The drama All Change! was Milton Keynes’ first home-based large-scale community musical documentary play. It was commissioned by Milton Keynes Development Corporation in 1976, researched by Margaret Broadhurst, written and directed by Roy Nevitt and staged by the Stantonbury Campus Drama Group in 1977.
It was the story of the coming of the railways to Wolverton and district in the 19th century and included a host of pioneering features: specially written songs from local musicians, a huge cast aged from 6-60, a script created from letters, diaries, newspapers and other documents… This was to be the template for community drama at Stantonbury Theatre for the next quarter-century.
All Change! was first staged at Stantonbury Theatre in 1977; it was a tremendous success and revived there in 1986. In 1999, it was the first-ever play to be staged at the new Milton Keynes Theatre. The title song of the first version of the play – now stored in LAMK’s music archive – had been written by J Cunningham; but more than two decades on from that first performance, there were many more new citizens of Milton Keynes, and many more new musicians. The play charts the upheaval, and excitement, of change… and in parallel with the influx of changes for Milton Keynes, the 1999 title song was designed to reflect this.
Kevin Adams says of his revised song that the chorus notes behind the words All change! were inspired by the shout of platform porters as they urged passengers to disembark; and as it was the song for the finale, it suggested the hope and vision of a new life ahead, not least through the uplifting key shift into the final chorus.
Kevin has recently written another verse to include the New City’s design and vision – offered here as extra performance potential:
A town built for the railway man,
Redbrick streets laid out to plan,
Solidly Victorian, on the iron way.
Now look around another vision,
A city shaped with great precision,
Grafted on with neat incision,
Growing day by day… All Change! etc...
Images and material from LAMK archive. The song is featured on the Living Archive Band’s album All That’s Changed Vol 2 (LAMK)