Anyone who has passed by Waterloo’s Millennium Green in the last week, could not help but be perplexed by a huge structure being created in the park and wonder what hell is being built there.
Teaming up with Bankside Open Spaces Trust (BOST), the Old Vic is staging a three-storey theatre production featuring 200 Londoners with actors, a choir, a band, dancers and a team of backstage hands to put on a show written especially for the purpose-built venue.
RISE by Deirdre Kinahan, and directed by Alexander Ferris will be running from next Wednesday August 10 until Sunday August 21 and is free. Although tickets are already sold out, the play, written after many months of workshops with people across London, explores – in the words of the Old Vic – “the impact of living in a city where the temperature is rising”.
As the theme of the show is the environment, the famous Waterloo theatre has pulled out all the stops by building as much of the structure as possible from reused and recycled materials. It has enlisted architecture and design studio Collective Works, which recently crowdfunded for a pavilion for an Islington nursery, and was behind a new townhouse built just yards down the road from the latest project at the Elephant and Castle.
The park is still open and will be during the show, with locals and passersby being able to take part, using a series of booths being installed with telephone calls created from the cast of the show. This interactive project around the pop-up theatre is from Flying Objects, whose recent projects include Tate Sensorum, IK Prize winning multi-sensory experience for Tate Britain, the A-Z of YouTube, an animated celebration to mark the site’s 10th birthday, and Mix the City, a web based interactive music site for the British Council.
Paul Ely, Director, BOST, said: “We are delighted to offer this fantastic opportunity to local people, to take part in the production and access free theatre on their doorstep in their local park. We are also thrilled that we can offer the highest possible standard of theatre by working with the world renowned Old Vic Company. At BOST we are keen to offer our parks and gardens not only as beautiful natural green spaces, but as creative, participatory and cultural venues presenting people with new and innovative experiences.”
The ten performances are from The Old Vic Community Company that was formed in 2013. The cast are made up from previous members of the company that have put on other plays plus more emerging talent, picked from over one thousand people who auditioned earlier in the year.
The Old Vic have been able to stage such a huge show free of charge through funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies and trusts and foundations.
While tickets are officially sold out, there is a lottery for tickets and people are encouraged to sign up via www.oldvictheatre.com/oldvicnewvoices