Wise Children, Kneehigh and Bristol Old Vic have announced dates for the digital tour of Daniel Jamieson’s The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk directed by Emma Rice. The production will feature Marc Antolin (Marc Chagall) and Audrey Brisson (Bella Chagall), reprising their roles from the original staging. The production will be performed at Bristol Old Vic, and broadcast live to audience’s homes nationally and globally from 3-5 December 2020.
Theatres across the UK and abroad will sell tickets to their audiences, with partners including Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, York Theatre Royal and Oxford Playhouse, The Lowry, Spoleto Festival USA and Wallis Annenberg Centre for the Performing Arts with more to be announced.
Meet Marc and Bella Chagall—the flying lovers of Vitebsk! Partners in life and on canvas, Marc and Bella are immortalised as the picture of romance. But whilst on canvas they flew, in life they walked through some of the most devastating times in history.
The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk has music by Ian Ross, set and costume design by Sophia Clist, lighting design by Malcolm Rippeth and sound design by Simon Baker.
Implementing a COVID-secure procedure, company members will each have a Coronavirus test before forming a bubble in Bristol. These rigorous measures mean that they will be able to perform the show without social distancing.
Tom Morris, artistic director of Bristol Old Vic, commented: “The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk is one of those very rare and very special shows that people just fall in love with. You go weak at the knees. You giggle. You weep. And very often people tell us they have never forgotten it. The show is shaded with the dark brutality of the mid 20th century, but the love at its heart feels so strong, courageous and joyful that its beat can endure any hardship. Now, in the strange dark winter of 2020, again inspired by the trademark panache of Emma’s work, we are offering the show to global audiences that will reach from China to Kentucky and back home to Minsk.”
Mike Shepherd and Carl Grose added: “Kneehigh has enjoyed success with digital projects like our Walk with Me stories app and the Kneehigh Cookbook education site. But when it comes to productions, we’ve always struggled with how we’d present work online while staying faithful to the spontaneous, live element that’s so intrinsic to our work.
“Seeing Romantics Anonymous made us both realise that it is possible, and that there is a very real need from audiences to experience live theatre, even if they can’t be there in person. We’re excited about developing this through working alongside Wise Children and Bristol Old Vic: collaboration is more vital than ever and we can’t wait to learn and explore together what live streaming means for the timeless story of Marc and Bella Chagall.”
Emma Rice said: “Whilst nothing will ever replace the thrill of a night out at the theatre, live broadcast is a wonderful new adventure. Fresh, fun and intimate; it feels like we are flying on a motorcycle with nothing ahead of us. We are intoxicated as we learn new skills, build new teams and experience new triumphs! We are taking the utmost care to protect all of our valued team but all the preparation will all be worth it when, for one short week, we immerse ourselves in the spiritually intimate and genuinely moving, real life love story of Marc and Bella Chagall.”
Marc Antolin plays Marc Chagall. His previous credits for Wise Children include Romantics Anonymous (Bristol Old Vic, digital tour). Other theatre credits include Camelot (Watermill Theatre), Hedda Gabler (Sherman Theatre), Cry Havoc (Park Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors – for which he received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actor in a Musical, Into the Woods, Hello, Dolly! (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Twelfth Night (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk (Kneehigh), Peter Pan (National Theatre), The Trial (Young Vic), Taken at Midnight (Theatre Royal Haymarket/ Chichester Festival Theatre), Amadeus, Singin’ in the Rain, The Music Man (Chichester Festival Theatre), From Here to Eternity (Shaftesbury Theatre), Matilda (RSC/Cambridge Theatre), Billy Liar (UK tour) and Imagine This (New London Theatre). His television credits include Keeping Faith; and for film his credits include London Road and Love Actually.
Audrey Brisson plays Bella Chagall. Her previous theatre credits include Amelie (The Other Palace, Watermill Theatre – for which she was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical), Pericles, Pinocchio, Elephantom (National Theatre), The Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Dead Dog in a Suitcase & Other Love Songs, The Wild Bride, Midnight’s Pumpkin (Kneehigh), La Strada (The Other Palace, UK tour), The Grinning Man (Bristol Old Vic) and Romeo and Juliet (Rose Theatre Kingston). Her television credits include Money, and Outlander II; and for films her credits include Hereafter.