By Joshua Robinson –
A new uniquely Yorkshire adaptation of Beowulf comes to Huddersfield between 8 – 11 November.
The oldest known English poem has been adapted by five Yorkshire-based poets, Chris O’Connor, Franc Chamberlain, Ian McMillan, Joel Simmy, and Michelle Scally-Clarke, working with composer Leighton Jones (Beware of Trains) and Supriya Nagarajan (Manasamitra), on an original score telling the story of a female Beowulf with a visually arresting, musical celebration.
The Danish Kingdom is cloaked in mourning for the legendary King Halfdane. In a display of strength, his son Hrothgar, heir to the throne, is set to lead his father’s funeral procession in front of his people. Audiences are cordially invited to immerse themselves in the royal spectacle where Beowulf’s epic tale begins in Kirklees.
The performances are suitable for all the family and will include a foreboding Viking procession along the streets of Kirklees, starting at the Byram Arcade and travelling to St Peter’s Church.
Once the audience arrives at the Church, they will be transported to Herot, the Great Mead Hall of King Hrothgar, where they will take their seats to the sound of a 60-strong community choir, singing original choral pieces composed by Leighton Jones and be absorbed in the tale of the mighty Beowulf and her battle with the monster, Grendel, and the final conquest of the awe-inspiring dragon in defence of Hrothgar’s kingdom.
The production brings together artists and creatives from Kirklees and Yorkshire to celebrate the richness and diversity of the district; the team includes James Beale (Artistic Director), Lara Booth (Design), Chloë Whitehead (Movement Choreography), and Howard Jacobs (lead Viking and design consultant).
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Beowulf marks the latest production from theatre company Proper Job, producers of large-scale theatre events who also nurture individuals from the local community across Yorkshire and the North West. Proper Job also created The Trial (2021), Dorian (2019), Medusa (2017), Nosferatu (2015).
James Beale from Proper Job Theatre said: “We’re so excited to create our very Yorkshire adaptation of Beowulf in Huddersfield featuring a cast and creative team almost exclusively from the region.”
“It is through the funding from Kirklees Council via Kirklees Year of Music and Arts Council England that we’re able to present Beowulf and realise it at this ambitious scale, bringing original live music into our work in a way that we haven’t done before.”
Cllr Yusra Hussain, Cabinet Member for Culture, added: “Beowulf is one of the highlights of our closing few months of Kirklees Year of Music. Everyone is welcome to watch the free procession or buy a ticket to see the show.”
“This innovative production provides another opportunity for people, from the district and beyond, to come together and experience music and culture whilst also supporting our local creative sector.”
Show Times and Tickets
From Wednesday 8 – Friday 10 November, the performances will be at 7.30 pm, and on Saturday, 11 November, the performance will be at 5.30 pm and 8.00 pm. The run time will be 2 hours.
Tickets are available from £20 now from Lawrence Batley Theatre: https://www.thelbt.org/what-s-on/music/beowulf/