BANKSY: THE ROOM IN THE ELEPHANT Comes to the Arcola Theatre, April 1-26
"Did Banksy's latest work bring misery to a homeless man?" - The Independent
This was the headline that inspired Fringe First winning director Emma Callander (Associate Director of the Traverse Theatre and Co-Artistic Director of Theatre Uncut) and writer Tom Wainwright (Muscle, Pedestrian and Buttercup) to create Banksy: The Room In the Elephant.
Banksy was in LA for the Oscars when he sprayed 'THIS LOOKS A BIT LIKE AN ELEPHANT' onto an old water tank. The tank was home to local legend, Tachowa Covington, who over seven years had furnished it with carpets, a stove and, even, CCTV. As news spread of Banksy's latest work, a consortium of art dealers appeared to repossess the water tank. Suddenly, Tachowa was homeless again.
Following its highly acclaimed sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe 2013, the show now transfers to London's Arcola Theatre as part of a national tour. For the very first time, Banksy: The Room In the Elephant will be followed by the world premiere of Something from Nothing - documentary maker Hal Samples' short film about Tachowa's experience with Banksy, edited from material gathered over the past seven years.
Gary Beadle (best known as Eastenders' Paul Trueman as well as for acclaimed roles in the Royal Court's Sucker Punch and Chichester Festival Theatre's Blue Remembered Hills) gives a volcanic performance (Fest Magazine) in this story about creating something from nothing and then having it taken away in the name of art. A vital piece of 21st century drama, about who gets to hold the camera, to define what is art, and to shape the stories we hear; and whose life finally counts (The Scotsman). This play questions who has the right to call someone's home a work of art, or - for that matter - turn someone's life into a piece of theatre.
Tobacco Factory Theatres and The Sum present Banksy: The Room In The Elephant at the Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London E8 3DL, running Tuesday 1st - Saturday 26th April 2014. Press Night: Friday 4th April, 8pm.
The show runs Monday to Saturday, 8pm with Saturday matinees, 3pm. Running time: 55 minutes (play) then 20 minute interval followed by 45 minutes (film). Location: Arcola Theatre, 24 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London E8 3DL. For tickets, visit www.arcolatheatre.com, or call 020 7503 1646. Previews (1st - 5th April): all tickets £12
Monday - Saturday evenings: £17 (concessions £12). Matinees: £14 (concessions £12). Pay what you can Tuesdays. Note: Suitable for ages 12+.
Arcola Theatre is located on Ashwin Street, off Kingsland Road. The nearest stations are Dalston Kingsland and Dalston Junction (on the London Overground). Both connect with Highbury and Islington (on the Victoria and Overground Lines), Whitechapel (on the District and Hammersmith and City Lines) and Stratford (on National Rail and the Central, Jubilee and DLR Lines). Hackney Downs station, ten minutes by train from Liverpool Street, is a 3-minute bus ride on numbers 30 and 56.
Tobacco Factory Theatres: Tobacco Factory Theatres produces and presents excellent art in unique, intimate and visceral spaces, including the Factory Theatre and Brewery Theatre in Bristol, as well as off site in Bristol and in venues across the country. It presents a jam-packed programme of diverse and exciting shows, workshops and events, from classic and contemporary theatre, to theatre for families, comedy, dance, music and opera, puppetry and film. It also programmes an extensive season of TF+ events and activities for audiences, artists and young people. For more info, see www.tobaccofactorytheatres.com.
The Sum: The Sum is a Bristol based company that is dedicated to creating ambitious collaborations to tell vital contemporary stories on stage. The company focuses on creating work that invites new audiences in that may never have been to theatre before.
Gary Beadle: Performer Gary Beadle has been a key collaborator in the creation of this project playing the role of Tachowa Covington since the premiere. Gary is best known for playing Paul Trueman in Eastenders but has received acclaim for roles in Sucker Punch at the Royal Court and Blue Remembered Hills at Chichester Festival Theatre. Gary has just finished filming Ron Howard's new feature biopic of Herman Melville.
Emma Callander: Emma Callander is a Bristol born director and currently Associate Director of the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, and Co-Artistic Director of Theatre Uncut. Emma has gathered two Fringe Firsts, a Herald Angel and Spirit of the Fringe award with Theatre Uncut. Her other work includes The Guild of Cheesemakers with Stand and Stare, with a tour that culminated at the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Arcadia Spectacular at Glastonbury Festival. She was resident with the National Theatre of Scotland 2009/10 and has developed and directed five new plays for a Play, a Pie and a Pint at O?ran Mo?r in Glasgow including Dalgety by David Greig.
Hal Samples: Dallas film maker Hal Samples has been documenting the lives of USA's homeless community for the past 20 years. He met Tachowa on the streets of LA seven years ago and has been filming his life ever since. Five years into their acquaintance, Banksy sprayed Tachowa's water tank and Hal caught the whole experience and the fall out from it on camera. Hal's connection to the reality of this story and his considerable film making skills bring a vital element to this project and makes Banksy: The Room in the Elephant stand out from other plays based on real life events.
Tom Wainwright: Tom Wainwright is one of Bristol's leading playwrights. His first play Muscle was produced by the Bristol Old Vic before being remounted by Hull Truck Theatre and published by Oberon. His previous show at the Edinburgh Festival, Pedestrian, had a sell-out run at the Underbelly and went on to tour nationally with venues including the Roundhouse, Theatre Royal Bath and Manchester Royal Exchange. Tom has been commissioned by Mayfest, Tobacco Factory Theatres and a Play a Pie and a Pint at O?ran Mo?r and is currently the writer in residence for Theatre Bristol.