Testimonies of War Correspondents build the foundations of an interdisciplinary performance by the critically acclaimed team behind Dalston Songs.
Co-directed by Helen Chadwick & Steven Hoggett, Composed by Helen Chadwick, Creative Associate Miriam Nabarro
National Tour, 10th to 25th October 2014
Stratford Circus London 10th & 11th October
Based on the personal experiences of journalists, critically acclaimed composer Helen Chadwick and Olivier Award winning choreographer (Black Watch) and co-founder of Frantic Assembly Steven Hoggett present the world premiere of a new song-cycle performance, coinciding with the centenary of WWI. The performance, which is the second collaboration between the two artists following the success of Dalston Songs commissioned by the Royal Opera House, weaves together sound extracts of interviews with original choreography and musical composition to depict the extraordinary stories and life changing experiences of war journalists from across the world who risk their lives in extreme circumstances.
From the harrowing to the everyday, War Correspondents explores all aspects of the journalists’ vocation, from being held at gunpoint to the necessity of packing wet wipes along with their flak jacket to the darkly funny story of the journalist who met the sniper who had tried to kill him. Actual recordings of journalist’s testimonies are used in the show alongside their words being transformed into song, including an Italian woman held hostage in Fallujah, a Georgian woman threatened with death in a no-man’s land during conflict in her own country, and an American who asks himself when it is right to put his pen down and help.
War Correspondents has been in development for six years. During this time, Helen Chadwick and designer Miriam Nabarro interviewed War Correspondents with experience of conflicts in Iraq, Chechnya, Georgia, Afghanistan, Liberia and Bosnia.
War Correspondent Chris Stephen, who reported for the Guardian from the Bosnian conflict and is currently covering Libya said: “The show felt authentic, right down to the sets, I liked the way everyone was making do, sitting on desks or the floor or the edge of a chair and endlessly jotting in notebooks, which is the way it is. What sticks in my mind is the portrayal of the jangled confusion of being a war reporter, that tangle of emotions and experiences. It’s the first portrayal of war reporters I can remember that shows the tension of having to hit a deadline, which is the event that shapes our day and frames all the other tensions. It’s good to find a theatre company tackling the tricky vital issues of today rather than resorting to the safety of the past.”
War Correspondents is co-commissioned by Greenwich & Docklands International Festival, Sage Gateshead, New Writing North for Durham Book Festival. The World Premiere was hosted by Birmingham Rep in April 2014, followed by an extensive tour.
Helen Chadwick is a British musician and singer who has written over 200 songs, mainly for unaccompanied voices. She has made six solo albums and several with other artists. She composes for radio, theatre, and opera and creates song theatre performances, both solo and with her group. As a singer she has worked with Meredith Monk, Orlando Gough and for the Royal National Theatre. Recently she has created, composed and sung in Dalston Songs and The Singing Circle, both commissioned by the Royal Opera House.
Steven Hoggett is the winner of 2009 Olivier award for Best Theatre Choreographer for the National Theatre of Scotland’s Black Watch. He was nominated for a Tony Award for Once on Broadway and nominated for an Olivier Award for The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time. He is the co-founder of Frantic Assembly, whose credits with the company include Lovesong, Beautiful Burnout, Stockholm, Pool (No Water) and Dirty Wonderland. Other recent credits include The Light Princess (National Theatre), The Full Monty (Sheffield Theatres), Rigoletto (Metropolitan Opera), The Wolves in the Walls (National Theatre of Scotland). He is currently working on Stings musical in New York.
@HelenChadSong | #WarCorrespondents | helenchadwick.com/warcorrespondents
Running Time: 75 mins (no interval) | Suitable for 12+
Directed by Helen Chadwick and Steven Hoggett, Designed by Miriam Nabarro, Composed by Helen Chadwick, Produced by Dramatic Solutions, Lighting Design by Natasha Chivers
Cast: Helen Chadwick, James Lailey, Michael Mears, Oliver Senton and Rebecca Thorny
Supported by Arts Council, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Department of Performance at Goldsmiths College, Stratford Circus, Hawkwood College, Fundación Valparaiso and the British Council. This work has been developed with the support of the National Theatre Studio.