David Mirvish is pleased to present the international premiere of the Donmar Warehouse production of BLINDNESS, a socially distanced sound installation.
BLINDNESS will be presented on stage at the Princess of Wales Theatre beginning November 17, 2020 and will be the first indoor theatre presentation in Toronto since the pandemic shut down all theatres. (The start date may change if health and safety are compromised.)
Mirvish says: “For the last six months my staff and I have been working diligently to find a way to offer different forms of theatre in environments that are safe and comfortable. Towards this goal, we’ve been working with the unions and associations that represent artists, technicians and arts workers.”
“Our friends at the Donmar Warehouse in London came up with a brilliant and powerful way to tell a timely and important story in a theatrical setting. They came up with a unique adaptation of the modern classic novel BLINDNESS by the Nobel laureate José Saramago, itself about the effects of a pandemic on a community,” says Mirvish. “It’s a first step to reenergizing the theatre community here, offering much-needed hope to arts workers and audiences alike.”
AT THE THEATRE:
- The show runs 70-minutes without an intermission.
- Each performance will be limited to 50 people.
- Every precaution will be taken to ensure that each audience member is safe and comfortable during this very special event.
- All audience members must wear a mask for the entire duration of their visit for this event.
- All audience members will be seated (socially distanced, in pairs and singles) on the immense stage of the Princess of Wales Theatre.
- Each person will be given sanitized headphones with which to be told the story by the illustrious stage, screen, TV and audiobook star Juliet Stevenson. The sound is designed to be binaural, making the work sound as if it were physically happening around you, putting you in the centre of the action.
BLINDNESS, a socially distanced sound installation with the voice of Juliet Stevenson, based on the novel by José Saramago, adapted by Simon Stephens, directed by Walter Meierjohann is a Donmar Warehouse Production.
The creative team includes: Sound Designers Ben and Max Ringham, Designer Lizzie Clachan, Lighting Designer Jessica Hung Han Yun, Production Consultant Professor Hannah Thompson and Resident Assistant Director Sara Aniqah Malik.
More details about dates, times and tickets to BLINDNESS will be announced at the end of October.
CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM BIOS
JULIET STEVENSON Voice of the Storyteller/Doctor’s wife
Juliet Stevenson is one of Britain’s leading actors. Her most recent theatre credits include The Doctor – for which she won the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Actress and is currently nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Actress, Mary Stuart, Hamlet (Almeida/West End); Wings, Happy Days (Young Vic). Juliet won the 1991 Olivier Award for Best Actress for her performance in Death and the Maiden, and has been nominated a further five times. Juliet has received five BAFTA nominations for her work on screen. Her films include Truly, Madly, Deeply – Evening Standard Film Award for Best Actress; Bend it like Beckham; When did you last see your Father?; Being Julia. Juliet’s latest television work includes Riviera and Out of her Mind, a comedy series with Sara Pascoe which will air from September. Her other credits include One of Us and The Enfield Haunting, and she appeared as a series regular in Atlantis and The Village. She was awarded the CBE in 1999.
SIMON STEPHENS Writer
Simon Stephens is an Olivier and Tony award-winning playwright. His theatre credits include Fortune (Metropolitan, Tokyo); Maria, Rage (Thalia, Hamburg); The Threepenny Opera (NT); Fatherland (MIF 2017/Lyric Hammersmith/LIFT Festival 2018); Heisenberg (West End); Obsession (Barbican/Toneelgroep, Amsterdam); The Seagull, Herons, Morning, Three Kingdoms, A Thousand Stars that Explode in the Sky, Punk Rock (Lyric Hammersmith); Carmen Disruption (Deutsches Schauspielhaus/Almeida); Nuclear War, Birdland, Country Music, Bluebird (Royal Court); The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time – Olivier and Tony Awards for Best New Play (NT/West End/Broadway); A Doll’s House (Young Vic/West End); Sea Wall (Bush); Harper Regan, Port (Royal Exchange, Manchester/NT); On the Shore of the Wide World (Royal Exchange, Manchester). He has also written for film, television and radio. Simon is a professor at the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University and Artistic Associate at the Lyric Hammersmith.
WALTER MEIER JOHANN Director
Walter Meierjohann was Artistic Director of HOME from 2013 to 2018 and International Associate Director at the Young Vic in London. At the Young Vic, his productions included the European premiere of In the Red and Brown Water by Tarell McCraney and Kafka’s Monkey, which toured to Sydney, Melbourne, Athens, Paris, Tokyo, Istanbul, Taipei and New York. The production, which starred Kathryn Hunter, also showed in HOME’s 2015 opening season, with Hunter reprising her lead role. Walter has worked extensively in Germany and the UK at theatres including: the Barbican; Liverpool Playhouse; Nottingham Playhouse; The Curve, Leicester; Residenztheater, Munich; Staatsschauspiel, Dresden; Schauspiel, Graz; and Arena, Berlin, for Peter Stein’s Faust Ensemble and Impulse Theatre Festival. Prior to joining the Young Vic, Walter was Artistic Director of Neubau at the State Theatre of Dresden. In opera, he has assisted the late Klaus-Michael Grueber in his productions of Aida (Nederlands Opera, Amsterdam) and Don Giovanni (Ruhrfestspiele).
BEN AND MAX RINGHAM Sound Designers
In 2019 Ben and Max, together with writer Ella Hickson, created ANNA – a headphone based show at the National Theatre. They are co-creators of the immersive theatre company Wiretapper and associate artists with the Shunt Collective. Four time Olivier Award nominees, last year they were awarded the H-100 2019 Award for Innovation in Theatre and Performance. Recent credits for the Donmar include Teenage Dick, Berberian Sound Studio and Belleville and their other recent theatre credits include Cyrano de Bergerac, Pinter at the Pinter (West End); Betrayal (West End/Broadway); The Seven Ages of Patience, Pass Over (Kiln); Ugly Lies the Bone, Tartuffe (NT); Pygmalion (UK Tour); Party Skills (Shoreditch Town Hall); The Meeting (Chichester); Machinal (Almeida); Love and Information (Sheffield Theatres); Gloria (Hampstead). Other composition and sound design work includes Frida Kahlo – Making Herself Up at The V&A, Mirror Maze and Room 2022 with Es Devlin, Rembrandt – The Late Works at The National Gallery, The Inspection Chamber for Alexa, BBC Research and Development.
LIZZIE CLACHAN Designer
Lizzie Clachan is a renowned theatre and opera designer and was one of the co-founders of the Shunt collective in 1998. Her previous work at the Donmar includes Far Away and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Other recent theatre includes A Number (Bridge); The Son (Kiln/West End); The Nico Project (MIFl/Melbourne Festival); Rutherford & Son, Absolute Hell, As You Like It, A Woman Killed with Kindness, Treasure Island, Edward II (NT); Cyprus Avenue (Royal Court/Abbey, Dublin/Public, NY); Yerma (Young Vic/Armory, NY); Life of Galileo, Macbeth, A Season in the Congo (Young Vic); Tipping the Velvet (Lyric Hammersmith); The Skriker (Royal Exchange, Manchester); Carmen Disruption (Almeida); The Forbidden Zone (Perner Insul, Salzburg); All My Sons (Regent’s Park Open Air); Ibsen Huis (Toneelgroup Amsterdam/Avignon Festival). Lizzie’s opera credits include Mask of Orpheus, Orphée, Orpheus in the Underworld, Orpheus and Euridice (ENO), Nixon in China (Staatsoper Hannover); Jenůfa (Amsterdam National Opera); La Traviata (Theater Basel/ENO); Pelléas et Mélisande (Teatr Wielki, Poland/Festival d’Aix en Provence); Le Vin Herbé (Staatsoper Berlin); Bliss (Staatsoper Hamburg).
JESSICA HUNG HAN YUN Lighting Designer
Jessica Hung Han Yun is a multi-award-winning lighting designer specialising in installations, theatre, dance and festivals. Jessica’s recent theatre credits include The Last of the Pelican Daughters (Complicité/ Edinburgh/Royal & Derngate); Fairview (Young Vic); Snowflake (Kiln); Mephisto [A Rhapsody], Dear Elizabeth, The Human Voice (Gate); Equus – Knight of Illumination Award 2019 and Off West End Award for Best Lighting Design (Theatre Royal Stratford East/West End); Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner, Pah-La (Royal Court); Forgotten (Theatre Royal Plymouth/Arcola); Hive City Legacy (Roundhouse with Hot Brown Honey); Cuckoo (Soho); Nine Foot Nine (Bunker); Becoming Shades (Vaults Festival 2018).
The Donmar Warehouse is a 251-seat, not-for-profit theatre in Covent Garden, London, led by Artistic Director Michael Longhurst and Executive Director Henny Finch. Their mission is to bring together a wide variety of people in their intimate warehouse space and elsewhere to create, witness and participate in thrilling, world-class theatre. The Donmar has won more than 100 awards in its 28-year history, with highlights of the programme including founder artistic director Sam Mendes’ productions of Cabaret (with Alan Cumming) and The Blue Room (with Nicole Kidman). Michael Grandage (Artistic Director 2002-2012) brought notable productions of Othello with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ewan McGregor, and Red with Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne. Josie Rourke (AD 2012-2019) brought Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus, and a trilogy of all-female Shakespeare plays directed by Phyllida Lloyd. Current Artistic Director Michael Longhurst’s inaugural 2019-20 season focused on important stories, thrillingly told, and included new play by leading writers including Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Alice Birch and Mike Lew.