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Why you need to see Sightlines Theatre Company’s The Tempest

The performance is next week!

The gem in Durham student theatre’s 'Summer in the City' programme, Shakespeare’s the Tempest (presented by Sightlines’ Theatre Company in collaboration with Suffragette Theatre Company) will be performed in the Gala theatre on the 26th of June.

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However, this is not your standard Shakespeare production. Instead Sightlines Theatre Company will present a radical reworking of the text highlighting the colonial themes that are rarely shown by modern productions.

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Director Layla Chowdhury has created a radical reworking of Shakespeare’s text, incorporating physical theatre as well as traditional ethnic dance and choreography such as Malay folk dance, Indian Kathak dancing and Indonesian body percussion. This gives the central island, where the play takes place, a sense of authenticity; it is a living breathing community invaded and appropriated by the “Men from Naples,” clearly hinting at Britain’s colonial past. Additionally, the production will incorporate traditional South Asian costumes and music to further celebrate communities that are rarely explored on the western stage.
This is made all the more relevant given Durham’s association with Oriental and Arabic studies and culture dating back to the origins of the university.

In her director's note, Chowdhury writes that "our key aim from this production was to stage how little we know of the diverse cultures across the world, despite boasting of having ‘conquered’ it for so many years. We want to expand Durham’s western outlook on theatre and on culture, to fit the varied traditions from around the world."

Sightlines Theatre Company are unique not only in the context of Durham student theatre companies but in the theatre world. They specialise in providing a platform “to increase and improve the representation of underrepresented ideas, identities, or groups.” In the past this has included productions focusing on topics ranging from women soldiers to the LGBT community. They are working alongside Suffragette Theatre company, Josephine Butler’s college theatre company who specialise in producing plays with a political message, a homage to the college's namesake.

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After twelve years living on and island paradise, Harry Twining’s Prospero and Molly Goetzee’s Miranda are disturbed by the “Men of Naples,” enemies from Prospero’s past, after a violent storm leaves them shipwrecked. What follows is a story of love, revenge, and treachery. Twining promise to produce a powerful performance – his booming voice brings a sense of authority to a confident yet thoughtful presentation of Prospero. Molly Goetzee creates a refined sense of femininity and innocence to the role of Miranda perfectly complimenting Twining. They are surrounded by an ensemble of spirits, manifestations of the island's mystical elements, led by an Ariel portrayed Helena Baker, Lucy Little, and Aarnav Tewari Sharma.

The Tempest comes at the end of another successful year for Durham Student Theatre. It is a production not to be missed.

The Tempest will be performed at the Gala Theatre on the 26th of June at 7:30.

A link to tickets can be found here.

The Facebook event can be found here.