dysphonia, which robbed her of her unique singing voice and forced her into early retirement.

Deliberately eschewing a straightforward biopic approach, Rob Curry and Tim Plester ‘Way of the Morris’, is a lyrical response to the life-and-times of a totemic musical figure. Granted intimate access to recording sessions for Shirley’s first album (Lodestar) of new recordings in almost four decades, the film also features contributions from the comedian Stewart Lee and David Tibet of Current 93 What emerges is a meditative and carefully textured piece of portraiture. A timely delve into the arterial blood, loam and tears of our haunted island nation.

Counterpointing the film’s contemporary journey with a more literal one taken from the opposite end of Shirley’s life, The Ballad Of Shirley Collins also proves itself to be something of a time-travelling Transatlantic road-movie of sorts – utilising a motherlode of genuine archive audio to recount the tale of her seminal 1959 song-collecting trip around America’s rural Deep South alongside her then-lover (and legendary ethnomusicologist) Alan Lomax . A trip on which they uncovered and documented the music that would later inspire the soundtrack to the Coen Brothers’ film O Brother Where Art Thou

More than 3-and-a-half years in the making, and co-produced with Fifth Column Films and Burning Bridges The Ballad Of Shirley Collins is the first release from Fire Films; the new film arm of the revitalised Fire Records and sister label Earth Recordings.

The film will receive its world premiere at the 2017 BFI London Film Festival .

Here then is a story about one woman’s battle to rise again from long silent ashes. A story about heritage, posterity and the true ancestral melodies of the people. A story which would seem to be suggesting that, during these turbulent and increasingly untethered times, we might just need Shirley Collins now more than ever.

UK 2017, 94 mins / Colour + B/W

For more information email: Fifth Column Films



UPCOMING SCREENINGS

Date/Time Event

20 Oct 2017 - 26 Oct 2017

Art House Crouch End
Art House Crouch End, Londo
Tickets

20 Oct 2017 - 26 Oct 2017

Picturehouse Central
Picturehouse Central, London
Tickets

21 Oct 2017 - 23 Oct 2017

HOME Cinema
HOME Cinema, Manchester
Tickets

21 Oct 2017 - 22 Oct 2017

The Genesis Cinema
Genesis Cinema, London
Tickets

21 Oct 2017

HOME Cinema + Q&A
HOME Cinema, Manchester
Tickets

22 Oct 2017

Macrobert Arts Centre
Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling
Tickets

22 Oct 2017

National Centre for Early Music
National Centre for Early Music, York
Tickets

22 Oct 2017

Cambridge Arts Picturehouse
Cambridge Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge
Tickets

23 Oct 2017 - 24 Oct 2017

Filmhouse Cinema
Filmhouse Cinema, Edinburgh
Tickets

24 Oct 2017

The Genesis Cinema + Q&A with John Robb + Grumbling Fur (Live)
Genesis Cinema, London
Tickets

24 Oct 2017 - 26 Oct 2017

Queen’s Film Theatre + Q&A
Queen’s Film Theatre, Belfast
Tickets

25 Oct 2017

Art House Crouch End + Q&A
Art House Crouch End, Londo
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26 Oct 2017

Electric Palace Cinema + Q&A
Electric Palace, Hastings
Tickets

28 Oct 2017

FACT Picturehouse Liverpool
FACT Picturehouse Liverpool, Liverpool
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29 Oct 2017

Rio Cinema + Q&A with Stewart Lee
Rio Cinema, London
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29 Oct 2017

FACT Picturehouse Liverpool
FACT Picturehouse Liverpool, Liverpool
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2 Nov 2017

Hebden Bridge Picture House
Hebden Bridge Picture House, Hebden Bridge
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5 Nov 2017

Hyde Park Picturehouse
Hyde Park Picturehouse, Leeds
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11 Nov 2017

Folkestone Quarterhouse
Folkestone Quarterhouse, Folkestone
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12 Nov 2017

Kunst Gallery
Kunst Gallery, Belper
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19 Nov 2017

Northern Light Cinema
Northern Light Cinema, Wirksworth Matlock
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22 Nov 2017

The Phoenix
The Phoenix, Exeter
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30 Nov 2017

Chipping Norton Theatre
Chipping Norton Theatre, Chipping Norton
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10 Dec 2017

The Cube Cinema + Q&A
The Cube, Bristol
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“Music Documentary Of The Year”Louder Than War
 

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“A fine documentary about one of the great voices of British folk music”8/10 Uncut

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