Ipswich theatre company Gecko bag National Theatre commission
- Credit: Todd MacDonald
Leading physical theatre company Gecko have announced a major commission from the National Theatre which will lead to £45,000 being pumped into the local economy and a world premiere being staged in Ipswich in 2022.
The internationally renowned company, which is building its new headquarters on the Waterfront adjacent to DanceEast, has revealed that the new work, as yet untitled, will be developed in the town and will lead to the company’s local freelancers sharing in a wages pot totalling £100,000.
Gecko’s artistic director, Amit Lahav said that this well-earned commission was welcome news and would provide vital support in their return to work after a difficult year for the theatre industry.
The show, currently in development, will premiere in Ipswich and tour from autumn 2022 before performing at the National Theatre in 2023. The show explores the themes of family, home, migration and racism.
Amit Lahav, said: “I am thrilled to be developing this new show commissioned by the National Theatre and can’t wait for the company to perform there for the first time in 2023. This is the perfect start to the next chapter for the company and my own artistic journey.
He said that he and the devising performers will bring their own experiences of migration, family, home and racism to the show’s creation.
“It feels right to be making a piece that explores migration, racism and family, particularly when reflecting on the events of the last 18 months.
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"It is a theme that is incredibly important for our audience, Gecko and the National Theatre and we’re excited to be continuing and deepening our relationships together as we enter our next phase of research and development.”
Rehearsals are currently taking place in Ipswich, with a company of 20, including performers, designers and theatre technicians based in the waterfront town for the entire six-week development period,
Amit spends at least three years creating a new production which sees him go through periods of highly intensive experimentation in a rehearsal studio, to periods of solitary research and reflection.
The show is currently in the writing phase, involving storyboarding, experimentation with design and movement ideas, and rehearsals with the company’s creative team and international ensemble of devising performers.
The National Theatre’s Director, Rufus Norris, said: “I’ve been following Gecko’s work for a number of years and have a growing admiration for their dynamic and fearless approach to story in motion.
"Allied to this their commitment to internationalism, with completely integrated educational work, as well as their deeply embedded UK wide touring ethos, is hugely impressive. Their presence at the National Theatre is overdue, and we look forward very much to them being with us.”