Performing Arts students are putting on an immersive show in a Peckham arts café, based on an ancient Greek tragedy and an outdoor summer trance festival.
The 25 members of The Nexus Ensemble, Nescot’s Higher Education students, are devising and performing in The Bacchae, written by Euripides in Macedonia in the year 405 BC.
The Bacchae is a story of revenge and repercussions, with themes including revolution, religion, governance, violence, forgiveness and the concept of ‘madness’.
Gavin Maxwell, who is section leader for Performing Arts and co-directing with colleague Jamie Roberts, said the ensemble have used the tragedy and Portugal’s Boom Festival to create an immersive piece set in the future.
“It’s a really interesting piece, because the students are taking such varied ideas from such varied sources,” he said.
“The audience will be made to feel part of The Bacchae psychologically through the whole experience of watching it and becoming involved in it.”
Gavin said that although people may feel intimidated by the concept of ‘immersive theatre’, the students felt that the success of initiatives such as ‘secret cinema’ – where audience members are encouraged to dress up and bring props to screenings held in secret locations – shows that there is an appetite for the medium.
The audience will be encouraged to travel around the venue with performers, and will be encouraged to make their own choices, resulting in a unique experience for each audience member.
“The idea is that everyone will see and hear slightly different things, so they’ll be able to talk about it afterwards and think about the themes and issues and the performance in a really interesting way,” Gavin added.
“The students are involved in all aspects, from devising, performing, making costumes and props, marketing the show and choosing the music.
“We expect them to go above and beyond the traditional remits of an actor or performer so that they finish at Nescot with the capacity to create their own work and to create opportunities themselves.
“It’s also a great experience for the students to be performing at such a vibrant and exciting venue as the CLF Art Café in Peckham, and we’re hoping it will lead to a longer-term collaboration.”
The Bacchae is being performed at 8pm on the 10, 11, 12 and 13 of June at The CLF Art Café in The Bussey Building on Rye Lane in Peckham.
Tickets are £10, or £8 for concessions, which on Saturday includes entry to the cafe's Hawaiian Bop event. Discounts can be negotiated for large groups.
To book, call the café on 020 7732 5275 or visit clfartcafe.org