Casting has been announced for the return to the stage of Theatre-Rites, the highly acclaimed children’s theatre company who celebrate their 25th anniversary this year. Amplifying diverse voices from a team of international collaborators, The Global Playground will premiere at the Manchester International Festival and online this July.
The cast is comprised of acclaimed dancers Jahmarley Bachelor (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, ZooNation; Mariposa: A Transgender Tragedy, Denada Dance), Annie Edwards (A Kate Prince Company; ZooNation), Kennedy Junior Muntanga (Phoenix Dance Theatre; Chotto Xenos, Akram Khan Company) and Charmene Pang (Iceland Dance Company; Isadora Now: A Triple Bill, The Barbican). They are joined by puppeteer and actor Sean Garratt (A Christmas Carol, National Theatre of Scotland; The Table, Blind Summit Theatre) and renowned percussionist Merlin Jones (Birmingham Symphony Orchestra; Opera North).
The Global Playground follows a group of dancers who meet to make a film with their nervous and chaotic director but things get wonderfully weird when the camera takes on a life of its own. Mixing dance, music, theatre and puppetry, The Global Playground examines how a camera’s gaze often reveals more than we bargained for. It will be presented both in person and online – digital viewers will gain a unique insight as the camera itself becomes a character on stage.
Throughout lockdown, human relationships have both grown and become more disjointed through digital connections. We can now connect with anyone in person and on screen – but is the camera our friend, our playmate, or something else entirely? The Global Playground explores the magic of our first encounters and is perfect for children and families. Audiences are invited to celebrate who we are and who we cherish, reflecting on a society where our digital and real selves coexist in discord or cohesion.
Following the sell-out success of The Welcoming Party at Manchester International Festival 2017, The Global Playground will be directed by Theatre-Rites’ Artistic Director, Sue Buckmaster (The Welcoming Party; Chotto Desh, Akram Khan Company) with choreography from acclaimed South African dancer Gregory Maqoma (Vuyani Dance Theatre). Designing the production is renowned scenographer and artist Ingrid Hu (A Slightly Annoying Elephant, Little Angel Theatre; Curiouser, Flexer & Sandiland with dybwikdanss, UK and Norway tour).