imitating the dog Presents Ernest Hemingway's A FAREWELL TO ARMS

imitating the dog Presents Ernest Hemingway's A FAREWELL TO ARMS

"God knows I didn't mean to fall in love with her." - A Farewell to Arms

imitating the dog, one of the UK's most original and innovative performance theatre companies are set to bring their unique theatrical vision to the stage this autumn when they produce the first UK stage adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's seminal First World War novel A Farewell to Arms.

To coincide with the centenary anniversary of the start of the First World War, A Farewell to Arms is coproduced with The Dukes, Lancaster and supported with complementary regional producing organisations, Live at LICA and Cast, Doncaster. The production premieres at the Dukes from the 10-25 Oct prior to a UK and Italian Tour.

Based on the author's real-life experience in 1918 in Italy, A Farewell to Arms tells the story of Frederic Henry, an American ambulance driver for the Italian army and his relationship with British nurse Catherine Barkley. Against the backdrop of the war the two protagonists discover the redemptive power of love and experience the loss of innocence as they attempt to cement their relationship in a time of devastating conflict. In this first UK stage adaptation of one of the classic novels of the twentieth century, imitating the dog will fuse video projection, beautiful stage design and original music to create an extraordinary adaptation of Hemingway's powerful tale of love and the brutality of modern warfare.

Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms was published in 1929 and a year later was adapted on Broadway by Laurence Stallings. It was then subsequently made into a Oscar nominated film by Paramount Pictures in 1932 featuring Gary Cooper and then remade in 1957 with Rock Hudson and Jennifer Jones in its cast. The 1932 version of the film has just been re-released by the BFI.

Playing the central roles of Frederic Henry and Catherine Barkley, in an ensemble of six actors, will be Jude Monk McGowan and Laura Atherton. Jude Monk McGowan has just finished playing Conrad in the acclaimed Punchdrunk/National Theatre production of The Drowned Man: A Hollywood Fable. His other credits include Joe Wright's screen adaptation of Anna Karenina, Little Britain and Faith, Hope and Charity at Southwark Playhouse. Laura Atherton's theatre credits include the recent imitating the dog productions The Zero Hour and Six Degrees below the Horizon.

Since 1998, imitating the dog has devised performances that experiment with the role of story-telling and narrative in a contemporary theatrical context that are performed both in the UK and Internationally. Through the innovative combination of digital media, design and physical performance, the company creates off-kilter worlds within which public and private obsessions - identity, death, love and sexuality - are explored. Made in close collaboration with associate artists, including the highly respected designer Laura Hopkins, their highly visual and technological productions present a unique and memorable experience for the spectator. The company's recent acclaimed productions have included The Zero Hour, Six Degrees below the Horizon and Hotel Methuselah, as well as co-productions with Oldham Coliseum on The Hound of the Baskervilles and earlier this year The Life and Times of Mitchell & Kenyon at the Dukes, Lancaster.

A Farewell to Arms is adapted by imitating the dog and co- directed by imitating the dog founder members Pete Brooks and Andrew Quick (Kellerman, The Zero Hour, imitating the dog and Soul Sister, Savoy Theatre). The production's projection and video design is designed by fellow original founder member Simon Wainwright (The Life and Times of Mitchell & Kenyon, Dukes Theatre).

The production's creative team will include regular collaborators, Stage Designer Laura Hopkins (Black Watch and Peter Pan, National Theatre of Scotland), Lighting Designer Andrew Crofts (Trash Cuisine, Belarus Free Theatre and The Young Vic) and Composer Jeremy Peyton-Jones who worked with the company on last year's acclaimed production of The Zero Hour.

Director Andrew Quick said about staging A Farwell to Arms: "imitating the dog are very excited to have obtained the rights to Hemingway's wonderful novel, A Farewell to Arms, and to be the first to produce the first stage adaptation of the much-loved classic in the UK. The company fell in love with the novel many years ago and knew that the creative possibilities of creating something very special with our unique theatrical style could be endless. Primarily a love story between American ambulance driver Frederic Henry and Scottish nurse Catherine Barkley, the novel explores the complexity and tragedy of young love during a period of catastrophic conflict. Hemingway's storytelling is so evocative of the way love consumes and elevates us and his taut writing style lends itself to our visual approach to theatre making. Its clipped dialogue, uncluttered prose and its focus on the power of love as a redemptive force in a time of war have established the novel's reputation as a modern classic."

"imitating the dog will approach Hemingway's narrative through the company's unique visual style using projection techniques to create a magical and highly accessible version of the novel for all audiences. We are working with the acclaimed designer Laura Hopkins on her set and costume designs and I am sure that audiences in the UK and Italy are going to really enjoy and be highly moved by this original adaption of Hemingway's classic and much- loved novel."

The production will be supported by an extensive residency and workshop programme which will run through from the rehearsal period to the end of the production's tour. In July the company will be in residency at Cast, Doncaster to deliver a number of workshops, including 'Stories of War', working with people over 50 to examine and collect individual memories and stories of the First World War. The company will also be in residency in Manchester in a first time co-presentation by the Lowry & Contact. Over three days the company will collaborate with locally based early career artists to build a digital Monument, exploring the narratives of war, everyday conflict and love at a time when we are looking back 100 years to the First World War. Workshops will be available at all venues on the tour and a series of free downloadable learning resources will accompany the production. The company will also be providing captioned performances to improve access to the company's work as well as strengthening the offer to and relationships with venues.

The production is supported with Grant to the Arts funding from the Arts Council of England.

For more information visit (Twitter: @imitatingthedog)

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