INNOVATIVE Leeds theatre company Imitating The Dog are responding to the Coronavirus restrictions by going online with a fortnightly streaming.
Their cutting-edge work from the past 20 years will be made available through their website, imitatingthedog.co.uk, kicking off tomorrow (April 3) with projection project Oh, The Night!.
Every fortnight on Fridays for the foreseeable future, Imitating The Dog will release the next in a selection from their theatre performances and sited work.
Look out, in particular, for 2020’s Night Of The Living Dead – Remix, a shot-for-shot stage re-creation of George A Romero’s cult 1968 zombie movie, made in co-production with Leeds Playhouse, streaming on April 17.
Further performances will include Arrivals And Departures, a strange and fantastical bedtime story, commissioned in 2017 by Hull: UK City of Culture to look at the East Yorkshire port’s legacy of migration, on May 1, and 6 Degrees Below The Horizon, a macabre and playful tale involving sailors, pimps, barflies, chorus girls and nightclub singers, on May 15. Projection project Yorkshire Electric, on May 29, uses clips from the Yorkshire Film Archive.
Further productions will be announced through social media in the coming weeks. Each will remain on the website and can be viewed on a Pay-What-You-Like basis.
The resulting income will go into a development fund to facilitate the company supporting freelance artists and practitioners to create new work.
Co-artistic director Simon Wainwright says: “With the end of our own Night Of The Living Dead – Remix tour being cancelled and so, so many events and performances now postponed, we thought we’d make some of our past shows available for people to watch online.
“We’re in a lucky position to have some fantastic recordings of past work, mostly filmed by our friends Shot By Sodium. It’s obviously no substitute for the real thing but in these isolated days, and until we can get together in a room again, we hope these videos will provide joy, thinking and entertainment in equal measure.”
Fusing live performance with digital technology, Imitating The Dog’s two decades of ground-breaking work for theatres and other spaces has been seen by hundreds of thousands of people at venues, outdoor festivals and events across the world.
Among other past productions are Hotel Methuselah, A Farewell To Arms and Heart Of Darkness, while their sited work has included light festivals.
For more information and to watch productions from April 3, go to imitatingthedog.co.uk/watch/.
Here are the upcoming productions:
Friday, April 3: Oh, The Night!
ONE wintry night, a bedtime story is being told, but it’s late, time for the light to go off, time for the story to pause until tomorrow night.
However, one child starts to wonder… one child at first, but then another… and another. It might be bedtime and it might be late but without the end to the story how can they possibly sleep?
What’s happened to the characters? Where have they gone? Are they just stranded there, waiting for earth to turn its circle, so their story can carry on the next night?
The children decide to find out. They creep past the grown-ups, out of the house and to who knows where to find out what happens and how their story ends.
They find bears and foxes, monsters and ghouls, elves and wizards all stranded in the night, hiding or hunting, not knowing who to scare or where to run. All stuck in a place between.
Together, they go on a journey through the night, to the morning and to the safety of the light.
Performed in Hull, Oh, The Night! combined elements of bedtime stories gathered from around the north of Europe to create a new fable for 2018. The work was commissioned by Absolutely Cultured for Urban Legends: Northern Lights and featured a community chorus and soundtrack from Finnish composer Lau Nau.
Friday, April 17: Night Of The Living Dead – Remix
IN 1968, Night Of the Living Dead started out as a low-budget independent horror movie by George A Romero, telling the story of seven strangers taking refuge from flesh-eating ghouls in an isolated farmhouse.
Fifty years on, seven performers enter the stage armed with cameras, a box of props and a rail of costumes. Can they recreate the ground-breaking film, shot-for-shot before our eyes and undertake the seemingly impossible?
Requiring 1,076 edits in 95 minutes, it is an heroic struggle. Success will demand wit, skill and ingenuity and is by no means guaranteed.
Night Of The Living Dead – Remix is an Imitating The Dog and Leeds Playhouse co-production, presented by courtesy of Image Ten, Inc.
Friday, May 1: Arrivals And Departures
IMITATING The Dog’s work for Hull: UK City of Culture 2017 put a poetic spin on the history of arrivals in and departures from the city. The piece looked at the past of migration from a contemporary perspective, exploring the journeys that have gathered a population and moulded a landscape.
Using The Deep, in Hull, as both canvas and building blocks, Arrivals And Departures pulled together strands of the complex and universal issues of migration as a wider subject matter.
The work was created as part of the Made In Hull opening celebrations for Hull: UK City of Culture.
Friday, May 15: 6 Degrees Below The Horizon
THIS macabre and playful tale of sailors, pimps, barflies, chorus girls and nightclub singers is a startling and visually stunning work, where the audience views the action through windows and moving frames. In doing so, they piece together a modern fable of failed dreams, lost love and the guilt of absent fatherhood.
Building on the successes of Hotel Methuselah and Kellerman, in 2012 the company created an immersive experience for audiences with a captivating fusion of cinema and theatre.
Part French film, part Edwardian vaudeville, and drawing on the works of Genet, Wedekind, and Brecht,6 Degrees Below The Horizon undertakes a delightful and twisted voyage into a shadowy world wherein there are no certainties.
Friday, May 29: Yorkshire Electric
YORKSHIRE Electric travels from the dales to the coast on board the footage of the Yorkshire Film Archive.
Using video mapping, intricate lighting and a soundtrack from the Leeds band Hope & Social, the show transformed the Spa Theatre, Scarborough, offering the audience the opportunity to wander through 100 years of Yorkshire lives and landscapes, from the farming hills to the holiday beaches and back again.
Bringing together Imitating The Dog and architectural lighting specialist Phil Supple, the piece offered the opportunity to enjoy rarely seen footage of a century of Yorkshire life in your own time.