The Grange Festival announces new promenade production

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Hampshire venue offers outdoor performances of new work combining music, dance, poetry and circus

Back in March, at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, Michael Chance, the countertenor and the artistic director of The Grange Festival, wrote in a statement: ‘We must cancel. There is nothing else we can do.’ Five months later, and the 2020 festival has announced a new production, Precipice, announced for August 21-23 which, says Chance, ‘is a demonstration of the power of live music, dance, theatre and art as a source of meaning and hope and redemption’.

Created by director Sinéad O’Neill and designed by Joanna Parker, the outdoor immersive promenade performance will take place four times a day, guiding up to 60 people at a time through musical scenes, dance, acrobatics and poetry. Actor, writer and director Tonderai Munyevu will weave spoken text through the myriad elements, to be performed on the varied natural stages offered by the buildings and gardens of the historic Hampshire house.

The musical scenes, with live orchestral accompaniment, will include Sir John Tomlinson performing a Hans Sachs monologue from Wagner’s Die Meistersinger, and two prize-winners from the Grange Festival International Singing Competition 2019 – soprano Kiandra Howarth and mezzo-soprano Claire Barnett-Jones – performing the Flower Duet from Delibes’s Lakmé. In addition, the Grange Festival Chorus will perform music by composers including Bach, Poulenc and Boulanger.

With Dance@TheGrange now an established component of the annual festival, Precipice features a specially staged version of Shobana Jeyasingh’s 2018 work Contagion, performed by four members of Jeyasingh’s company, and a new piece by Ballet Black’s Mthuthuzeli November.

‘The journey which the audience will be asked to take is on many levels: physical, emotional and philosophical,’ says Chance. ‘It is a response to the extreme challenges of this very moment in all our lives.’

Tickets are on sale from August 4 and are available from The Grange Festival website.

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