CTVT and Chris Haydon worked with and supported Freewheelers Theatre & Media Company based in Leatherhead between 2004 and 2020. It was a fruitful partnership with films produced, both drama and documentary, commissioned campaigning short films about SCAMS, and an annual Film Night was instituted. This large output was celebrated in July 2020 with a four-day online film festival.
At a Film & Music Night on 1st November 2017, one film stood out. BELT, BRACES & DISABILITY 2 is the sequel to a film made in 2010 with three members of the Freewheelers each telling their story of living with disability. One is epileptic, one has Cerebral Palsy, one has Spina Bifida. Seven years later and their stories have moved on, one dramatically. We mention this here as a sequel – BELT, BRACES & DISABILITY 3 – is now planned and filming begins in late January 2021. This sequel will be a Community TV Trust production.
CTVT’s Chris Haydon wrote and directed for Freewheelers a stage play, “AMANDLA!“, on the life of Nelson Mandela featuring film inserts in drama, dance and documentary genres.
Work with this company was essentially multimedia and the participants, themselves disabled adults, offered a wide range of talents and interests.
Commemorating World War 1, Anthony who is a fine dressage rider and Luke who has a splendid tenor voice have been woven into three songs which were turned into short films telling the story of a cavalry officer who volunteers to fight. The three music videos were screened in November 2018 immediately prior to the Centenary of the 1918 Armistice. Luke enlisted the support of Richard Stilgoe in the composing of the songs. Tom Gray arranged and produced them. Chris Haydon directed the films.
From drama and song to documentary. Long term Freewheeler Peter Messer, who is also a trustee of the company, decided to tell his story:
The first large film drama we produced with Freewheelers was in production for three and a half years! “Shady Oaks – Home, Sweet Home” is a comedy (dur. 82 mins) and tells the story of a care home run by dodgy disabled people:
Chris Haydon also led filmmaking workshops in Cobham from 2015 to 2020.
In the past we also supported Freewheelers with webspace on our local media venture “Southwark.TV”. Now they have their own website: http://www.freewheelerstheatre.co.uk