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The Tempest to launch Deborah Warner's inaugural season at Theatre Royal Bath's Ustinov Studio

The season is also set to include operatic and dance productions

Deborah Warner
© Theatre Royal Bath

Deborah Warner, new artistic director of Theatre Royal Bath's Ustinov Studio, has released details of her inaugural season today.

Warner commented: "I am excited to propose a new kind of programme for the Ustinov Studio. The past eight years have established the Studio as an undeniable and powerful force in contemporary theatre. As we enter a new decade it is essential that both this standing and the theatre's reputation, continue to flourish and build.

"Where the recent emphasis has been on UK premieres of existing international work, I am proposing shifting that emphasis, instead including revivals of major classics alongside the development of new plays/theatre work - interpreted in the broadest sense, i.e. adaptations of existing novels; staging of poems; presentation of new theatre artists and their work etc. In addition, I am proposing a major commitment to a music theatre programme - ie classical song in the form of song cycles (fully staged performances of this most theatrical genre) cantatas, solo/duo voiced pieces etc., as well as an annual staging of an opera each year.

"Whilst this kind of programme is more usually found in a Festival situation, I think it is extremely well suited to a space committed to pushing and broadening our ideas of theatre.

The principle of the programme is one of diversity, with a repertoire constantly challenging and nudging ideas of theatre."

The season launches with Warner directing Shakespeare's The Tempest (1 July to 6 August), which will also feature design by Christof Hetzer, lighting by Jean Kalman and sound and composition by Mel Mercier.

The cast for this new staging of Shakespeare's final play, set on an enchanted island, will be Dickie Beau, Gary Sefton, William Chubb and Stephen Kennedy.

Next up is a double-bill (running from 12 to 23 August) with a re-mounting of Benjamin Britten's cantata, Phaedra, which was originally presented at London's Royal Opera House, alongside a newly-commissioned dance piece, Minotaur, which takes inspiration from Phaedra.

Delving deep into Greek mythology, Phaedra will be sung by Christine Rice, with Warner once again at the helm, while Minotaur will be choreographed by Kim Brandstrup and will feature the Royal Ballet's Kristin McNally and Jonathan Goddard. Both productions are set to feature design and lighting by Anthony McDonald and Jean Kalman, respectively.

Isabelle Kettle will then direct Henry Purcell's opera, Dido and Aeneas (14 October to 5 November), marking the first time an opera has been produced at the Ustinov Studio. Exploring the tale of Dido, the widowed Queen of Carthage, and her Trojan prince lover, Aeneas, the piece will also feature musical direction by Michael Papadopoulos and design by Hyemi Shin and will be presented in arrangement with the Royal Opera House.

Finally, Dickie Beau (who is also set to portray Ariel in The Tempest earlier in the season) will star in a live lip-synching performance entitled ¡Showmanism! (11 November to 10 December).

Covering everything "from Greek tragedians to pantomime dames, from Beckett to the bodhisattvas", the piece, devised by Beau, will feature direction by Jan Willem Van Den Bosch, design by Justin Nardella, lighting by Marty Langthorn and sound by Dan Steele. Rupert Christiansen will serve as the show's dramaturg.


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