Launching Bristol Old Vic’s autumn season is a unique collaboration between Bristol Old Vic’s award winning Young Company, and National Theatre Connections.
Staged to mark the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, Bassett- is a funny, pacy and exhilarating look at young people who have inherited a world at war, and who, as they grow older, are starting to ask questions about these conflicts, their country and themselves. Written by James Graham, it is directed by one of the National Theatre’s Associate Directors, Anthony Banks.
Wootton Bassett, the small Wiltshire town has respectfully hosted many repatriation processions since the wars began in Iraq and Afghanistan. The production will be accompanied by post-show discussions led by speakers connected with Bristol, Wootton Bassett and the events of the last decade.
It’s citizenship class at Wootton Bassett School and the supply teacher has done a runner and locked the pupils in. Dean needs the toilet, Aimee needs a coffee, Amid needs to pray, and Leo… well, Leo really, really wants to escape.
Outside, only yards from their confinement, a repatriation of fallen British soldiers is happening along the high street, as it has over a hundred times before through this quiet Wiltshire town. But this one is more personal than most. As factions form and secrets are revealed, maybe Leo is not the only one who’ll want to get away.
Writer James Graham says: “A decade on, young people today have no memory of the events of September 2001 - for them there is no pre-9/11, post 9/11 differentiation. I spoke to the pupils at Wootton Bassett School about what they make of the regular repatriation ceremonies taking place in their town, and what their understanding and opinions of living in a world at war are. It was their generosity and honesty that fuelled Bassett.”
Director Anthony Banks says: “When I spoke to John Retallack about James' startling play it was clear that for me to direct it at the Bristol Old Vic, which is not far from Wootton Bassett, would really resonate, especially during the 9/11 tenth anniversary week. I hope that the big questions the young characters ask in the play will hover in our consciousness during that week, as we look back over the events of the last decade, and- through the imaginations of the next generation - we begin to envisage the future.”
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