HOME Manchester Stages World Premiere of ANGEL MEADOW, Now thru June 29
HOME Manchester presents the world premiere of Angel Meadow, (www.HOMEmcr.org/Angel-Meadow),the first in a series of site-specific productions taking place around Manchester in the lead-up to the opening of the £25m centre for theatre, film, and art in spring 2015.
Hailed by The Irish Times as the company responsible for "the most searing and provocative works of the past decade", the multi award-winning Dublin based ANU Productions are building a reputation for consistently creating ground- breaking theatre. Placing the audience at the very centre of their work, the performance site explodes with forceful energy, as the audience enter a world that is fast, furious and ultimately captivating.
Their latest production Angel Meadow, launching HOME's first season of theatre, is inspired by the 19th century experience of Irish migrants escaping poverty and famine for a better life in industrial Manchester. A raw enactment of the lives of the Irish community settling in Ancoats, it will ignite aesthetics and politics, and the historic and the contemporary, in a controlled explosion of cold rage.
Through intimate encounters and installations, the audience is brought on an immersive journey in contemporary Ancoats, an area now undergoing extensive regeneration but once described as 'Hell Upon Earth' by Friedrich Engels, co- author of the Communist Party Manifesto, in his book The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844.
A revelatory site-specific experience, Angel Meadow will take place in a disused pub that history has left behind. This theatrical haunting of Ancoats is an ambitious, multi-layered response to the waves of Irish migrants who lived here.
"The name Angel Meadow conjures up an image of fresh air and sunshine," says director Louise Lowe, "but our research tells us it was anything but. We know from archives and oral histories that life here was overcrowded and dangerous. Gangs of scuttlers roamed large, and territorial combat was a way of life.
"The community worked hard and lived hard, living cheek by jowl in perpetual twilight. We're not making a documentary, and that is one reason why we involve the audience so centrally in the piece. Their contribution, even though it will be different each performance, is crucial."
Renowned for their interdisciplinary approach, ANU Productions draw influences across visual art, performance, cinema and dance. Angel Meadow has been devised with research spanning from the origins of this site to the ritual superstitions that the Irish migrants brought with them.
It is also influenced by savagely imbued consciousness of post-war slaughterhouse workers in Paris, documented by George Franju in Le Sang de Betes (Blood of the Beast), to the smog-fuelled work-ethic and unionism of
Britain's industrial workers, and combines the familiarity of the saturated realism of Martin Parr, the loneliness of Gillian Wearing's Everyone's Got A Secret, the ferocity of DV8, and the deathly beauty of Goya...
The actors involved in Angel Meadow have worked extensively with the company and are delighted to reunite for this production. The eight actors are Dee Burke, Caitriona Ennis, Will Irvine, Úna Kavanagh, Jed Murray, Laura Murray, Eric O'Brien - whose face is on the Angel Meadow poster and banners across the city centre - and Thomas Reilly.
Walter Meierjohann, HOME's Artistic Director for Theatre, is delighted to have secured ANU Productions to present the first-ever production under the HOME banner. "Our site-specific season for 2014 is a taste of things to come at HOME," he says, "and we are delighted to have Louise and her team with us in Manchester.
"The common thread we're interrogating is the idea of belonging, and this exploration of the Irish community in Angel Meadow from ANU Productions will make for the ideal opening production for our site-specific season. It's an exciting, and slightly unusual time for us in the run-up to the opening of HOME in spring 2015, and the adventurous programming reflects this. All the works are questioning and ambitious artistic projects that involved audiences with new and extraordinary theatrical experiences."
Angel Meadow is the first production of HOME's site-specific season for 2014/15. It will be followed by Romeo and Juliet directed by Walter Meierjohann at Victoria Baths - the Grade II* listed building which won the BBC's Restoration programme in 2003 (Wednesday 10 September - Saturday 4 October) - and then three productions at Number One First Street - The Best of BE (Birmingham European) Festival (Friday 17/Saturday 18 October); The Events, presented by ATC (Wednesday 22 October - Saturday 25 October); and re:play Festival (Monday 12 - Saturday 24 January 2015).
ANU Productions was formed in Dublin by director Louise Lowe and visual artist presented 11 multiple award-theatre productions in Ireland. Angel Meadow is their first production outside their home country.
HOME, the new home for the company formed by the merger of Manchester's Library Theatre Company and Cornerhouse, will open as a new multi-art form venue in spring 2015 in the city centre. HOME will commission, produce and present an ambitious programme of provocative contemporary theatre, film, and visual art. It will be a HOME for all, introducing audiences to new and extraordinary experiences and outstanding art while unlocking the creative potential of the city and providing development opportunities for local communities.
HOME theatre is international, interdisciplinary and provocative, centred on a bold vision that encourages risk and collaborative working that explores new ways of making theatre for a contemporary audience.
HOME will include a 500-seat theatre and a 150-seat flexible studio space. It will collaborate and co-produce with international partners to stage six main house and around three to four studio theatre productions per year. It will also have a 500m2, 4m high gallery space; five cinema screens; digital production and broadcast facilities; a cafe bar and restaurants.
The new purpose-built centre, designed by Dutch architects Mecanoo and built by Wates Construction, will provide a cultural hub and social space for Manchester, as well as being a 'making place', producing new and innovative work, with an emphasis on exploration and experimentation. HOME will be the cultural heart of First Street North, a landmark development that marks the latest stage in the hugely successful regeneration of Manchester city centre.
Director: Louise Lowe
Visual Artist, Installation, Production Design: Owen Boss Assistant Director: Will Irvine
Producer: Lynnette Moran
Assistant Producer: Matthew Smyth
Assistant Production Designer: Caoimhe Regan Production Co-Ordinator: Bairbre Ni hAodha
Costume Design: Niamh Lunny
Sound Design: Carl Kennedy
Choreography: Emma O'Kane
Lighting Designer Ciaran Bagnall
Producer for HOME: David Fry
FURTHER PERFORMANCE INFORMATION:
Angel Meadow runs from today 10 - Sunday 29 June 2014
Audiences meet at Cutting Room Square, Ancoats M4 6AN, 10 minutes before performance start time.
Running time 60 mins.
Full performance time information and more information available at www.HOMEmcr.org/Angel-Meadow
TICKETS: Preview (Thu 10 June) £10; Standard tickets £20, £22 (Concessions available), Students £10 Ticket prices may vary for performances according to demand.
MEET THE DIRECTOR
Mon 23 June, 20:00, Number One First Street, FREE, Booking required.