Print Room at the Coronet has today announced further details for Out of Blixen and Babette’s Feast, two productions that will run consecutively, putting a spotlight on the fascinating life and writing of Karen Blixen. Although Blixen died 55 years ago, her work remains as relevant and enchanting as ever. A programme of talks and exhibitions will take up residency in the beautiful Victorian venue to accompany the two productions.
Karen Blixen is widely remembered through Meryl Streep’s portrayal in the Oscar winning ‘Out Of Africa’. This spring Print Room at the Coronet will lift the curtain on the many sides to Blixen’s richly layered personal life and career, from the multiple identities she created for herself to the intricate, diverse and enduring stories she told.
Riotous Company’s Out of Blixen will receive its world premiere at the Coronet, previewing from 3 April 2017. This brand new co-production with Print Room at the Coronet is directed by the award-winning Kathryn Hunter, Patron of Riotous Company. Riotous Company Founder, Mia Theil Have, has long had a fascination with Blixen, the complex woman behind the myth, who wrote some of the most daring Danish fiction of the twentieth century, often under pseudonyms, the best known of which is probably Isak Dinesen. Out of Blixen will mark the culmination of a 10 year exploration bringing Riotous Company’s playful and unexpected style to a selection of Blixen’s fantastic stories: The Sailor Boy, Sorrow Acre from Winter’s Tales, The Diver from Anecdotes of Destiny and The Blank Page from Last Tales.
Out Of Blixen is devised and performed by Femi Elufowoju, jr, Kathryn Hunter, Nikola Kodjabashia, Marcello Magni and Mia Theil Have. Dramaturgy and writing is by Paul Tickell, original music and sound design by Nikola Kodjabashia, production design by Luis Carvalho, lighting design by David Plater and aerial advising from Alex Harvey. Riotous Company is supported by PRS For Music Foundation for the original live music score.
Kathryn Hunter said, ‘In a world that seems more and more divided, Blixen’s stories have for us a powerful appeal; in their explorations of the paradoxes of being human they connect us and unleash our imaginations.’
Following Out of Blixen, the creative team from the hugely successful Sweeney Todd in a Pie Shop reunites to present Glyn Maxwell’s specially commissioned adaptation of Blixen’s much loved short story Babette’s Feast. Previewing from 8th May, this world premiere will see Print Room at the Coronet’s typically innovative style applied to Blixen’s tale of one community’s willingness to accept a stranger in need and the ensuing act of thanksgiving.
Babette’s Feast will be directed by Bill Buckhurst with design by Simon Kenny the pairing who collaborated on the hugely successful 2015 Tooting Arts Club production of Sweeney Todd which opens on Broadway next month. New music for Babette’s Feast will be composed by Olly Fox.
Bill Buckhurst said, ‘Karen Blixen’s story is, on the surface, a simple tale of a woman who escapes revolution in her country and arrives in a new community which welcomes her as a refugee with open arms. The original story is only about 50 pages long but each page is crammed full of heart and soul which jumps out at you, written in Blixen’s extraordinary but economic style. Glyn’s adaptation has been done with great sensitivity and affection tackling ideas of tolerance, acceptance and forgiveness. Babette’s Feast is also a story of the transformative power of the creative arts and I’m really excited to be working with this creative team and the Print Room on this, at this moment in time.’
Glyn Maxwell said, ‘These days I’m constantly on the lookout for anything that shows hope and Babette’s Feast really is a tale that goes against the current, showing how good deeds can resonate through the world. I’ve long been an admirer of the Print Room so when Anda Winters first approached me about this I said yes immediately. Since reading the original text I’ve been captivated and I’m thrilled to be bringing it to life surrounded by so much talent’
Riotous Company will conduct a number of critical post-show panel talks on themes including race, storytelling, gender and independent theatre companies in relation to Out Of Blixen, supported by The Danish Embassy, as well as a small exhibition of Blixen’s publications supported by Rungstedlund (Blixen Estate). There will be a captioned matinee performance (22nd April) and a relaxed matinee performance (15th April) of Out Of Blixen and an extensive education programme in collaboration with Central School of Speech and Drama.
3 – 22 April 2017
Evenings: 7.30pm, Matinees: Saturdays 3pm
Out Of Blixen
Created by Riotous Company
Press Night: Friday 7 April, 7pm
Directed by Kathryn Hunter
Dramaturge/Writer Paul Tickell
Artistic Director Mia Theil Have
Relaxed performance: 15th April, matinee
Captioned performance: 22nd April, matinee
8 May – 3 June 2017
Evenings: 7.30pm, Matinees: Saturdays 3pm
Based on a novella by Karen Blixen
Press Night: Monday 15 May, 7pm
Adapted by Glyn Maxwell
Directed by Bill Buckhurst