Spring at the Wickham Theatre
Press release issued: 5 January 2009
The new season brings a mix of provocative theatre to the Wickham Theatre. Several of the companies are dealing with social issues, be it asylum seeking, the treatment of the elderly in society or young women from Easter Europe forced into the British sex trade.
Several of the companies this season are dealing with social issues, be it asylum seeking, the treatment of the elderly in society or young women from Eastern Europe forced into the British sex trade.
The first event, however, is The Oresteia, one of the great foundation stones of Western theatre. First performed in Athens 2500 years ago, these most ancient of plays still speak directly and movingly to audiences today. The first play of the trilogy, Agamemnon, begins at the end of the Trojan War. It is followed by The Libation Bearers and the final play is The Eumenides. The Oresteia is performed by final year Drama undergraduates in a fresh and accessible production of Tony Harrison’s vibrant and thrilling version of the plays. The performances are on 22-24 January starting at the earlier time of 7pm.
The professional season begins with gaijin-san company and is entitled Mr. Foreigner. It is a devised physical dance theatre performance on the notion of home and belonging, heritage and refuge, asylum and detention. The piece is a collaboration with Welsh poet and playwright Patrick Jones and brings together 5 male performers from the UK and South Africa in a dark, raw, physical and visceral response to the subject. Gaijin-san literally translates to Mr. Foreigner and is a phrase used out of respect and to ridicule. Gaijin-san is a Cardiff based company. The performance is on Friday 6 February at 7.30pm.
The Wickham is delighted to present award winning, multi-disciplined artist Sean Tuan John in How I faded and disintegrated. He has created an innovative and challenging solo performance that focuses on the severe implication of dementia and the treatment of the elderly in society. This distinct and uncompromising work creates a visually arresting socio-political performance that precariously treads the line between live art and theatre. Sean Tuan John is one of Wales most successful independent choreographers. He performs on Thursday 12 February at 7.30pm.
In late February the Wickham is pleased to present The Paper Birds who were Fringe First Award Winners at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. They were also shortlisted for The Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award for their piece In a Thousand Pieces, a touching and delicate depiction of the violent, isolated and brutal world which is home to thousands of women forced into the British sex trade. The performance is on Friday 20th February at 7.30pm.
In early March, the Drama Department’s student theatre company, studiospace presents The Wizard of Menlo, or The Age of the First Things. Duplex telegraph, microphone, phonograph, electric lamp, kinetoscope: the explosive career of Thomas Alva Edison is explored in this epic Czechoslovakian drama from 1934. Never before staged in the United Kingdom, the piece is performed, produced, designed and directed by students of the Drama Department from 5-7 March at 7.30pm.
Completing our run of unusual productions this spring is a performance by Reckless Sleepers of The Pilots. Two men are pretending. Two men are pretending to be pilots. Two men are pretending to know what they’re doing. The performance is part of a series of works investigating acts of terror. The Pilots is on Tuesday 10th March at 7.30pm.
In mid-March, a Public Lecture will be given by Alexandra Johnston, Professor of English at the University of Toronto. The Lecture is entitled Medievalism and Early English Drama: how the Victorians helped us get it right. Professor Johnston will show how, in the story of Victorian Medievalism, scholars are creating a new understanding of drama in late medieval and early modern English society. This is a Friends of the Theatre Collection event. The Lecture is on Tuesday 17th March at 5.30pm. Admission is free.
Box Office 0845 40 24 001 (via St. George’s Bristol).
The Wickham Theatre, Department of Drama, University of Bristol, Cantocks Close, Woodland Rd, Bristol BS8 1UP