As the LIFT festival returns this year Gatz, the performance of The Great Gatsby in the West End, is being hailed as the theatre event of the decade – but here in the East, 66 Minutes in Damascus, at Shoreditch Town Hall from 19-24 June, is sure to be a highlight of the festival.
The audience are placed as tourists visiting Damascus, who are then arrested by the Syrian secret service. Director, Lucien Bourjeily, explains how this immersive style of theatre works: “The audience are in the same shoes as the protagonist, and interact with the oppressors and the oppressed.”
He said: ‘”there are many elements of audience participation, so each performance varies. But structure comes from the background of the characters, the actors become their characters and could answer a million questions on the background of their character.”
After speaking to escaped prisoners in Syria, Bourjeily found that Shoreditch Town Hall, was the venue in London, that most strongly matches their descriptions of the prisons. His thorough research means this production promises an authentic representation of the on-going political conflict in Syria.
(Timed entry, every half hour, Thurs and Fri 17:30 – 21:30, Sat 14.00 – 21:30, Sun 14:00 – 21:00 tickets sold via RichMix)
The Hackney Empire, will see the production of the Rimini Protokoll, 100% London from 29 June – 1st July. A play which creates: ‘A living, breathing portrait of the city’.
This production uses a non-professional cast that was selected when one cast member was told to recruit another cast member within 24 hours. The process was continued until 100 people were chosen to give a cross section of the 7.8 million people living in London. This huge cast aims to embody: “The truth about modern London life in a way graphs and pie charts never can.”
A Croydon car park will be home to Unfinished Dream from 21 June – 1 July, which reveals the hidden stories of refugees and local residents living in Croydon. The performance includes a ten minute blindfold walk from Fairfield Hall.
Meet at Fairfield Halls (Park Lane, Croydon, CR9 1DG) to promenade to the car park £5.50 – £11.50
Hamid Pourazari, one of Iran’s most exciting independent theatre makers, has worked with the Perpanata Theatre Company to create this bold new work about ‘one of London’s most contrasting boroughs, where wealthy commuters nestle alongside refugee communities’.
By Oliver Shaw