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THE MOTHER Comes to Southbank Centre


THE MOTHER Comes to Southbank Centre

The Mother is a powerful, narrative dance production choreographed and directed by master storyteller Arthur Pita which has its London premiere at the Southbank Centre Queen Elizabeth Hall in June. Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's dark tale, The Story of a Mother, this sumptuously designed production stars international dance superstar Natalia Osipova and award-winning contemporary dancer Jonathan Goddard.

This highly inventive production conjures up an extremely dark and dangerous world which combines narrative dance, kinetic drama and the superb Osipova as a distraught mother who will do anything to save her sick child and Goddard, whose shape-shifting Death is simultaneously threatening and magnetic. The Mother made its UK stage debut at Edinburgh's EICC in 2018 and will perform in Moscow in May before landing at the QEH in June.

A mother spends a sleepless night by her sick baby's cradle - she called for a doctor hours ago, but no one's turned up yet. She's exhausted, falls asleep and starts to dream. Suddenly the doorbell rings and standing there is a man in a white coat, but there is something very odd about him. Gradually the mother discovers that Death, disguised as the doctor, has taken her baby away. Distraught, she dashes out of the house and chases after him stumbling into a dark, nightmarish world. On her way she meets numerous fantastic creatures; they all know how to reach Death but each one demands payment for their help. The Faceless Old Lady demands that the woman dances herself almost to death; the Gardner makes her bleed; the Ferryman takes her eyes; the Grey Witch her hair. The last test is the hardest: she meets the father of her child...the lover who deserted her...

Director and choreographer, Arthur Pita comments: "For me, Natalia is at her best when she is fully immersed in her character. She's a very instinctive performer, she doesn't hold back and she allows herself to be fully possessed by the character she is portraying. There is something very powerful about motherhood, and the extremes a mother will go to which resonate in all of us - themes which are personal as well as universal."

Producer Alexandrina Markvo comments: "Natalia Osipova is one of the greatest ballet stars of our time; it is a privilege for me to work with her. She always strives to expand her horizons, exploring her talent across different dimensions. Contemporary dance is one of them. I love narrative dance dramas, which Arthur Pita is famous for, and I was happy to give the two big artists an opportunity to work together again."

The production features an original musical score by Frank Moon and Dave Price performed live and production design by Yann Seabra, and lighting design by David Plater.

The Mother is presented by London-based company Bird&Carrot Productions, founded by Alexandrina Markvo who creates and presents high profile contemporary cultural events in Moscow and London. Productions include Vivienne Westwood's show at Moscow's iconic Kazansky railway station, an exhibition of Madonna and Steven Klein, Sir Norman Foster's retrospective exhibition at the Pushkin Museum, and a retrospective of film director Andrei Tarkovsky at the Curzon Studios. In 2015 Alexandrina produced Brodsky/Baryshnikov, a one-man show based on the poems of Joseph Brodsky performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov in the West End.

Arthur Pita studied ballet and modern dance in Johannesburg and London. In 2003 he moved from performing to choreography and has since worked nationally and internationally in opera, musical theatre, drama and film. He has created work for dance companies including Phoenix Dance Theatre, CandoCo, and Ballet Black and his own company, Open Heart Productions. His surreal imagination has attracted wide critical and public acclaim; his disquieting narrative works tell dark and strange stories through a vivid visceral language of movement. Metamorphosis was created in 2011 for the Royal Ballet Principal dancer Edward Watson and earned Pita a Critics' Circle National Dance Award, a Southbank SkyArts Award and the Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance for Watson. Arthur has also made work for San Francisco Ballet, the Royal Ballet, Paris Opera Ballet, Irek Mukhamedov and many more.

Natalia Osipova is a Principal of the Royal Ballet and former Principal of the Bolshoi and American Ballet Theatre. Her lead roles include Giselle, Sugar Plum Fairy/The Nutcracker, Princess Aurora/Sleeping Beauty, Juliet/Romeo & Juliet, Manon and many more. Osipova trained at the Moscow State Academy of Choreography and on graduating entered the corps of the Bolshoi Ballet, where she was promoted to principal in 2010. Her repertory there included Kitri (Don Quixote), Giselle, Nikiya and Gamzatti (La Bayadère), Princess Aurora and Swanilda (Coppélia). In 2011 she left the Bolshoi to join the Mikhailovsky Ballet as a principal and in 2013 joined the Royal Ballet as Principal. Osipova has worked with the world's best contemporary choreographers including Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Russell Maliphant and of course, Arthur Pita.

Jonathan Goddard trained at Rambert School and has danced with Scottish Dance Theatre, Richard Alston Dance Company, Rambert, and Mark Bruce Company winning numerous awards including three Critics' Circle National Dance Awards. Jonathan has worked with the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Donmar Warehouse and Roundabout Theatre Broadway and was dance associate for the West End production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which ran from 2013 to 2017. Jonathan founded the education project Dancespinner, a resource which is now being used by over 200 UK schools to explore and create choreography. He is also a founder member of New Movement Collective.

Frank Moon (composer) is a graduate of Birmingham Conservatoire and has composed scores for numerous productions. A skilled guitar and oud (Arabic lute) player, Frank has been collaborating with Arthur Pita since 2010. Works include The Wind (Royal Ballet), Salome (San Francisco Ballet), The Metamorphosis (Royal Opera House), God's Garden (revival tour) and more. Scores for theatre include Philip Pulman's I Was a Rat and The BFG (both Birmingham Rep) and Barney Norris' award-winning play Visitors (Up in Arms, UK tour).

Dave Price (composer) has worked as a composer and multi-instrumentalist since studying violin and piano at Durham University and the Chopin Academy in Warsaw, Poland. Dave has worked with the award-winning physical theatre company, Gecko, for many years and has performed and recorded with Gwyneth Herbert whose album The Sea Cabinet he produced. His original theatre scores include From Morning to Midnight (National Theatre), Cymbeline and many RSC productions, and the stage adaptation of Alice Sebold's novel The Lovely Bones. Scores with sound design include Troilus & Cressida which he co-composed with Dame Evelyn Glennie.

Yann Seabra (designer) trained as a dancer at the Artes Center of Amazonas in Manaus, Brazil and spent 15 years performing with companies in Brazil and Phoenix Dance Theatre in the UK. Re-training as a theatre designer has led to top level work with the Royal Ballet, San Francisco Ballet, Ballet Black, Protein Dance Company and more. He has collaborated with Arthur Pita on Little Match Girl, Stepmother/Stepfather, and Cristeux and his film credits include The Confessions which was nominated for an Academy Award.

Anna Rulevskaya (dramaturgy) is a screenwriter, novelist and journalist. Her first original screenplay, Love Signs (2005) was made into a film by the distinguished Russian theatre and film director Vladimir Mirzoev; her first novel, Love Machine, was published the following year. Since 2013 Anna has created original screenplays for Russian and Ukrainian TV films including Stealing Life, Enchanted Lake and The Tit, all of which were shown in 2018.

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