National Theatre to stage nationwide Odyssey as part of 60th anniversary season
The production will culminate in the Olivier next summer
The National Theatre has announced a new multi-location nationwide production of The Odyssey, which will take place in 2023.
Forming part of the National's 60th anniversary programme, the piece will be produced in partnership with local communities, theatres and artists across the country.
According to press material, "Through this landmark project, the adventures of Odysseus will be reimagined for today with community companies as a universal story of resilience, loss, healing and hope."
Homer's epic will be told in four episodes taking place across the country next spring, culminating with a fifth and final episode on the Olivier stage in August 2023.
The lead creative team features the National's director of public acts Emily Lim, who directed the community production of Pericles in 2018, alongside playwright and lyricist Chris Bush, and composer Jim Fortune.
The first four episodes will be created and performed by local artists and communities in four partner organisations in April 2023: Restoke in Stoke-on-Trent, Cast in Doncaster, Trowbridge Town Hall in Trowbridge and The Fire Station in Sunderland.
The four artists writing each of these four episodes in co-creation with their communities are: Gabriella Gay (Stoke), Tajinder Singh Hayer (Doncaster), Florence Espeut-Nickless (Trowbridge) and Lindsay Rodden (Sunderland).
The fifth episode will be staged as an "epic full-scale musical production" at the National Theatre from 27 to 29 August 2023. The performance will feature a total of 140 people including six professional actors, six live musicians and three cameo performance groups from across the UK.
Emily Lim said: "We are so excited to be bringing The Odyssey to life with such an inspiring group of theatre-makers. In light of everything that's happened over the past two years it feels incredibly special, and right, to be coming together from all corners of the country to tell a story about how we heal and move forwards after a period of profound loss and change."