Hiawatha / Warpaint

This year’s production was a double bill.

Hiawatha

Written by Wadsworth Longfellow; dramatised by Michael Bogdanov; directed by Ursula Wright; music directed by Kay Warcaba; choreography by Kerri Jackson

Longfellow’s epic poem, The Song of Hiawatha, published in 1855, is mostly known to us today through various parodies, from Lewis Carroll to Walt Disney. Yet the original verses, with their rhythmic four-beat metre and their treasure store of Native American legends and traditions, have long deserved a wider audience. This adaptation for the stage by Michael Bogdanov was first performed by the Young Vic Theatre Company in 1978, and two years later by the National Theatre.

Using authentic tribal songs and dances, live percussion, simple props and staging, a cast of twenty performs the story of Hiawatha: demi-god son of the West Wind, warrior with magical powers, devoted husband to his bride Minnehaha, peacemaker and prophet.

Warpaint

Written and directed by Ed Toone; music directed by Andrew Wilson; choreography by Stephanie Smith

Time: the present. Place: an ordinary comprehensive. Groups of students discuss each other, and whether to audition for the school dance production. A new teacher struggles to engage her class. Tensions and rivalries simmer and flare. An unlikely friendship begins to grow. Using Native American history as a backdrop for the tribal warfare of contemporary school life, Warpaint explores themes of truthfulness and courage, the search for identity and cultural heritage.

Download the programme (0.8 MB, PDF)

Download the flyer (0.9 MB, PDF)