Proforca Theatre premieres Reading Gaol, a fresh new adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s final work combined with new writing, at London’s Theatre N16 for a limited season from 23 July to 2 August 2018, with a press night on 24 July.
Riding high from the critical success of their show Feel, which recently had runs at the King’s Head Theatre, Lion & Unicorn Theatre and in Hertford and Coventry, the company now return to the London stage with a challenging new staging of Oscar Wilde‘s ballad, remixed with five new pieces of writing to tell the stories of five men’s oppression, incarceration and hope.
In this adaptation, the original text of Wilde’s 1897 “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” combines with these new voices. It melds poetry, storytelling and physical theatre to create a much darker, more confrontational, visceral and thought-provoking piece: an exploration of the deprivation of liberty experienced by prisoners at the turn of the century. The show’s series of pieces are penned by a diverse team of writers who elucidate various voices and themes in Wilde’s work.
Originally staged by Proforca in November 2017 at the Lion & Unicorn, Reading Gaol has now been expanded to fill the challenging new space at Theatre N16, where the show will be performed in traverse. This will offer a unique take on Wilde and an eye-opening contrast to other Wilde productions, which are rarely staged immersively.
Reading Gaol explores oppression, censorship and conformity in an increasingly conservative society, from the grime of Victorian England to the forests of Africa and back.
Oscar Wilde wrote the poem, his last work, in 1897. At the time, he was in exile in France, having been released from Reading Gaol where he was incarcerated for two years’ hard labour after being convicted of “gross indecency” (i.e. homosexual acts, which were then illegal).
Proforca Theatre Company’s mission is to create great theatre performances which challenge, confront and engage audiences. Artistic director David Brady commented:
“After receiving critical and audience acclaim for both Feel and Feel/More, we are delighted that our adventure for both of these shows now continues into our new production. All of our work showcases the amazing acting talent from early stage actors, as well as really fierce new writers with a point of view we are pleased to champion. We’re also thrilled to be able to present Reading Gaol in a new space at Theatre N16, which serves as a busy but brilliant climax to a fantastic six months for the company.”
Reading Gaol is adapted by the company and features new material by Catrin Keeler, James Lewis, Simon Marshall and Erin Read. It’s directed by David Brady and produced by Gemma Wray. The cast for the run at TheatreN16 are James Vincent (as Monster), Malcolm Jeffries (Guardian), Nic James (Human), Miles Parker (Innocent) and Nick Cope (Hero).
Reading Gaol is one of the headling production is Theatre N16’s summer season at its new home at north London arts complex Styx. The fringe venue, led by Jamie Eastlake, had to leave its last home, at the Bedford Pub in Balham, in late 2017 when the premises were redeveloped.
Reading Gaol runs from 23 July to 2 August 2018 at Theatre N16, 5 Ashley Road, London N17 9LJ. Performances are Mondays to Wednesdays at 8.30pm (7.30pm from 30 July). Tickets are priced £14 (concessions £11). CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!