Teenagers from Storyhouse’s Young Company are lending the power of their voices to an exciting new adaptation of the Greek classic Antigone this autumn.
Members of the Young Company 14-16 group will appear as the Chorus when the play by award-winning poet Hollie McNish is premiered at Hunter Street next month.
Meanwhile others from the company, which offers real-life experience for young people interested in all aspects of theatre, are involved in the rehearsals process in key backstage roles.
The traditional Chorus in Greek theatre was made up of older men whose role was to describe and comment on the story unfolding on stage.
This new version of Sophocles’ classic tragedy instead gives a vital voice to the next generation.
Young Storyhouse Manager Hayley Lindley-Thornhill explains: “We felt the 14 to 16s would be able to tell that story and capture that chorus of youth which Hollie was looking for.
“They’re at that stage where they want their voices to be heard; they’ve got lots of really great things to say, and they’re very passionate. But they find they’re not being listened to, they’re not being heard, and their opinions aren’t being welcomed.”
She adds: “These young people are so proactive and tuned in, they know what they’re talking about and what they want their future to be. It’s really inspiring.”
Antigone is a timely retelling of Sophocles’ deadly political drama.
When Oedipus’s sons Eteocles and Polyneices kill each other in a bitter battle for the throne of Thebes, their uncle Creon declares himself king and decrees that while Eteocles be buried, Polyneices is a traitor and his body should be left outside the city walls to rot.
It is up to Antigone to brave her uncle’s wrath and honour her brother by giving him the burial he deserves – even if it means her own death in return.
The young Chorus will join professional cast members including Fatima Niemogha in the title role, Raffie Julien as Antigone’s sister Ismene, Ken Christiansen as Creon and Jim Findley as the blind prophet Tiresias.
The Storyhouse Originals production is co-produced with Manchester-based TripleC, a key gateway organisation for disabled people’s access to the arts and media.
It will be fully signed along with embedded captioning throughout.
British Sign Language consultant Amy Helena is the Chorus leader – or ‘coryphaeus’ – and Julien, who is also acting as movement director, has also been teaching the Young Company signing to perform as part of their role.
Antigone runs at Storyhouse from 13-23 October and will also be live streamed.
Tickets are on sale now priced from £18 for adults and £7 for under 26s.
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Wednesday, 13 October – Saturday, 23 October
7.30pm, with 2.30pm matinees on 16, 17 and 23 October
Tickets from £18/£7 for Under 26s
Storyhouse is one of the UK’s foremost cultural centres incorporating a library, theatres and a cinema. It is one of the country’s most successful arts buildings, with more than one million customer visits each year.
The pioneering new library within Storyhouse, where members of the community work alongside city librarians, boasts the longest opening hours of any UK public library and is open every day until 11pm. It runs over 2,000 sessions a year for marginalised communities
The company also runs a highly successful theatre company and the country’s most successful regional open-air theatre, in the city’s Grosvenor Park and Moonlight Flicks open air cinema.
Storyhouse currently holds the official title as the UK’s Most Welcoming Theatre and was the overall national winner in the 2018 Guardian Public Service Awards
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