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The Ballad of Shirley Collins (2017)

Rob Curry and Tim Plester's follow-up to the award-winning documentary 'Way of the Morris', is a lyrical response to the life-and-work of folkmusic icon Shirley Collins.


Rob Curry, Tim Plester


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Cast overview:
Shirley Collins Shirley Collins ... Herself
Stewart Lee ... Himself
Sam Amidon Sam Amidon ... Himself
David Tibet David Tibet ... Himself
Elle Osborne Elle Osborne ... Herself
Hannah Arterton ... Narrator
Lotti Maddox Lotti Maddox ... Young Shirley
Tassos Stevens Tassos Stevens ... Alan Lomax
Suzann McLean ... Sidney Carter Hemphill
Janet Rawson Janet Rawson ... Texas Gladden
Henry Miller ... A.L. Lloyd
Glyn Lewis ... Horton Barker
Jeff Stewart Jeff Stewart ... Mississippi hitchhiker
Joseph Thomas Joseph Thomas ... Lucius Smith
John Tully John Tully ... Himself (as Dr. John Tully)


Rob Curry and Tim Plester's follow-up to the award-winning documentary 'Way of the Morris', is a lyrical response to the life-and-work of folkmusic icon Shirley Collins.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The High Queene of English Folk. A Singer and Song-Collector. Silent for almost 40 years. Ready to reclaim her voice. See more »



Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site





Release Date:

2 November 2018 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Shirley Collinsi ballaad See more »

Filming Locations:

East Sussex, England, UK


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Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

Production Co:

Fifth Column Films See more »
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Technical Specs


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User Reviews

An interesting documentary about a fascinating woman
11 January 2019 | by pscamp01See all my reviews

Shirley Collins is a little known name (at least here in the States) but she is a seminal figure in the worlds of both English and American folk music. This documentary is an attempt help her reclaim her place in music history. Rather than a straightforward biography, this movie takes a three prong approach to its subject: showing her talking with friends and admirers about her life, reenacting a trip she took in the 1950's to record American folk music with Alan Lomax, and filming her attempt to record her first new album in decades.

The movie is short, but some of the scenes linger a little too long and make the movie feel longer. But the music and cinematography are both beautiful. My main quibble is this: the movie spends way more time on Collins's trip with Lomax than it does on her singing career. Her recordings with Lomax are incredibly important, but that was only one part of her life (and it only lasted a couple years). Her singing career lasted over twenty years, and it was directed by her (and her sister), and it helped shape all English folk music that was to come after. So it is odd that it got such short shift here. But maybe they are saving it for a sequel...

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