Curious directive Announce Gastronomic at Shoreditch Townhall

Craig Hamilton as Luca Georgina Strawson as Nora Smidt. photo © Adam Davis
Craig Hamilton as Luca Georgina Strawson as Nora Smidt. photo © Adam Davis

Pioneering and ambitious theatre-makers curious directive, bring Gastronomic, a new show featuring Augmented Reality and a 5-course tasting menu set onboard an Airbus A380, to London’s Shoreditch Town Hall for three weeks this Autumn.

Gastronomic casts its 44 audience members as passengers on-board an evening flight to London Heathrow. Three world-class chefs deliver a 5-course tasting menu and reveal the inner mechanics and processes of how the dishes are created in real-time. Gastronomic explores migration, memory and molecular gastronomy, making a case for the soft-power of food.

Originally devised for a limited run in 2018 at Norwich Theatre Royal’s Studio, the show has been developed further into a full production with support from the National Theatre immersive Storytelling Studio.

Devised with chefs in the rehearsal room as key creatives, Gastronomic examines the knotty origins of British culinary identity, unusual and empowering perspectives on asylum and how food permeates our lives.

Conceived by Jack Lowe (Founding Artistic Director), the devising company includes Georgina Strawson, Craig Hamilton and Ani Nelson with dramaturgical support from National Theatre Immersive Storytelling Studio and dramaturgy by Stewart Pringle. The devising company prepare replicas of the dishes served to the audience on stage, using the same techniques and routines captured by live-feed video camerawork from Jack Lowe.

For the London run, curious directive will be working with east London charity Shoreditch Trust. Chefs from their Blue Marble Training Project will work alongside Gastronomic’s original 3 professional chefs from Norwich. The Blue Marble trainees, who usually work within the charity’s restaurant ‘Waterhouse’ in Hackney will be working alongside Richard Bainbridge from Norwich’s Benedicts Restaurant (The Times Top 100 Restaurants in the UK, in 2015 and BBC 2’s Great British Menu winner), Shiki’s Head Chef Shunsuke Tomii (‘terrific Japanese food – not just for East Anglia but for anywhere in Britain’ – Jay Rayner), and Namaste Village Head Chef, Dalsukh Jetani.

Blue Marble Training offers young people, aged 16-25 training towards careers in the catering industry. Many of the trainees have overcome challenging circumstances to join the programme, including homelessness, mental health problems, knife crime and gang violence. Blue Marble Training have been working in Norwich, joining the devising company with each chef and observing the restaurants during service. Throughout the run, the young chefs will deliver truly excellent food each night in a theatre setting.

A major new storytelling tool for theatre, Gastronomic sees Augmented Reality used to provide further narrative and visual depth to curious directive’s delivery. This has never been attempted before anywhere in the world.

Gastronomic is at Shoreditch Townhall 23rd September to 12th October 2019.

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