A retelling of The Odyssey, Homer’s epic story of stamina and hope, is to be the centrepiece of a landmark venture up coming year by the Countrywide Theatre in partnership with area artists and communities.
The manufacturing will be staged in episodes in Stoke-on-Trent, Doncaster, Trowbridge and Sunderland. Each and every of the 4 pieces will be published by a area playwright, and executed by nearby people today along with expert actors.
The fifth and ultimate episode will be a whole-scale musical manufacturing at the Olivier stage of the Countrywide Theatre in London involving hundreds of individuals from across the United kingdom which include cameo performances by groups from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
“It will be logistically incredibly difficult, but thrilling to have people today from all about the nation on the stage for the closing element,” reported Emily Lim, director of General public Functions, the NT’s national local community initiative, which celebrates its fifth anniversary in 2023. Up coming yr is also the 60th anniversary of the founding of the NT by Laurence Olivier.
Lim and her colleagues needed to stage an “epic, episodic story which would permit us to go on a journey all over the region and end again at the Nationwide Theatre”, she reported. “The Odyssey was a single of the most noticeable, and we resisted it for a though partly due to the fact of that.
“But this is a story of stamina, resilience, of overcoming trial on demo. And of hope, of getting a way of holding going. In the context of the past two decades, this is a pertinent matter to investigate.
“How do we continue to keep heading in the encounter of a entire world turned upside down? When everything’s slipping apart, how do we seem up? Where’s the mild? Where’s the hope? Where’s the forward motion? And we discover it in just about every other.”
Each and every episode will be self-contained and “very bespoke”, but component of 1 larger tale, explained Lim. “We want to give as significantly autonomy as probable to the four awesome writers and artistic teams all-around the region. But we also require to make sure that the tale holds as a constant entire.”
All 4 elements will open up with the exact same prologue, and the similar song will be carried out with variants in each and every output. “There will also be anything we’re contacting ‘passing the baton’ – a neighborhood member from every single location will travel to the upcoming put to accomplish as element of that opening. And they will carry with them a reward to the organization they’re going to from the business they’ve arrive from.”
An factor of the last episode will be a recap of the very first four parts. Lim stated: “We’d appreciate it if men and women travelled to see all 5 episodes, but everything will be offered to stream. And every single piece can be savored independently.”
Lindsay Rodden, who is composing episode four which will be staged in Sunderland, stated the task was a “huge undertaking, the absolute reverse of seeing some thing on your phone”.
The Sunderland episode will be the stories of Odysseus’ face with the sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis, and the Cattle of Helios. “These are exciting, spectacular, terrifying tales. Individuals are drawn to big, epic dramas,” she said.
Sunderland Culture and the Sunderland Empire theatre, the NT’s companions, had an “arms extensive open” solution, claimed Rodden. “It’s an invitation: who desires to be part of in? We have a huge beautiful stage, come and aid us fill it.”
Community Functions was established in 2017 as a participatory theatre programme, with its very first creation the adhering to year. “Theatre is all about everything staying feasible,” reported Lim. “With something as massive and as epic as this, the display will be a major celebration of who we are and who we can be when we come alongside one another as a neighborhood of artists.”
The initially four episodes will be staged in April 2023, with the final episode in August 2023.