Award-winning Metta Theatre have announced that JUNGLE BOOK is coming to London’s leading summer circus and cabaret venue, the London Wonderground at Southbank Centre. Acclaimed street dance choreographer Kendra J Horsburgh is collaborating with Artistic Directors Poppy Burton-Morgan and William Reynolds on a new version of JUNGLE BOOK using street dance, circus and spoken word.
Poppy Burton-Morgan’s radical re-imagining of Kipling’s much loved, albeit problematically colonialist, classic sees JUNGLE BOOK transposed to a contemporary urban jungle of fleet-footed Wolves, street dancing Monkeys, a beat-boxing bin man Baloo and graffiti artist Bagheera. Kipling for the 21st century – this production will simultaneously astonish with its physical virtuosity and challenge with its politics.
Metta Theatre are known for their powerful visual storytelling and exploration of multi-cultural stories often from a female perspective. In JUNGLE BOOK we follow Mowgli on her search for identity and belonging – vulnerable, isolated and trying to find her place in an alien environment. The story transcends boundaries and will resonate with audiences young and old, urban and rural.
Sound artist Filipe Gomes has created a beat-driven score using real world sounds of the city. Add to this designer William Reynolds’ trademark minimalism and an urban jungle is created – a stark forest of streetlamps disguising circus equipment on which these recognisably human animals cavort and contort themselves. The show uses street dance and circus to explore the search for identity and belonging in contemporary multi-cultural Britain. The diverse and multi-skilled cast includes the UK’s leading dancers and circus performers.
Award-winning Metta Theatre are prolific theatre makers and masters of storytelling who combine circus, new writing and physical theatre forms to make challenging and richly layered work – with a strong commitment to making such work for family audiences alongside their adult productions. Previous work using the multi-dimensionality of circus to unlock narratives includes their adaptation of The King of Tiny Things (a circus Family Arts Campaign award-winning show which toured nationally in 2015 to major venues and festivals (“effortlessly charming” – Exeunt). Recent new writing includes Mouthful at London’s Trafalgar Studios in September 2015 (Critics’ Choice, The Times), a response to the global food crisis from six of the world’s leading dramatists in partnership with six world-renowned scientists. These projects were both part of Metta 10 – ten shows staged across one year to celebrate the company’s tenth birthday – of which Jungle Book is the 10th. Metta Theatre are supported by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund.
Adaptor & Director | Poppy Burton-Morgan, after Kipling
Designer | William Reynolds
Choreographer | Kendra J Horsburgh
Costume Designer | Kate Lane
Composer & Sound Designer | Filipe Gomes
Natalie Nicole James as Mowgli
Ellen Wolf as Raksha
Kloé Dean as Bagheera
Nathalie Layton-McIntosh as Kaa
Stefan Puxon as Baloo
Matt Knight as Akela
Dean Stewart as Shere Khan
PRESS PERFORMANCES 22 April at 1.30pm and 7pm, Theatre Royal, Windsor
21 – 23 April Theatre Royal, Windsor
26 –30 April Northcott Theatre, Exeter
3 – 7 May Festival Theatre, Malvern
10 – 14 May Dundee Rep Theatre, Dundee
17 – 21 May Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne
31 May – 1 June Theatre Royal, Winchester
3 – 4 June Oxford Playhouse, Oxford
17 – 1 June Cork Midsummer Festival, Ireland
13 – 28 August London Wonderground at Southbank Centre