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Hurricane Katrina & Recession Inspire New Plays

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'Nomadic venue' The Jericho House is staging a promenade work this autumn at the Bargehouse, Oxo Tower Wharf, composed entirely of testimonies from those affected by Hurricane Katrina.

Katrina, which runs from 1 to 26 September 2009, tells the story of the immediate aftermath of the disaster. Staged in a five-storey warehouse on the south bank, the work is drawn from accounts provided “by both survivors and those responsible for the failed relief effort following the hurricane which destroyed the city of New Orleans in August 2005”.

The project is directed by Jonathan Holmes, who wrote, directed and produced the verbatim work Fallujah in an adapted space on Brick Lane in 2007 before establishing The Jericho House in 2008. The company describes itself as “a nomadic venue”, specialising in “groundbreaking alliances between theatre, music and installation art”.

Katrina, which blends verbatim testimony with the rich musical tradition of New Orleans, features an original score by by Peter Readman and Peter Nash. Tickets are on sale through the Young Vic box office.

Inspired by a catastrophe of a very different nature, the Soho Theatre has announced a short season of work in response to the current economic crisis. Everything Must Go, which runs from 23 June to 4 July 2009, is a collection of short plays designed to “stimulate a creative response” to the recession.

Each evening of the two-week season will be split into two halves comprising a different selection of new work. Writers lined up to take part include Will Eno (Thom Pain … based on nothing), Kay Adshead (The Bogus Woman), Marisa Carnesky (Carnesky's Ghost Train, Magic War), Steve Thompson (Roaring Trade), Oladipo Agboluaje (The Hounding of David Oluwale, Iya-Ile) and Bola Agbaje (Gone Too Far).

Topics explored include unemployment, the collapse of the banks and the economics of migration. Once written, the plays will be rehearsed over a period of two weeks and presented “without décor as part of a unique evening of raw theatre”. There will also be a discussion held to discuss the themes raised during a 'day of debate' on 4 July 2009.

- by Theo Bosanquet


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