Ahead of its final voyage to the National Theatre in London, The Galley has arrived at Penshaw Monument as the fourth episode of this epic production takes place in Sunderland.
Journeying alongside the productions of the multi-location production of The Odyssey, The Galley, a 10-metre-long ship crafted from bamboo and rope, has been appearing in public places including markets, beaches and parks across Stoke, Doncaster, Trowbridge and Sunderland to collect messages of remembrance from the local community. Members of the community are invited to write their own messages to loved ones and tie colourful ribbons onto the ship, which will be displayed at the National Theatre in August for the culmination of this national journey.
The Galley represents Odysseus’ epic voyage and the nationwide connection between the communities who will tell the story. The Galley is part of the National Theatre’s multi-location production of The Odyssey told over five parts, with each episode of Odysseus’ journey created and performed by local artists and communities.
The fourth episode of The Odyssey, The Island of the Sun will be performed at The Fire Station (for Sunderland Culture in partnership with Sunderland Empire) this Friday 28 April and Saturday 29 April. An epic tale of stormy seas, mythical monsters and vengeful gods, The Island of the Sun follows Odysseus’ long, perilous journey home and is full of hope, determination and Mackem soul. This contemporary take on a key chapter of The Odyssey is written by Lindsay Rodden, directed by Annie Rigby with music by The Young’uns’ Sean Cooney.
Playwright Linsday Rodden said, “As well as being known for its industrial heritage and its tradition in music and storytelling, Sunderland is a city by the sea, so is a perfect setting for The Island of the Sun. I had two challenges when thinking about how to tell the story of Odysseus – how to make an Ancient Greek poem relevant for today, and also how to write a piece for a cast of 30, which is an unusual, but very interesting challenge for a playwright.”
The first three episodes were performed at Restoke in Stoke, Cast in Doncaster and Trowbridge Town Hall in Trowbridge. The final part of this epic journey will culminate at the National Theatre on 26 – 28 August featuring community performers from all previous performances as well as members recruited through Public Acts founding community partners, founding theatre partner Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, and Trybe House Theatre in London.
The production is a joyful celebration of national community marking the fifth anniversary of Public Acts, the NT’s nationwide programme to create extraordinary acts of theatre and community.
The Galley will be displayed at Roker Beach in Sunderland today (28 April).