National Youth Theatre of Great Britain Closes LIVING THE DREAM 7/30


Paul Roseby, Artistic Director of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, presents the company's 2010 season, entitled ‘The Five Elements', which will include a re-working of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Shanghai Expo, a 600-strong cast of young actors swarming around London, a new play about the superstar Victorian chef Alexis Soyer, and a new work from Rebecca Lenkiewicz about a female pop star in Afghanistan.

The Five Elements is an innovative and ambitious programme of work involving various large-scale, site-specific projects taking place across the UK and Shanghai. With Earth, Air, Fire, Space and Water as the main inspiration, the National Youth Theatre (NYT) will be showcasing Britain's young talent on an elemental scale in four major projects: Living The Dream, S'Warm, Relish and Stars over Kabul.

NYT will act as global ambassadors for British culture when they present Living the Dream in the UK Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo from July 19 to July 30. An audacious site specific production inspired by William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, Living The Dream will be performed by talented young actors and musicians in the shade of the UK's contribution to the Expo, Thomas Heatherwick's "Seed Cathedral" - a six-storey cube-like structure, pierced by some 60,000 transparent acrylic rods which quiver in the breeze. It will also link up with scenes played out thousands of miles away, apparently simultaneously, around iconic sites in London.  A series of everyday items found in gardens and green spaces in the UK will become the tools of play for this highly visual, bilingual and musical interpretation of one of Shakespeare's best known comedies.  Palm-top projectors, laptops and mobile phones will be incorporated into the production, linking the two sides of the play being acted out in Shanghai and in London.  Living The Dream will be performed by a cast of NYT members from across the UK including members of IdeasTap, the National Youth Theatre's online interactive partner, and will be supported by an experienced creative and production team.  While NYT are in Shanghai, they will also be working with Chinese actors and artists from Shanghai Dramatic Arts Centre as part of an ongoing collaborative project. 

Joel Scott is a founding member of Punchdrunk and Goat and Monkey Theatre Companies. He specializes in site-sympathetic work, and his previous credits include The Ghost Sonata (Trinity Buoy Wharf), Reverence (Southwark Playhouse), The Juniper Tree (touring) and A Little Neck (Hampton Court Palace). He is currently developing a new project with the 'Ahead of the Game' Cultural Olympiad Programme.

This summer, S'Warm, directed by Peter Collins, will bring a sense of spectacle to the streets of London from August 18 to August 22, all in the name of the humble honeybee.  In recognition of the global environmental crisis posed by the decline of The Common bee, NYT will combine Complicité collaborator Victoria Gould (Shun-Kin, A Disappearing Number) with 600 NYT members, to swarm London, re-uniting at some of the city's most famous landmarks to perform en masse.  Albert Einstein once said: "If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live." In 2008 nearly 20 per cent of the UK's honeybee colonies died; in 2009, a third of the US bee population failed to survive the winter and in Taiwan, 10 million honeybees were reported to have disappeared in just two weeks.  After a 3-week boot-camp rehearsal period in Battersea Park, the 600 strong swarm will journey around the city for five days, moving as bees do in figures of eight. A giant egg timer will be turned outside the iconic Battersea Power Station before a hive of 600 NYT members marches through South London before dispersing around the capital.

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