Thursday is a powerful new theatrical co-production between Adelaide's Brink Productions, makers of the acclaimed When The Rain Stops Falling, and one of the UK's leading production companies English Touring Theatre.
Written by UK playwright Bryony Lavery (Stockholm, Kursk, Beautiful Burnout, Frozen) and directed by Chris Drummond Thursday will have its world premiere at the 2013 Adelaide Festival in the Norwood Concert Hall, Norwood, South Australia.
Taking reference from the remarkable story of Adelaide woman Gill Hicks, who lost her legs in the London 2005 bombings, Thursday explores the fundamental question of what it means to be human and was inspired both by Gill's experience and her later desire to meet the daisy chain of strangers who had saved her life.
Set in an allegorical city with a cast of nine and using the events of the London bombings as a background, Thursday, through its ambitious form and content, explores the contradiction between how people can be at once so needlessly violent, yet also capable of incredible bravery and compassion, even toward complete strangers.
'Thursday tells a number of extraordinary stories all spiralling around the one central narrative, creating a vast emotional human landscape that combines to evoke the inner life of a single person,' said Chris Drummond. 'Through the theatricality of layering story, image, music and performance, the audience are drawn more deeply into what it feels like to be that person, and in a much richer way. Thursday is really sad, it's really beautiful and often, unexpectedly, it's joyfully funny. It speaks to ideas of destruction and compassion, of identity and fragmentation and the sense of a group of human beings trying together to hold onto the fragility and dignity of life.'
Thursday has been in development since 2009 under a number of Working Titles. It has been on an exciting journey of creative development that included workshops in London with Australian and UK artists.
Bryony Lavery said, 'Writing a good play is really, really, really fiendishly difficult. But, if I had the choice, I would always make a play in the Brink way. The first exploratory workshops in London in 2010 formed the DNA of Thursday and were immensely helpful to me and the writing process through the added intuition, expertise, instinct and skills of the other craftspeople who arrived on the project, much earlier on in the writing process. Crucially we met Gill Hicks on the first day of the workshop. Crucially, because her real experience and factual account had, somehow, to be honourably transformed into friable fiction for Thursday. This is a play, not a documentary. It is a theatrical response to an enormous human event. What we have made feels new, surprising and beautiful.'
The ensemble of nine actors includes Paul Blackwell, Kate Mulvany, Nathan O'Keefe and Deidre Rubenstein from Australia, and Emma Handy, Martin Hutson, Lena Kaur, Tom Mothersdale and Rochenda Sandall from the UK. Other key collaborators include designer Dan Potra (Sydney 2000 Olympics), composer Quentin Grant (When The Rain Stops Falling), UK lighting designer Colin Grenfell (The Caretaker/2012 Adelaide Festival) and the producers, Kay Jamieson (Aus) and Jane Claire (UK).
Brink Productions explores the space between devised and authored theatre. Through its dedicated approach to the ensemble-based commissioning and development of new writing in Australia, Brink creates bold new theatre that marries the strengths of great writing and group creation. Led by Artistic Director Chris Drummond and Executive Producer Kay Jamieson, Brink creates theatre that is ambitious in form and content; theatre that challenges, delights and enriches the soul. Brink's multi-award winning production When the Rain Stops Falling played to nearly 60,000 people in six Australian states and territories over three years.
As one of England's foremost theatre companies, English Touring Theatre creates theatre of outstanding quality, imagination and ambition that is both emotionally and intellectually engaging. Under the artistic leadership of Rachel Tackley the company works with the country's leading directors and practitioners to produce artistically ambitious theatre that is vigorous, popular and challenging, as well as confident and forward-looking. Awarded the prestigious Producer of the Year by The Stage Newspaper in 2011, the company produces work primarily for larger theatres, driven by the knowledge that experiencing plays as a member of a large audience is a powerful cultural experience.