Following a sold-out New York premiere in 2019, Outer Gaea Company makes its VAULT Festival debut next month with tale of diplomatic relations put to the test in a political battle of wits, The Ballerina. Time to book your tickets!
Based on various stories of fractious relationships between intelligence services and diplomats, democracies and dictatorships, and what we view as right and wrong, Anne-Sophie Marie‘s play is described as Conrad’s Heart of Darkness meets Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It runs at The Vaults from 18-22 March 2019.
Set in a country not so far away, British diplomat Colin Clutterbuck is brutally arrested by the National Intelligence Agency. Thrown into a cell and accused of conspiring to overthrow the government, Colin fights back with wit and great British banter. Faced with infamous master interrogator Pacifique Muamba, the young diplomat is about to be painfully re-educated and taken to the brink of madness.
The sophisticated and intelligent Muamba represents the individuals behind dictatorships, and compels us to question, who are these individuals really and, more importantly, who could they have been?
The Ballerina, shortlisted for Theatre 503’s 2016 Playwriting Award, explores the aftermath of colonial rule in an unnamed African country and the resulting destruction of a European presence within the continent, exploring how contemporary Western audiences consider, or don’t consider, the impact of their foreign policy around the world. It was first staged at New York’s Theatrelab in January 2019.
Speaking about The Ballerina, director James Scotland said:
“Experimenting with Artaud’s theatre of cruelty, we’re exploring themes of violence that are unapologetic, inviting the audience to love, hate and most importantly, to question their own beliefs. We’re living in a time where, despite having access to a world of information, we’re still so unaware of the reality of global politics. And this ignorance in the form of a vote, contributes to the very cycles of violence (seen and unseen) that we wish to stop. Through the character of Pacifique, you’re introduced to the walking amalgamation of Paul Kagame, Andre Leon Talley and Karl Lagerfeld. The Ballerina celebrates the individuality of blackness where you least expect it; redefining Africanism imagery for a new generation.”
Scotland, who co-founded Outer Gaea, is an alumni of the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. His on stage credits include Dangerous Lady (Theatre Royal Stratford East), Cymbeline (Arts Theatre) and House of Atreus (Keochang International Festival of Theatre). He has also worked as Assistant Director on She Ventures and He Wins at the Young Vic.
Outer Gaea is a London-based, international theatre company with a mission to create theatre accessible to all. Founded by Scotland, Sanja Gregorcic and Roy Rodriguez, they strive to honour the theatre of ancient and unsung cultures whilst exploring contemporary stories with daring and resilience. Previous productions include Dutchman, which ran at Tristan Bates Theatre in autumn 2019, and Answers, which was staged at the Hen & Chickens Theatre in autumn 2018.
VAULT Festival, which runs until 22 March 2020, is “London’s biggest, boldest and wildest arts and entertainment festival”. In addition to The Ballerina, the festival hosts an incredibly eclectic collection of productions including continent-crossing tale of self-discovery Apple, Kafka-inspired tale of otherness Red Peter and Far Gone, which follows the tale of a child soldier.