IT seems to me to be entirely appropriate Colchester’s Lizzie Gutteridge is doing a show about another of the town’s historical trailblazers.

And that’s because Lizzie is one herself.

She would probably blush at the comparison to Peasant Revolt preacher John Ball but in terms of bringing early music to the forefront of people’s attention, there’s not many that have done more, especially in this area.

As well as setting up the country’s first Waits band open to all comers, Lizzie is pushing the boundaries of early music with her new project, Consort of 1, in which she uses modern live looping techniques, much like Ed Sheeran does, to create multi-layered harmonic pieces, predominantly with shawms, a double-reed woodwind instrument, the precursor for the oboe and bassoon, which was hugely popular in Medieval and Renaissance times.

She says: “I saw a trombonist perform the Pharrell Williams song Happy using looping and straight away I thought, I wonder if I could do that with the shawm.

“I went to talk with Clare Goodall, who was a member of my Colchester Waits Band and whose day job was a technician for the film and television industry, and it went from there.”

Having already tried the process out using her soprano, alto, tenor and bass shawms at events in Harwich and the Colchester Arts Centre, Lizzie is back at the latter with Clare for a new special show which tells the story of radical preacher John Ball and his preaching in English and claiming that everyone was created equal, all to the backdrop of Lizzie’s live looped Medieval music.

Born and brought up in Kings Lyn, Norfolk, music was an important part of her childhood, particularly early music.

“My father built a spinet, which is a type of harpsichord,” she tells me, “from a kit and that’s what I practised on. Then when I was at university he set up the Kings Lyn Waits group and when some of the players got pregnant I was basically their maternity cover.”

But it was World Music Lizzie was more interested in, heading off on her travels to discover classical Indian singing and play in a Gamelan, the Indonesian gong chime orchestra.

On her return to the UK, Lizzie applied these new found skills to her new job at Norfolk Music Works, where her work involved sessions on everything from steel pans, African drumming and samba to early years singing, folk, rock and DJ sessions.

Lizzie then moved south after she got a job with Essex Music Services in 2004, teaching violin, viola, guitar, clarinet, recorder and piano as well as running world music sessions, after school clubs and even trying her hand at some class teaching.

She adds: “I had set up the Colchester Waits Shawm Band almost after I moved here.

“There’s only a smattering of Waits bands in the country and I play in three of them, Kings Lyn, York and Colchester, but ours is the only one that is open to everyone.

“I organised a come and try sessions at Cressing Temple Barns and that got me started with all kinds of people, some who had played shawms before, others from a more rock and pop background. The first appearance I think was probably at the Colchester Oyster Fair with around five of us, which included me and dad, but at the last Fair we fielded a band of 16.”

But despite playing in, and running her own shawm band, Lizzie wanted to get much better at it.

She explains: “It wasn’t until I signed up for a Cambridge Summer School that I really started to take the whole thing a lot more seriously.

“It was really seeing Keith McGowan play at that summer school. That’s when I thought if I want to get better at this I need to get some lessons.”

Which is what Lizzie did, studying with some of the country’s leading Renaissance wind players at Cambridge and Dartington summer schools and then with William Lyons at The Guildhall College of Music and Drama.

As part of her studies at Guildhall she also met like-minded musicians, Emily Baines and Belinda Paul, which led to the formation of Blondel, through which Lizzie has got a first record deal.

“I’m not going to be buying that huge mansion just yet,” she smiles, “but what it actually means for us is being able to get our albums in shops and places we wouldn’t normally be able to get them into.

“We have a pre-launch of our new album, Of Arms and a Woman, taking place at the Colchester Arts Centre at the end of August and following that we will be doing a little tour of the country.”

This will be the group’s third album following other releases which started off with a commission from The Agincourt600 Committee to record a CD based around the life of Henry V, which is available as free download via their bandcamp site.

As well as Blondel, Consort of 1, and of course running the Colchester Waits Shawm Band, Lizzie is involved in a number of other projects.

She is also a York Wait, having performed at numerous concerts with them over the past few years as well as recording and helping to produce their three latest albums. This includes the Gresley Dance project Cherwell thy Wyne, for which she wrote some of the tunes and arrangements.

Freelance engagements have included the Globe’s Nell Gwynn both on tour and in the West End, The Knight of the Burning Pestle at the Wanamaker Theatre, and large scale events at Hampton Court and the Tower of London.

Although her most recent project is a little more out of the ordinary.

“It’s in London for a fan film of Game of Thrones,” she grins, “and I have to play the Mastermind theme on a shawm, which should be very interesting.”

Firestarter: John Ball and the Great Revolt is at the Colchester Arts Centre on Friday, July 6. Doors open at 7.30pm and tickets, priced £8 and £7, are available from 01206 500900.