Fuel director Kate McGrath has announced the 2019 programme in the run up to the company’s 15th Anniversary.
The programme is to include the premieres of two new works by Inua Ellams. A co-production with Kiln and Birmingham Repertory Theatre, ‘The Half God of Rainfall‘.
‘Modupe, cursed with extraordinary beauty, draws the unwanted attention of the Greek and Yoruba gods. Her son Demi, half Nigerian-mortal, half Olympian child, is bestowed with powers; one of them manifests in the game of basketball. When he unknowingly sparks Zeus’ wrath, Modupe tries to protect him from the capricious whims of the gods’.
‘The Half-God of Rainfall’ is a contemporary saga that weaves poetry with storytelling in a majestic, chaotic journey across mythologies that transports us from a tiny village in Southern Nigeria to the further reaches of our galaxy and beyond.
“For thousands of years, Gods enjoyed full dominion over the lives of men. As prayers dwindled, Gods felt their power cut”.
The production will be directed by Nancy Medina (Yellowman, Young Vic), and will feature design by Max Johns, movement direction by Imogen Knight, sound design by Tanuja Amarasuriya, lighting by Jackie Shemesh and casting by Briony Barnett. Casting is to include Rakie Ayola and Kwami Odoom, in the roles of Modupe, mother to her half-god son, and Demi, respectively.
In the autumn, Ellams returns to the National Theatre with her new adaptation of Chekhov’s ‘The Three Sisters‘. Directed by Theatre Royal Stratford East Artistic Director Nadia Fall, ‘Three Sisters‘ transports the play to 1960s Nigeria, before, during and after the Biafran Civil War. The play was originally commissioned by Metta Theatre.
Following two sell-out seasons at the National Theatre and a hugely successful Australia, New Zealand, US and Canada tours, Inua Ellams’ acclaimed hit ‘The Barbershop Chronicles‘ will tour the UK, beginning in Manchester on March 7th at the Royal Exchange. Co-produced by Fuel, the National Theatre and Leeds Playhouse, the play looks at the melting pot world of the male barber shop.
The first ever and critically acclaimed stage adaptation of Joe Simpson’s huge international best-seller, ‘Touching The Void‘, adapted by David Greig and Tom Morris, is to tour Scotland (Edinburgh, Perth and Inverness) and Hong Kong. It tells the terrifying story of Joe and Simon Yates’ successful but disastrous and nearly fatal climb of Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes in 1985. It was made into an award-winning film in 2003 and here is adapted for the stage for the first time. ‘Touching the Void’ is a co-production between Fuel, Bristol Old Vic, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh and Royal & Derngate Northampton.
On Monday 10th December, in a far-reaching and unique collaboration between arts organisations and human rights charities, Fuel announced a major new collaboration entitled ‘Fly The Flag‘, to mark the 70th birthday of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
A new flag for human rights has been designed by Ai Weiwei, commissioned in response to the real and present dangers of a world changing at break-neck speed, to offer hope and to educate generations to come about the absolute importance of universal human rights. This grassroots moment of creative awareness and activism will be led – jointly and uniquely – by arts organisations and human rights charities.
The flag will be available to schools and care homes, town halls and office blocks, hospitals and libraries across the UK, with everyone invited to Fly The Flag for Human Rights six months from now between 24th – 30th June in events across the country, more information on which will be released in due course. Wherever flown, both physically and digitally, by groups or individuals, big or small, the flag will mark the value of human rights in everyone’s daily lives. Fly The Flag is co-produced by Fuel (Lead Producer), Amnesty International, Donmar Warehouse, Human Rights Watch, Liberty, National Theatre, Sadler’s Wells and Tate Art Galleries.
Directed by Roy Alexander Weise (Nine Night), poet Nick Makoha’s new auto-biographical play, ‘The Dark‘, will embark on a spring UK tour, beginning at Tara Arts on 8th January, following its hugely popular run at Ovalhouse. It tells the harrowing and uplifting auto-biographical story of how he and his mother escaped from Idi Amin’s Uganda in 1978. Two performers play multiple characters in this exploration of memory.
Written and performed by sound designer Lewis Gibson, ‘The Day I Fell Into A Book‘ is an immersive storytelling adventure for families and school groups that explores the magic of reading and the vitality of young imaginations. Using bin-aural sound recordings, intricate lighting technology and projection, the audience is taken into a lost world of classic tales. The production will tour the UK throughout 2019 opening at the Southbank Centre on February 19th.
‘The Kids Are Alright‘ is an Encounter Productions creation, co-commissioned by Fuel and The Place. Directed and choreographed by Jennifer Malarkey and written by Lee Mattinson it brings together new writing, dance and sound installation in two performances on one stage. An adult narrative wading through parental grief and an immersive audio experience for primary aged children full of hope for the future.
This month also sees the launch of Fuel’s partnership with Coombe Farm Studios, Devon on a programme of residencies for producers and artists. Residencies will focus on supporting artists exploring stories about place, migration, climate change and human rights. In 2019, resident artists will include Will Adamsdale, Heather Adjyepong and Slung Low. Fuel also confirmed Producer Farm, their ground-breaking residency for producer development, a collaboration with Bristol Ferment, Dance Umbrella and In Between Time, will return in 2019, with an open call for applications to come in January.
Regarding the programme, Director McGrath said: “Understanding the world we live in seems more complex than ever. Imagining a positive future requires new levels of optimism. Coming together in a theatre is a way to do these things, and have a good night out. Brilliant artists create a space for a temporary community to come together and seek to understand and to imagine. Fuel’s job is to identify those living artists and bring their urgent and brave work to life for people to experience. As we approach our 15th birthday, we reflect on what has changed in the world since 2004, where we find ourselves today, and what 2034 might hold for us all. Our 2019 season celebrates our common humanity: how we all connect to the earth and to each other”.