IN the wake of their stage recreation of George A. Romero’s classic zombie movie Night Of The Living Dead ™- Remix, Leeds company Imitating The Dog and Leeds Playhouse are joining forces again from tonight to stage the première of the raucous and deliciously dark new tale Dr Blood’s Old Travelling Show.
This show will play as part of Leeds Playhouse’s reopening season of work, designed to safely reintroduce audiences to the live theatre experience, showcasing the vibrancy and resilience of the artists and venues creating work within the Leeds City Region.
Directed and written by Imitating The Dog’s co-artistic directors Andrew Quick and Pete Brooks, Dr Blood’s Old Travelling Show will open outside Leeds Playhouse on Playhouse Square tonight and tomorrow and will then tour until October 24.
Imitating The Dog bring their theatrical and technical acumen to this unique outdoor live theatre experience. Their innovative story-telling skills will create this dark tale of mischief and immorality, drawing on classic horror movies and the traditions of carnival and medicine shows.
Set in a mythical North and made for these strange times of lockdown, Dr Blood and his motley crew tell a tale of the price paid for pursuing ambition, hypocrisy, and greed.
Imitating The Dog co-director Andrew Quick says: “It’s a strange time to be making a new show but we are really looking forward to meeting the new challenges of creating work in the present conditions.
“We felt it was important to keep going and create a piece that was not only magical and entertaining but will abide by social distancing guidance and be COVID 19 safe. It will be a challenge to make but it is a hugely entertaining production that is scary in parts but also full of fun, with some deep and dark themes running through it.
“We’ll be using screen and camera technologies for which we are known and I just can’t wait to share with audiences and venues like Leeds Playhouse that have supported us over the past decade and for us all to come together and experience all the joys of live theatre outdoors.”
Leeds Playhouse artistic director James Brining says: “We are working together with all our theatre partners to make sure that everyone who is coming back to watching live theatre does so in a safe environment.
“It is fantastic to see artists and theatre companies who throughout this time have grabbed the opportunity to create new work and explore different ways to entertain an audience. We are thrilled to be working once again with Imitating The Dog, who are constantly looking at new ways to create theatre and, in this case, will showcase the beautiful new space on Playhouse Square.”
The production’s creative team will feature design by Laura Hopkins (Black Watch and Peter Pan, National Theatre of Scotland; The Divide, Edinburgh International Festival and The Old Vic, and projection and video design by Simon Wainwright (Night Of The Living Dead ™- Remix, Imitating The Dog and Leeds Playhouse and The Kid Stays In The Picture, Royal Court).
Lighting is by Andrew Crofts (Night Of The Living Dead ™- Remix, Imitating The Dog and Leeds Playhouse and Trash Cuisine, Belarus Free Theatre and The Young Vic); original music has been composed by James Hamilton and models made by Matthew Tully.
After Leeds Playhouse, further Yorkshire performances follow at The Courtyard, Piece Hall, Halifax, on October 9 and 10. Plans are afoot to release a filmed version for streaming: watch this space for more details
In line with current Government guidelines, audiences will have a limited capacity with social distancing in place. To check ticket availability for Leeds Playhouse, go to leedsplayhouse.org.uk.
All ticket proceeds from the tour will go to support the tour venues during the lockdown.