Norwich Theatre is delighted to announce the launch of Norwich Theatre Beyond the theatre’s brand new fifth stage. Beyond will see Norwich Theatre take shows that it has either supported, produced or enabled out of its venues in Norwich into the wider region.
Norwich Theatre Beyond will sit alongside its other stages; Royal, Playhouse, Stage Two and Digital.
CEO and Creative Director, Stephen Crocker said:
“Creativity has no boundaries and neither does Norwich Theatre. ‘Beyond’ recognises the importance of accessing art in the places people live and reaching those who may not be able to access theatre by traditional means.
“With Norwich Theatre Beyond, expect to see fantastic and enthralling productions in unusual places and community-owned spaces. This new stage will be a hub for local theatre supporting local artists and telling stories of the community that surrounds us.”
Launching Norwich Theatre Beyond is Rebel Rabble, produced by Norwich-based theatre company, Limbik. Rebel Rabble is a large-scale, immersive event on Mousehold Heath (dates from 16 Sep to 2 Oct). The production is inspired by the local history of Kett’s Rebellion.
The show invites a collective audience of 30 people to a site-specific audio trail and promenade performance on Mousehold Heath. Each member of the audience is given a pair of noise cancelling headphones, through which they all simultaneously hear the audio journey. As a group, they are guided through the landscape, listening to a fictional retelling of Kett’s Rebellion. Along the way, they encounter actors playing the characters of Bernard, Sylvia and Hazel, as well as extraordinary visual performance brought to life by a community cast embodying the Rebels of 1549.
Limbik’s Artistic Director Ben Samuels said:
“Rebel Rabble is an incredible combination of the organic and the digital. The epic scale of the woods on Mousehold Heath contains both the quasi-mythic history of Kett’s Rebellion, as well as the very personal stories of rebellion that arose from our initial community workshops. The intimacy of the audio recordings, combined with immersion in the woods, creates an experience that is sensorially rich and, we hope, a spark for reflection and action.”
Limbik Theatre is a part of Norwich Theatre’s artistic development programme which helps develop, engage and support local voices from all backgrounds. The programme launched last year as part of Norwich Theatre’s commitment to a thriving local and regional arts ecology. Through open access development activities and tailored support to artists and companies, our aim is to maximise Norfolk’s potential as a brilliant place to be an artist and to create new work.
Jez Pike, Artist Development Coordinator at Norwich Theatre said:
“Ben Samuels and Sarah Johnson are fantastically talented and energised creatives. It’s been a pleasure to work closely with them in a supportive relationship over the last six months. Rebel Rabble is an example of the innovative, authentic and accessible work being made in Norwich, and I can’t wait to see it fully transformed from a plan on paper, into a living, breathing experience on Mousehold Heath.”
The project is a community performance and began as a series of Zoom workshops with an intergenerational group of participants from Norwich, during the Spring 2021 lockdown, who were encouraged to share their personal stories of rebellion, and write new ones. These stories were shaped into an audio script, which combined the three fictional character journeys, with verbatim interviews with the participants, and a poetic retelling of Kett’s Rebellion, which swept Norwich in 1549.
Limbik and the participants then developed staging ideas for an outdoor performance on Mousehold Heath, the site of Kett’s rebel camp. The moments of live performance complement the audio journey, as well as respond to the outdoor environment.
These public performances will be staged by a community cast, and feature a unique combination of immersive sound and landscape, punctuated by almost cinematic moments of live performance. An audio-described version of the performance will be available for visually impaired audiences.