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Gate Dramatises 999 Calls, Fills up Dance Card

For its first two new productions announced for 2010, west London’s Gate Theatre will venture further down the dance-oriented route spearheaded in recent years by current joint artistic directors Carrie Cracknell and Natalie Abrahami.

Cracknell will direct Breathing Irregular, which uses contemporary dance to explore a series of true stories taken from the transcripts of 999 emergency calls, including a woman giving birth alone and a son trying to resuscitate his father after cardiac arrest.

Breathing Irregular is performed by four actor/dancers, including Eva Magyar, with choreography by Jane Mason, dramaturgy by Jenny Worton, design by Holly Waddington and lighting by Lucy Carter. It runs from 2 to 27 February 2010 (previews from 28 January).

In the spring, French director/choreographer and Gate international associate Pierre Rigal will return with his new piece Micro, which is billed as a “physical concert” and runs from 13 April to 8 May 2010 (previews from 7 April). Inspired by iconic imagery of 20th-century rock stars, Micro will transform the Gate into a renegade punk-pop venue to “smash the boundaries between rock, pop, punk and contemporary dance”.

The cast of musician/dancers for Micro are Melanie Chartreux, Malik Djoudi, Gwenael Drapeau and Julien Lepreux. The production is designed and lit by Frederic Stoll.

Last year, the Gate forged a relationship with Sadler’s Wells to transfer one of its dance theatre productions each year across London from the 70-seat Gate to the 180-seat Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler’s Wells. The first transfer was Cracknell’s acclaimed 2008 production of I Am Falling, choreographed by Anna Williams, while Rigal’s solo piece Press, followed in May of this year (See News, 17 Jul 2008).

Established in 1979, the Gate was one of the first theatres to produce and collaborate with Eastern European theatre practitioners and opened the way for a rapid proliferation of international work on London’s stages. It remains the capital’s only theatre dedicated exclusively to producing international work. Carrie Cracknell and Natalie Abrahami joined in March 2007, taking over from Thea Sharrock (See News, 6 Feb 2007). Earlier this year, they were awarded £254,000 from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation's Breakthrough Fund for their visionary work at the Gate (See Off-West End News, 29 May 2009).

This year’s 30th anniversary Generation Gate season at the theatre culminates this week with the premiere stage musical adaptation of Tolstoy’s 1889 short story The Kreutzer Sonata, starring Tobias Beer, Hilton McRae and Sophie Scott, directed by Abrahami. It runs from 10 November to 5 December 2009 (previews from 5 November).

Tomorrow night (Wednesday 11 November), there will be a major fundraiser held at Porchester Hall, Bayswater, in celebration of the Gate’s last 30 years with the added aim of raising £30,000 for the next 30 years. The evening will be hosted by former artistic director Stephen Daldry and attended by all other former artistic directors as well as a host of Notting Hill glitterati, including actors Alan Rickman, Sophie Okonedo, Dexter Fletcher and Miranda Richardson.


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