Award-winning designer and Gate Associate Artist Rosie Elnile brings us Prayer, an online interactive sharing, as part of the venue’s 40th Anniversary Season.
In its original form, Prayer came from a longing to create a performance space that could hold audience and performer as equals, that could dismantle colonial story structures and engender collective acts of imagination.
It came from a need to engage with the climate crisis, and Anthony Simpson Pike (Associate Director at the Gate)’s provocation that the climate crisis is also a crisis of the imagination.
Prayer was not going to be a set, but an environment, filled with plants and life, a space in which we could collectively imagine something unknown, or something impossible.
Since the closure of the Gate Theatre due to Covid-19, the impossibility of the project made its fundamental ideas more possible.
Rosie has re-imagined the ideas alongside a personal journey as an artist. It’s an unfinished offer. It’s against design as a polished finished product. It’s against perfectionism.
Instead, it’s a sharing of thoughts about set design.
Rosie Elnile said ‘We imagined that instead of making a show in the Gate we would plant a garden – and that somehow by doing this we would make the Gate feel and act like a piece of common land. – what is the difference between an arts council funded building a piece of common land? The fact that the plants would operate in such a different way to the kinds of materials that we normally use to build set spawned a load of questions about how we design shows. The plants would need to be looked after – how amazing would it be to make a space that needed real care, from the audience, from the actors, from the creative team. What if for the 6 weeks that it normally takes us to make a show we all acted as gardeners?’
Prayer has grown into an online interactive sharing, a look at the process and the thinking behind the concept.
Prayer is about making something communal and hopeful, about creating a space that needs to be cared for, a space to imagine new futures.
Tickets available from www.gatetheatre.co.uk. Tickets are £5, but please consider donating more if you are able.