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Dead body sought by London casting crew

Story by Jack Foley

A DEAD body is being sought by a London-based theatre group to take a lead role in its forthcoming production.

The 1157performancegroup has made the unprecedented casting call, for use in its production of Dead: You Will Be, at a warehouse
studio, in Hackney, east London, for 18 nights in mid-May.

And while the announcement has proved dead handy in terms of gaining advance publicity, the directors are not anticipating any legal problems as they insist that the law only prevents dead bodies from being dissected in public, whereas they intend only to display it.

The consent of the donor of the body will be required beforehand, while the subject of death is to be dealt with seriously.

The play is designed to challenge modern taboos about a condition that comes to everybody at
some point, and the body will be required to 'lie in state' throughout the proceedings.

Jo Dagless, one of the company's artistic directors, even stated that the body 'will not necessarily be touched by the actors at all', although all such details would be worked out beforehand.

Tickets will be available to the public for the limited run, which is now expected to draw the morbidly curious.

Dagless maintains the body is needed to help the company 'dispel some of the mystery that surrounds death'.

She and fellow artistic director, Matthew Scott, anticipate that the respondent will be a terminally ill hospice resident, who has had a strong interest in confronting popular prejudices.

They are now in the process of writing to hospices and charities, for someone to come forward, and have already consulted an embalmer on how to treat the corpse, so that it can be used throughout the run.

Dead: You Will Be is scheduled to run at Space 44, in Hackney, from May 11. The 1157performancegroup is based at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, Maidenhead, Berkshire, SL6 4PF - for anyone thinking of applying!

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