Edited by Colin Hambrook
The Orpheus Centre, a performing arts college for young disabled adults in Godstone, Surrey, are performing, ‘The Tempest', directed by Jenny Sealey MBE, who is newly announced as Co-Artistic Director of the Paralympic Games Opening Ceremony.
On the 14 July the show will be heading to The Rose Theatre, Kingston as part of the International Youth Arts Festival. Orpheus are also returning to The Linbury Studio Theatre at The Royal Opera House, for their 11th consecutive performance, on 17 July.
Jenny has directed all of Graeae’s productions since joining Graeae as Artistic Director in 1997; including the award winning The Iron Man and Reasons to be Cheerful. Jenny is fuelled by her passion to find a new theatrical voice across the ‘aesthetics of access’ (sign language and audio description, diverse physicality and differing voices etc.), from the very beginning of the artistic process.
‘The Tempest’ is a story of independence, discrimination and falling in love. Orpheus re-tell the Shakespeare story through an innovative and original piece of theatre, centred around an inner city industrial wasteland.
The story holds significance for Orpheus students, because of the resonances that exist for its young disabled people. The central themes of parental control and exclusion from mainstream society are very rich for the Orpheus artists, who are on a journey from segregated, institutionalised lives to independence.
Orpheus productions have consistently achieved exceptionally high artistic standards. The Orpheus approach to developing emerging artists is to place professional expectations on them. As a result, new audiences, who often say that they were cautious prior to seeing the work, have been overwhelmed by the talent and professionalism on display.
This is what some of the Orpheus students have to say about working with Jenny Sealey on The Tempest:
Holly: “I really enjoyed working with Jenny and learning new skills.”
Peter: “It has been hard work, but a brilliant learning experience. I didn’t realise how different the work would be.”
Ollie: “Jenny has made it really easy to learn the show and it has been great fun!”
Ed: “This has been a dream come true. I love Shakespeare and this production has a great interpretation of the Tempest story. The whole experience has been life-fulfilling – the best thing I have ever done. Jenny is amazing and this will me in future as I aim to move into this kind of work.”
Stephen: “It means a lot to help other students and help make the show come to life. Jenny is such a fantastic director as she knows how to get the best out of everyone’s abilities.”
Ticket booking details:
Thursday 14th July 7pm at the Rose Theatre, Kingston
Box Office: www.kingston.gov.uk. Follow ‘BOOK IT’. 020 8547 5417
Sunday 17th July 7:30pm at the Linbury Studio Theatre, Royal Opera House, London
Tickets: £20 / £15/ £10 Standing.
Box Office: www.roh.org.uk. 020 7304 4000
To find out more about The Orpheus Centre go to www.orpheus.org.uk