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National Theatre’s Public Acts Initiative Launches with Shakespeare’s Pericles in the Olivier Theatre: August 26-28

|| June 12: 2018 || ά. A company of over 200 people of all ages from across London join together with professional artists to breathe new life into William Shakespeare’s Pericles in a musical version on the National Theatre’s Olivier stage on August 26-28. Pericles launches Public Acts, the National Theatre’s new initiative to create extraordinary acts of theatre and community. The production marks the centre point of a two-year partnership, building in-depth relationships with eight organisations, who deliver visionary work in their communities, together with Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch. 

The community partners are Bromley by Bow Centre, Body and Soul, Coram, DABD, Havering Asian Social Welfare Association, Open Age, Thames Reach and The Faith and Belief Forum. Prince Pericles has everything but understands little. When a reckless act threatens his safety, he must flee his home and take to the sea. Reliant on the whims of the fates and the kindness of strangers, Pericles is driven from shore to shore. Only by reaching the ends of the earth, may, he, finally, understand what it means to come home. And, that’s not bad at all: to be able to know what is home and knowing that one is at home.

The cast includes Ashley Zhangazha, Audrey Brisson, Ayesha Dharker, Garry Robson, Naana Agyei-Ampadu, performers recruited through community partners and seven cameo performance groups, that represent the cultural diversity of London: Ascension Eagles, Faithworks Gospel Choir, London Bulgarian Choir, Manifest Nation, The Archetype Dance Team, The Bhavan and The Youthsayers. 

The National Theatre has commissioned Mr Chris Bush, a writer with extensive experience working with large community companies, to adapt Shakespeare’s Pericles which will be directed by Resident Director Ms Emily Lim. Music for the production is by Mr James Fortune.

The production is designed by Mr Fly Davis and choreographed by Mr Robby Graham.  Lighting design is by Mr Paule Constable, sound design by Mr Paul Arditti and Mr Tarek Merchant is Music Director.

Ms Emily Lim said, “Public Acts is founded on the belief that theatre can be a force for change, bringing communities together to experience the power of collective purpose and imagination. We are so excited to be celebrating our first year of community partnerships this Summer with Pericles, our first Public Acts production, under the National Theatre's Artistic Director Rufus Norris.” 

Public Acts is inspired by Public Works, the Public Theatre’s ground-breaking programme in New York and by the visionary participatory work of other theatres across the UK over the past decades.

Supported by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Hertz, The Sackler Trust and Garfield Weston Foundation.

The National Theatre’s Partner for Learning is Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Tickets can be booked at nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/pericles

About the National Theatre: At the National Theatre, we make world-class theatre, that is entertaining, challenging and inspiring and we make it for everyone. In 2016-2017, the NT staged 26 productions and gave 2,585 performances at our home on the South Bank. The NT’s award-winning programme had a UK paying audience of 1.8 million, 400,000 of which were NT Live audiences.

The work the National Theatre produces appeals to the widest possible audiences with new plays, musicals, reimagined classics and new work for young audiences. The NT’s work is seen in the West End, on tour throughout the UK and internationally, and in collaborations and co-productions with partners across the country. Through NT Live, we broadcast some of the best of British theatre to over 2,500 venues in 60 countries around the world.

Our extensive Learning programme offers talks, events and workshops for people of all ages, and reaches nationwide through programmes such as Connections, our annual festival of new plays for schools and youth theatres. In 2016-2017 there were 196,826 participations through the NT Learning events programme. Over 3,000 schools have signed up to the free streaming service, On Demand. In Schools, since its launch in September 2015.

About Public Acts: Public Acts is a nationwide initiative to create extraordinary acts of theatre and community. The programme aims to build sustained partnerships with communities and theatres across the UK, through which we will create ambitious new works of participatory theatre.

Pericles is the first Public Acts production. It marks the mid-point of a two-year programme of workshops, trips and opportunities for exchange with eight organisations who deliver visionary work in their communities, together with the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch.

About Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch: Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is a vibrant regional theatre with a rich heritage, working in Outer East London, Essex and beyond, celebrating its 65th birthday in 2018. As the cultural hub of the region, over 200,000 people enjoy the programme each year, including the best in home grown theatre, visiting live entertainment and inspiring Learning and Participation projects. Behind the scenes, sets and costumes are lovingly created on-site by a highly skilled carpentry workshop, scenic artists, prop makers and wardrobe team. Audiences are guaranteed a warm welcome from a winner of UK Theatre’s Most Welcoming Theatre 2016 and 2017.

Caption: Members of the Pericles company joined by National Theatre Artistic Director Mr Rufus Norris and the Pericles creative team: Image: The National Theatre:::ω.

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