The special film showing includes a Stewart Lee Q&A with the woman at the heart of England's folk revival during the 1960s and 70s
The Ballad Of Shirley Collins started life as a Kickstarter campaign by Burning Bridges & Fifth Column Films back in 2011. It tells the story of the English folk custodian who in the 1980s had to put her career on hold due to the development of a vocal chord disorder called dysphonia. It also looks at Collins's return to recording three decades later, marked by the release of her comeback album Lodestar in 2016. Directed by Rob Curry and Tim Plester (who released the feature-length documentary about Morris dancing called Way Of The Morris back in 2011), the film features archival footage from Collins's 1959 road trip around America's Deep South alongside her then-lover Alan Lomax, and it includes contributions from Stewart Lee, David Tibet, American folk artist Sam Amidon, the UK based Elle Osborn and Collins herself.
The Ballad Of Shirley Collins will premiere at London's Soho Curzon on 16 October. It will be followed by a post-film Q&A hosted by Stewart Lee, who wrote the sleevenotes for Lodestar.
Shirley Collins was the cover star of The Wire 393. Subscribers can read the article online via Exact Editions. You can also listen to a selection of ‘songs from the soil that speak direct to the heart’ selected by Collins for a Wire portal earlier this year.