As part of her ongoing post-show Q&A series, on Thursday 17 January 2019, Mates co-founder Terri Paddock talks to award-winning company Atticist about their first revival of David Greig’s Outlying Islands. Got any questions?
Atticist, established in 2015, has already established a fearsome reputation for drama of the highest quality with their award-winning productions of Life According to Saki and Steven Berkoff’s EAST. No wonder the King’s Head Theatre has named them as an associate company. I’m so pleased to make my Atticist post-show Q&A debut!
I have noticed that something draws us towards outlying islands. Some force pulls…
1939, Scotland. Two young ornithologists arrive on a remote island, tasked by the government to conduct a simple study of the bird population. With only the island’s authoritarian leaseholder and his niece for company, they find themselves drawn to the wild isolation of the place and begin to suspect their mission is not all it seems.
As the clouds of war gather over Europe, one rocky outcrop in the vast Atlantic can decide its own fate. Boundaries begin to crumble. Life becomes beautiful and strange.
Nobody really knows we’re here.
We can do as we please. We’re alone.
Dead to the world and —
Following 2018’s OFFIE-nominated production of Berkoff’s EAST, Atticist returns to the King’s Head Theatre with their first show as an Associate Company: the first London revival of David Greig’s Outlying Islands since its sold-out Royal Court run almost twenty years ago. Blurring the lines between fantasy and reality, Greig’s poetic, funny, and politically-charged play explores a society on the edge of immense change.
Outlying Islands is directed by Jessica Lazar and stars Rose Wardlaw, Ken Drury, Jack McMillan and Tom Machell. Lazar says of her cast:
“They share a depth, comedy, and imagination in their performance and an immediate complicity that crackles with excitement. For me, they feel like the perfect ensemble to take on the wild range of this remarkable play.”
David Greig‘s play is inspired by real events, including Robert Atkinson and John Ainslie’s 1935 search for the Leach’s Fork-Tailed Petrel, as recorded in Atkinson’s Island Going. The play also reflects on the British government’s decision to bomb an island off the west coast of Scotland with anthrax during World War II, in order to test the efficacy of chemical weapons. Gruinard Island was closed for 50 years and only ‘decontaminated’ in 1990.