Almeida festival plays out a strong musical theme

PUBLISHED: 17:28 09 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:12 07 September 2010

The Almeida s Jenny Worton unveils an eclectic programme for this year s Summer Festival - exploring the relationship between music and theatre, writes Katie Masters The Almeida should be eclectic. It s what we do really well. Jenny Worton, the Islin

The Almeida's Jenny Worton unveils an eclectic programme for this year's Summer Festival - exploring the relationship between music and theatre, writes Katie Masters

'The Almeida should be eclectic. It's what we do really well." Jenny Worton, the Islington theatre's artistic associate, is passionate about her job - and right now all that passion is directed towards its 2008 Summer Festival.

The festival is a month-long mix of concerts, opera and theatre, opening on July 10.

Eclectic is a good description of the programme, which aims to offer something to everyone.

The Islington-based British-African theatre group, Tiata Fahodzi, will be performing readings of six new plays.

For opera-lovers, there's the new work, An Ocean Of Rain.

Barb Jungr, winner of New York's 2008 Nightlife Award for Outstanding Cabaret Vocalist, is doing a concert.

And there's a special collaboration with the Tate Modern - an evening of music that aims to offer new insights into the world of American artist Cy Twombly.

"What's new about the festival this year is that it's exploring the relationship between music and theatre," says Worton.

"So the performances by Tiata Fahodzi culminate in a huge concert, with African musicians.

"And we're also staging a play, Nocturne, by American writer Adam Rapp, which has a piano prodigy as its central character.

"Adam's well-established in the US - but over here he hasn't had that much produced.

"When I was shown Nocturne I thought it was absolutely wonderful.

"It's a monologue about a teenage boy, a gifted musician, who kills his sister accidentally.

"The play is about grief and the absence of music in this character's life after his sister dies.

"And we've commissioned some new music from an exciting young composer called Philip Neil Martin to go with the piece.

"Nocturne works so well within the context of the festival because we can work with someone who, over here, is an emerging writer and give the play 10 performances, while not exposing the piece to a huge Almeida full-length run.

"It's exciting to stage new work. We're in the business of trying to create new classic texts - whether that be by reviving texts that have been overlooked in the past, or not performed for decades, or whether that be by putting on a new play."

"If we put on a new play, that's us saying we believe this play is going to last and last and last. It will be one of the classics of the future."

It's high praise. But coming from someone who has spent years developing scripts at the Bush, the National and the Tricycle, it's more than likely that the name Adam Rapp will be one to remember.

If you want to book tickets for the Almeida's Summer Festival, call 020-7359 4404 or visit www.almeida.co.uk.

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