Theatre company creates new world
ANY passers-by could be forgiven for thinking they’d stumbled across another world.
While it’s highly unlikely you would really get anyone wandering down Davy Bank in Wallsend – leading as it does to a business park – another world is what’s being carefully created by Wildworks theatre company.
At the bottom of the winding road to the banks of the Tyne, it is transforming Oceana Business Park into an outdoor stage where, from next Tuesday, The Beautiful Journey promises audiences exactly that.
Set in the near future, when humanity is on the move, it’s a mystical journey into the unknown. From the moment we’re enticed into the world of Queen Kalypso, we’ll be part of a walkabout adventure on her ‘island’.
Yesterday, given a tour, during rehearsals, of the specially constructed shanty town – the Queen is there in her red frock while her estranged sister Kassandra, in white, is waiting to be hoisted into the air in what looks like a giant bird cage – I am sure it’s going to be magical.
Sue Hill, playing Kassandra, invites me into the ‘lab’ where audiences – in the “really crazy” kind of carnival interval – will be invited to try out a memory projector, have their fortune told and enjoy a drink from the bar, even a dance.
Back outside, a shanty band strikes up. When I look up again, moments later, they’ve suddenly appeared on the roof of one of the buildings.
Every space and level of the outdoor area has been used and you can only imagine the challenges faced by Bill Mitchell, director of Cornwall-based Wildworks, which has been working on this Culture10 commission for the past two years.
“We work with what we find,” he tells me.
“If you don’t work in a theatre, there’s a whole lot of issues – not problems, necessarily, because we expect them, but issues like health and safety.
“But we’re very experienced at this and know what we can and can’t do.” Initially they’d thought of using a shipyard but, given the ambitious nature of the type of theatre they do, it’s not unusual that first ideas don’t always come off. This is location number four.