Birmingham Hippodrome is thrilled to present a brand new season of world-class performance in its 200-seat Patrick Studio this Spring. Offering an alternative to large-scale productions on the Main Stage, the Patrick Centre studio programme continues to expand, bringing audiences closer to world-renowned performers from across the globe through its distinctive programme of immersive drama and dance.
Opening this season’s programme, multi award-winning Theatre Ad Infinitum return to Birmingham with their hit show, Translunar Paradise on Wed 31 Jan; an exquisite story of loss, grief and enduring love told through mask and movement set to live accordion accompaniment.
Original performers George Mann and Deborah Pugh are joined by Sophie Crawford to retell, with precise gesture and touches of humour, the story of widower William who escapes to a comforting world of fantasy and memories rather than confront his grief. From beyond the grave, his wife Rose returns to help him let go.
This poignant, life-affirming tale uses intricate and lifelike hand-held masks – created by Madame Tussaud’s senior sculptor Victoria Beaton – to travel back and forth through William and Rose’s relationship, wordlessly conveying a lifetime of memories in 75 minutes.
George Mann said, “I’ll never forget the first performances of this piece and the response of audiences. Translunar came from such a personal impulse – my father was dying of lung cancer and I felt that I was living in a country and a culture that didn’t offer me a way to deal with my grief – the grief I felt knowing he would die; the grief I felt when he died. From this feeling I set about making this show of love, loss and letting go. Sadly my father passed before we completed and premiered the production. But the response was heart-warming – the show created what I can only describe as a communal space of grief – a place in which people could share in their feelings of loss and profound love. It was extraordinary. As were the stories audience members shared with us after every show. It was a humbling and unforgettable experience and I look forward to sharing this show once more.”
The show premiered at the 2011 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and experienced an overwhelming response from audiences and professionals alike receiving three awards and three award nominations, selling out its run at The Pleasance Dome, and picking up four & five star reviews across the board. Following this success the show went on to win a total of nine awards internationally and has since toured extensively in the UK and internationally. The piece returned to the Edinburgh Festival in 2012 and sold out for a second consecutive year.
Theatre Ad Infinitum is an international ensemble of theatre-makers based in Bristol, UK, that develops new and original theatre for diverse audiences. Led by Co-Artistic Directors, Nir Paldi and George Mann, the group has been creating and touring critically acclaimed, award-winning productions for 10 years. Theatre Ad Infinitum’s mission is to create theatre that examines social and political themes through innovative storytelling and bold experimental styles, making something completely different each time. The company has recently become and Associate Artist at Bristol Old Vic and is an Associate Artist Alumni at Bush Theatre (2011-2013) The Lowry (2011-2017) and Redbridge Drama Centre (2009-2017). They will be premiering a new show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2018.
This will be followed by the eagerly anticipated European premiere of Aakash Odedra’s #JeSuis – a powerfully physical work portraying the frustrations of life in a homeland that doesn’t know the meaning of ‘home’ anymore.
Birmingham-born Aakash Odedra – a supremely talented dancer and a choreographer – has been working with seven dancers from Turkey over the past two years. He first met them when he taught a workshop at Mimar Sinan University, Istanbul and their collective responses to the misinterpretations of their country inspired him in his creation of #JeSuis.
Wrapped up in issues of displacement, refuge and instability, #JeSuis is about lives in conflict and how the media dictates the stories we see. It settles its lens on a group of dancers whose place in the world is presented as that of unwanted neighbours from a place where human catastrophes are a daily given.
Preview performances of #JeSuis at Edinburgh Festival Fringe won the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award 2017. Naomi McAuliffe, Amnesty International’s Scotland Programme Director, said:
“#JeSuis is a powerful wake-up call to everyone on the climate of violence and oppression that people in Turkey are currently enduring. To see attacks on freedom of expression portrayed through the medium of dance was incredibly powerful and accessible… A production addressing freedom of expression in Turkey is particularly resonant for us as an organisation as our colleagues from Amnesty International Turkey are currently languishing in jail.”
#JeSuis was commissioned as part of The Movement – a collaborative producing partnership between The Lowry, Birmingham Hippodrome and Sadler’s Wells, supported by funding from Arts Council England’s Ambition for Excellence fund, to develop and deliver an ambitious programme of high-quality large-scale dance. An extract from Aakash Odedra’s #JeSuis was previewed as part of Dance Sampled at Birmingham Hippodrome in March 2017.
Tickets for both productions are on sale now. For further information and to book, call 0844 338 5000 or visit www.birminghamhippodrome.com