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Venue announced for RIFT’s immersive Macbeth

Macbeth by RIFTBalfron Tower, Poplar is unveiled as the setting for this exciting overnight immersive experience staged between dusk and dawn in the iconic brutalist masterpiece.

Audiences are invited to face witches in an underground car park, drink and feast with the Macbeths as the siege rages around them and then take a restful sleep in this fully immersive production set in and inspired by brutalist architectural masterpiece Balfron Tower in Poplar, East London.

Performed overnight from 8pm until 8am, RIFT create a fevered festival-like dream of characters sleepwalking through walls, confiding plots and conspiring murder in this lively and ambitious retelling of Shakespeare’s Scottish play. A visceral experience, the performance will envelop its environs to create a world floating between dystopia and utopia; waking and sleeping, with an extraordinary view over the city at sunrise the following morning.

The Grade II listed Balfron Tower, part of the Brownfield Estate in Poplar, is the architectural older sister of London’s Trellick Tower. Designed by Erño Goldfinger in 1963 as part of the post war rebuild of East London, the building has 27 floors and is the tallest structure in the area at 276ft high. The view from the top spans most of London’s skyline including well known icons such as Tower Bridge, the “Gherkin”, the BT Tower, and even Wembley Stadium on a clear day, as well as out to City Airport, Harolds Hill in Essex and the Thames Estuary to the east.

Brutalist architecture was designed in the 1960s as a vision of utopia after torrid wars but has become a symbol of dystopia in much of popular culture. Spawned from the modernist architecture movement, these grey concrete monoliths now stand uncompromising against the landscape of London (and indeed around the world) and are characterised by their blockish form, angular geometrics and fortress like appearance.

Macbeth remains true to the wildly imaginative site-specific, immersive style of previous productions from RIFT (formerly RETZ): O Brave New World, a six month retelling of The Tempest in a shop in Hoxton (2012), and The Trial (2013), a one-on-one reinterpretation of Kafka’s classic set over four locations. Macbeth aims to make Shakespeare accessible and exciting by plunging you into the action; consciously and subconsciously.

Felix Mortimer has produced and directed many large-scale site-specific, technology-led and innovative performance projects and formed RETZ, 19:29 and RIFT. For 19;29, he directed Blasted for the West Yorkshire Playhouse and EXIT Theatre in San Francisco. Felix founded RETZ in 2010 with colleagues including RIFT’s Joshua Nawras to respond to the need for a dialogue between performance, film and the internet. He won the SkyArts Future’s Fund bursary in 2012. Felix established RIFT with long-term collaborator Simon Ryninks in 2010.

Joshua Nawras’ background combines performance, production and community arts projects. Joshua has toured as a performer and producer throughout the UK and the US, working with the NYT, Imago and the RSC.

Cast
Michael Adams, Bill Bingham, Dominique Bull, Adam J Carpenter, Elly Condron, Guido Cavaciuti, Gavin Duff, Matthew Flacks, Kieran Garland, Humphrey Hardwicke, Lowri James, Alexander Luttley, Roseanne Lynch, Lachlan McCall, John, McLear, Robert Myles, Matthew Neal, Sarah Ratheram, Louise Torres-Ryan

Listings information
Balfron Tower, St Leonard’s Road, Poplar, East London, E14 0QT
20th June to 16th August, Fridays and Saturdays only, 8pm to 8am

Running Time: 12 hrs | Suitable for 14+
Company Information
Based on the play by William Shakespeare, Directed by Felix Mortimer, Designed by Joshua Nawras, Produced by Felix Mortimer and Joshua Nawras.

Author

  • Neil Cheesman

    First becoming involved in an online theatre business in 2005 and launching londontheatre1.com in September 2013. Neil writes reviews and news articles, and has interviewed over 150 actors and actresses from the West End, Broadway, film, television, and theatre. Follow Neil on Twitter @LondonTheatre1

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