Actors Touring Company (ATC) will present The Golden Dragon at the Kurdistan International Theatre Festival in March 2012, with performances in Sulaymaniyah and Erbil, supported by the British Council.
The Golden Dragon is a co-production with the Drum Theatre and after a premiere in Plymouth, it opened to great acclaim at the Traverse Theatre as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. The production was also an Official Recommendation at the British Council’s Edinburgh Showcase 2011.
As a direct result of the Showcase, the production has already completed a very successful 3-week tour of India supported by the British Council in January 2012.
The play is a tragicomic fable set in a local takeaway. Fusing Brechtian distance with a heartfelt story of two young people being a long way from home, this an important and timely contribution to the debate on migration, presenting the harsh reality of the experience in stark theatrical form.
Five actors play a variety of characters – a Chinese migrant with toothache, two air stewardesses, the man who keeps the shop next door, a young woman whose boyfriend doesn’t want their baby – which highlights the interconnectedness of their lives in and around The Golden Dragon.
The Golden Dragon is Ramin Gray’s inaugural production as Artistic Director of ATC, following his 10 years at the Royal Court Theatre. It is the first English language production of the finest play to date by Germany’s most important contemporary playwright, Roland Schimmelpfennig.
ATC’s visit will represent a UK presence at the first Kurdistan International Theatre Festival. As well as performances, there will be creative exchange through a workshop run by Ramin Gray. This year’s international festival is a result of the successful Kurdistan National Theatre Festival last year and marks the revitalisation of theatre and cultural activity in the region.
The play is an innovative choice by the festival programmer Dana Malouf, who feels that the theme of dispossession in a globally interconnected world will have particular resonance with audiences in Kurdistan. ‘People in Kurdistan who left in the 1980s and 90s are now starting to return and bring their experiences from abroad,’ says Nick Williams, ATC’s Executive Director. ‘This show is all about journeying far away for a better life and what that does to a person.’
2-3 March: performances in Sulaymaniyah
3 Mar: Ramin Gray leads workshop in Sulaymaniyah
4-5 March: performances in Erbil
ATC’s tour to the region is part of the reinvigoration of the British Council’s arts programme where we are building long term creative relationships in Kurdistan and Iraq. Our other projects include the Erbil Literature Festival 2011 and support for the Iraqi Theatre Company’s Romeo and Juliet in Baghdad co-produced with the Royal Shakespeare Company which is going to the World Shakespeare Festival (Stratford-upon-Avon 26 April - 5 May; London 28-30 June 2012) as part of London 2012 Cultural Olympiad programme.