Burning Bird - Unicorn Theatre
Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle
SYNERGY Theatre Project is presenting Burning Bird, a new play for young people by John Donnelly, at the Unicorn Theatre – from November 14 to November 17, 2012.
The height of the summer and it’s Daisy’s fifteenth birthday. There is a curfew in place and trouble is brewing. School has been suspended and everywhere in the city feels like it’s changing. But Daisy has an important delivery to make across town.
Set against the backdrop of the London riots, Burning Bird questions the decisions we make and explores the freedoms we find when authority goes missing.
Written by John Donnelly and commissioned as part of Synergy’s education programme, Burning Bird was researched with prisoners, ex-prisoners and young people at risk. It follows the success of their previous productions for young people, including Holloway Jones by Evan Placey, which won the 2012 Brian Way Award.
John Donnelly is a past winner of both the PMA Award for Best New Writer and the NSDF Sunday Times Playwriting Award. His plays include Bone (Royal Court Theatre), The Knowledge (Bush Theatre) and The Russians (Tricycle Theatre).
Burning Bird is directed by Esther Baker, Artistic Director of Synergy Theatre Project, whose credits include Glengarry Glen Ross and Elmina’s Kitchen (HMP Brixton), Holloway Jones (Unicorn Theatre and schools tour), Every Coin (part of the Convictions Festival, Soho Theatre), Jesus Hopped the A Train (Trafalgar Studios), Shelagh Stephenson’s The Long Road (Soho Theatre), On the Waterfront (Wimbledon Studio Theatre), Burn and Someone to Watch Over Me (Southwark Playhouse).
The cast is made up of professional and ex-prisoner actors and includes Simone James, Anil Kumar, Catherine Nix-Collins, Valentine Olukoga, Debbie Samuel and Michael Smith.
The production is designed by Katy McPhee, with video and sound design by Chris Beston.
Burning Bird is touring London schools until November 12, 2012.
In schools, the cast will lead a post-show discussion immediately after the performance addressing the issues raised by the play, and there is also an accompanying workshop, led by a professional theatre practitioner assisted by the ex-prisoner facilitators trained by Synergy.
The Unicorn will also host two Q&A sessions with the cast after the 2pm performance on November 15 and after the 7pm performance on November 16.
Tickets: Under 21s £10; Adults £16; Concessions £13; Schools £10 (1 teacher goes free for every 10 students paid); Family ticket 20% off when you buy 4 tickets (must include at least one Under 21 ticket). Available from the box office on 020 7645 0560 or online at unicorntheatre.com/.
Times: Wednesday to Friday at 7pm, Wednesday to Saturday matinees at 2pm.
Running Time: Approximately 55 minutes (no interval).