After two sold-out runs at Battersea Arts Centre and at the world-renowned Salzburg Festival, Little Bulb Theatre’s critically-acclaimed production of Orpheus will be staged at the Royal Opera House Linbury Studio Theatre as part of the 2015 Deloitte Ignite Festival (15-19 Sept), Bristol Old Vic (23-26 Sept), Nuffield Southampton (29 Sept-3 Oct), Liverpool Everyman (20-24 Oct) and Birmingham Repertory Theatre (28-31 Oct) on its first-ever tour in the UK.
Little Bulb Theatre’s Orpheus is an astonishingly original musical re-imagining of the epic Greek myth inspired by the music of legendary jazz guitarist, Django Reinhardt.
1930s Paris: charismatic songstress Yvette Pépin has cajoled the guitar virtuoso, Django Reinhardt, into joining her in a brand new production of Orpheus. He will play the tragic hero, she will play his lost love Eurydice. Together with her troupe of operatic players she tells the thrilling tale of Orpheus’s ill-fated descent into the underworld, set to a live score of hot club jazz, opera and French chanson.
Formed in 2008, Little Bulb Theatre has been widely applauded for its genre-shifting approach and readiness to embrace fresh challenges with every new production. From fantastical balletic farce to folk opera to intimate character pieces, no two shows are ever the same. Developed over two years at Battersea Arts Centre, Orpheus is the Company’s largest-scale and most ambitious production to-date.
Music has played an integral part in all of Little Bulb’s past productions but Orpheus puts it right at its heart: it is entirely sung-through in a veritable musical feast including original compositions alongside Bach, Monteverdi, Edith Piaf and Debussy. In developing the show, members of the Company learnt the double bass, clarinet and slide-whistle from scratch then hit the road to play gigs across the UK as a real-life jazz band. To elevate his guitar technique to that of a maestro, performer Dominic Conway trained and lived alongside Lollo Meier, a travelling guitar virtuoso much like Django Reinhardt.
Little Bulb Theatre’s Artistic Director, Alexander Scott, was nominated for the Salzburg Festival’s Young Director’s Award in 2014 for the boldness of innovation in Orpheus. This is the third nomination that the Salzburg Festival has given to productions commissioned and developed at Battersea Arts Centre following Ontroerend Goed’s A Game of You (2010) and 1927’s The Animals and Children Took to the Streets (2013).
Little Bulb Theatre’s long-standing relationship with Battersea Arts Centre began with Crocosmia which received a Fringe First and Total Theatre Award in Edinburgh in 2008. They returned in 2012 with the Herald Angel Award-winning Operation Greenfield, and most recently with their first-ever show for children, the captivating Antarctica in winter 2014. Orpheus holds a special place in the recent history of Battersea Arts Centre; as well as delighting audiences and critics’ alike in two sold-out runs, the former Town Hall’s Victorian pipe organ was partially restored to be played in this production.
Orpheus is written and devised by Little Bulb Theatre and directed by Alexander Scott, with design by Mary Drummond, puppets by Max Humphries and sound design by Ed Clarke. It is performed by Clare Beresford, Dominic Conway, Miriam Gould, Eugénie Pastor, Charlie Penn, Tom Penn, Alexander Scott and Shamira Turner. Orpheus is a Little Bulb Theatre and Battersea Arts Centre co-production.
Orpheus will tour to the Royal Opera House Linbury Studio Theatre as part of the 2015 Deloitte Ignite Festival (15-19 September), Bristol Old Vic (23-26 September), Nuffield Southampton (29 September-3 October), Liverpool Everyman (20-24 October) and Birmingham Repertory Theatre (28-31 October).
Wednesday 27th May 2015