David Glass Returns to the UK Stage With BLEAK HOUSE on Tour
Returning to the UK stage 12 years after the award-winning success of Gormenghast, the reformed David Glass Ensemble present their breath-taking physical adaptation of Bleak House by international master theatre maker David Glass.
Since 1990, the David Glass Ensemble has created inspiring and extraordinary theatre for the world stage. Having worked in over 70 countries worldwide, David and his Ensemble now bring current and revived work to a new generation.
Bleak House is a powerfully physical, gothic retelling of Dickens' novel that follows Esther Summerson's search for her family and identity set against a brutal legal system hell bent on destroying those subjected to it. Pickpockets, prostitutes, rowdy drunks and con artists all feature, immersing us into a dank Victorian Britain that recreates the dark and dismal world of the lower orders of London. Themes of love, power, poverty and choice resonate strongly during today's ongoing social upheaval.
David Glass comments, I saw Mike Alfred's brilliant Shared Experience version after I had read the book when I was 20. For me, it is the most visually and physically exciting of Dickens' books but also I feel that with the main protagonist being a woman it is a truly modern story of a young woman trying to find her identity as she struggles in a male-dominated world and a legal system hell bent on destroying those beneath it. It is a thrilling story by an author at the height of his power and I have loved bringing it to the stage.
During his 12-year absence from the UK stage, David has been teaching theatre and creativity both in the UK and internationally, as well as working in partnership with global organisations such as the United Nations, the International Labour Organisation and Save the Children. Looking ahead, the David Glass Ensemble have six co-productions in development internationally as well as two major social theatre projects exploring the taboo subjects of youth suicide (The Lost Child Project, River of Ophelia) as well as the AB Project about youth radicalisation and terrorism based on the tragic killing of 69 young people on the Island of Utoya Norway in 2011 and This Changes Everything inspired by the life and work of Naomi Klein around the subject of our Climate Emergency. David continues to pioneer, challenge and make entertaining, powerful theatre.
Working across different cultures throughout his career, David Glass has revealed different ways of expressing stories encompassing fundamental themes of love, death and greed, all told in vivid and powerful ways. His process is rigorous, physical and demanding and the works often take around 2 years to come to fruition on the stage, growing through several iterations to include responses from audiences, enriching and developing a creative and dynamic relationship with the communities the Ensemble works with. Learning, creativity and celebration are placed at the heart of everything the Ensemble do, across the sixteen countries they work in.
The sheer squalor of Victorian London, seething under the hypocrisy of a labyrinthine legal system and corruption on a grand scale, is evoked with often visceral power (The Fine Times Recorder on Bleak House).
David Glass remains one of the key figures of British theatre, He continues to inspire me and many others around the world. (John McGrath, Artistic Director, Manchester International Festival)
A Theatre Royal Winchester & New Theatre Royal Portsmouth co-commission by the David Glass Ensemble with support from Konzept Arts & Ideas, Bath Spa University & Santander Universities.
12th - 13th September
Theatre Royal Winchester
Jewry Street, Winchester SO23 8SB
26th - 28th September
New Theatre Royal Portsmouth
20-24 Guildhall Walk, Portsmouth PO1 2DD
7th - 8th October
Bath Spa University Theatre
Newton Saint Loe, Bath BA2 9BN
10th - 11th October
Lakeside Theatre Colchester
Colchester CO4 3SQ
15th - 16th October
Stocker Road, Exeter EX4 4QB
18th - 19th October
New Wolsey Ipswich
Civic Drive, Ipswich IP1 2AS