In 1929 around 250 school children from Manchester recorded Henry Purcell’s Nymphs and Shepherds with the Hallé Orchestra under conductor Sir Hamilton Harty. This year comedian Victoria Wood is recreating their story for the Manchester International Festival.
Her play, That Day We Sang, tells the story of school children, from more than 50 schools in the city, who began rehearsing in 1925 and four years later were chosen to record Purcell’s work with the Hallé.
Wood weaves this story with scenes showing members of the choir later in life.
The piece, which Wood has described as a ‘play with music’ rather than a musical, will involve around 100 school children from North Manchester.
‘I’ve always thought it would make a good story,’ Wood said in an interview with the BBC. ‘It’s a famous record and it was very unusual for schoolchildren to be making a record in 1929, especially with the Hallé Orchestra.’
That Day We Sang will be on at the Manchester Opera House 6-17 July.