Through the Wilderness
A Work in Development
Through The Wilderness
A new piece of Choral Dance Theatre
Co-created by Jen Heyes and John Browne
Composed by John Browne | Directed by Jen Heyes
Venue: Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
Irish-born composer John Browne recently wrote the music for The Suppliant Women – which premiered in Switzerland, before gaining 5-star reviews at Royal Lyceum Edinburgh and Manchester Royal Exchange, and will be going to The Young Vic this autumn – and The Events (Guardian’s no.1 theatre show of 2013). Both of these productions feature community choirs at their heart. He has also created works for Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Westminster Abbey, and Southbank Centre, and choral arrangements for the band Elbow.
Through The Wilderness is the story of a man who suffers a crisis. He leaves his home and his family and wanders out into the wilderness in search of some kind of truth. The man in our story is a contemporary everyman/everywoman, the crisis is one of meaning. This agonised quest for meaning is universal, and we place that search in our contemporary secular age, in the contexts of ever-growing materialism and inequality, information overload and technological advance. To create the piece we combined extracts from some classic texts about the human condition with some popular songs. The words we use are extracts from The Pilgrim’s Progress, Huckleberry Finn, and a few lyrics from Bjork and The Smiths.
Our intention to bring together diverse range of voices and experiences so that we can consider our theme from a rounded perspective. This is a piece in development; Co-creators John Browne and Jen Heyes met whilst working with a group of vulnerable adults for Opera North and St George’s Crypt in Leeds. This collaboration led them to develop an idea for a new piece of choral theatre which they felt compelled to explore.
The intention is for Through The Wilderness to grow into a larger piece in the future.
The piece currently lasts about 35 minutes and is in 7 sections:
All This Noise
All Cramped Up
Lighting Designer Cath Cullinane
Production Assistant Holly Lewis
Production Assistant Charlie Mortimer
Organist Daniel Bishop
Piano Stephen Mannings
Percussion Oliver Pooley
Rehearsal pianist Neill Quinton
Vocal Leader (Community Choir) Saphena Aziz
LCYC director Stephen Mannings
PR and Marketing Bill Elms Associates
Text consultant Johnny Hanrahan
Photographs Mark Lounon
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Liverpool Cathedral Youth Choir
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Tom Harrison House is specialist addiction recovery treatment for military veterans.
Liverpool Iranian Community are seeking asylum in the UK.
Fallen Angels Dance Theatre provides high quality dance theatre experiences for people in recovery from addiction.