Brief Encounter with ... Matthew BourneDate: 29 June 2012
New Adventures, which began in 1987 as “a group of friends who just wanted to get together to perform and choreograph”, is now one of the best known dance companies working today, both in the UK and internationally.
Led by superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne, who founded the company, New Adventures is celebrating its 25th birthday this year with three shows, each of which reflects a different aspect of the company.
Currently touring the UK is Early Adventures, a triple bill of works that launched Bourne's career as a dancer and choregrapher (until 30 June).
A brand new production of Sleeping Beauty – the third and final great Tchaikovsky ballet by New Adventures – will play at Sadler's Wells this Christmas (from 4 December to 26 January).
And on 18 July Play Without Words opens at Sadler's Wells, following a UK tour. It is the show's first revival since it premiered at the National Theatre in 2002. Based on the 1963 film The Servant, which was written by Harold Pinter and starred Dirk Bogarde, Play Without Words tells the story of the breakdown of a household after a manservant is hired by the husband of the piece. It won the 2003 Olivier Awards for Best Entertainment and Best Theatre Choreographer.
Here Bourne tells us about the revival, New Adventures turning 25 and his unique approach to choreography...
What made you want to revive Play Without Words now?
“How did you approach adapting Play Without Words at the National in the first place?
One of the unique things theatrically about the piece is I that decided to cast the five main characters with more than one person playing them so you get slight variations on the story all at the same time. It was an experiment at the National and it was intended to be experimental. But the wonderful thing that happened when we opened it is that it actually does work and people did really take to it. It became quite an accessible, popular piece, which is so unexpected because it seemed like a crazy idea that we were playing with. As a storyteller I like to be very clear because I’m working in a medium which for many people is a bit mysterious – storytelling through movement and without words.
How do you go about keeping your shows fresh for new audiences when you revive them?
The creative team on Play Without Words, as well as many of the show's dancers, are people you've worked with before. How important is it to have those trusted collaborators on board?
Through shows like your all-male Swan Lake, New Adventures is credited with having opened dance up to a more mainstream audience. Was that part of the plan when you founded the company?
Where do your ambitions lie in terms of creating new projects beyond this 25th anniversary year?
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