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American Repertory Theater presents the North American Premiere of British company Punchdrunk


The American Repertory Theater is proud to be hosting pioneering British theater company Punchdrunk in its North American premiere. Co-created by Punchdrunk and the A.R.T., Sleep No More is an immersive multi-sensory theater installation inspired by Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Hitchcock’s classic thrillers. The Old Lincoln School in Brookline Village is being transformed into a supernatural landscape that will give audiences the experience of traveling through a hybrid theatrical-cinematic world.

Shakespeare’s fallen hero.

Hitchcock’s shadow of suspense.

“These things are mysteries, not to be explained; But you will understand when you get there alone.” — Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus

This manifesto quotation sits at the portal to Punchdrunk’s website (www.punchdrunk.org.uk). Punchdrunk is the UK’s leading exponent of immersive theatre. Based in London, the company produces original works of installation performance on an epic scale.

Since its foundation in 2000, the company has developed a phenomenal reputation for transformative productions that fuse intense, physical storytelling, music, and large-scale installation art.

Punchdrunk focuses as much on the audience and the performance space as on the performers, narrative, and text. A team of designers takes over deserted spaces and applies a cinematic level of detail to immerse the audience in the world of the play.
Punchdrunk rejects the passive obedience expected of audiences in conventional theater. Their desire is for the audience to rediscover the childlike excitement and anticipation of exploring the unknown, and experience a real sense of adventure. Audiences have the freedom to roam the installed environment and experience an individual sensory journey as they choose what to watch and where to go.

This is a unique theatrical experience where the line between performer and spectator is extraordinarily blurred. Audiences experience the essence of participation, shedding their customary identity to more deeply follow and enjoy their own imaginations.

About the Creators of Sleep No More
Felix Barrett is Artistic Director of Punchdrunk and a graduate and Honorary Fellow in Drama, University of Exeter. Felix has conceived, designed, and directed all of Punchdrunk’s productions since founding the company in 2000. He is a Critics’ Circle, Drama Award winner (Best Design, Faust, 2006) and one of the first recipients of a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Breakthrough Fund award (November 2008), which supports exceptional arts practitioners in the development of their vision. Most recently, he directed (with Tom Morris) the Stoppard/Previn Every Good Boy Deserves Favour at the National Theatre, London, and It Felt Like A Kiss, a collaboration between Punchdrunk, documentary filmmaker Adam Curtis, and rock musician Damon Albarn for the Manchester International Festival (2009).

Maxine Doyle, Co-director and Choreographer, is a Bonnie Bird Choreography Award winner and Year of the Artist commission recipient. Trained in London where she received her MA, she was artistic director of First Person. Her full-length works include Plastic Chill (1999/2000) and It’s Only a Game Show (2002). Other choreographic commissions include Rough and Tumble, Who Dunnit?, Picnic, and The House that Jack Built. She was a semi-finalist, with Felix Barrett, for The Place Prize in 2006. Maxine’s association with Punchdrunk began with Sleep No More (2003) and she has co-directed Woyceck (2004), The Firebird Ball, Marat/Sade, The Yellow Wallpaper (2005), Faust (2006), The Masque of the Red Death (2007), and Tunnel 228 (2009). Maxine’s recent work as choreographer or theater includes Timon of Athens (Shakespeare’s Globe, 2008) and Every Good Boy Deserves Favour (National Theatre, 2009).

Colin Marsh, Executive Director, trained in drama and dance at Dartington College of Arts and at Exeter University (Rolle College, Exmouth). He worked as a professional actor for over twenty years, in fringe, repertory, for the RSC and in the West End, on TV and radio, appearing in over 70 productions, including the original London cast of Les Misérables (1985-86). He moved into arts management in 1997 and has produced all of Punchdrunk’s work since the original version of Sleep No More in 2003. Colin is one of the first recipients, with Felix Barrett, of a Paul Hamlyn Foundation Breakthrough Fund award (2008-11).

Punchdrunk will be performed at the Old Lincoln School is located at 194 Boylston Street (Route 9 Eastbound) in Brookline, close to Brookline Village. Public Transportation: Green Line, Brookline Village or Brookine Hills stops. The Old Lincoln School is accessible to persons with special needs and to those requiring wheelchair seating or first-floor restrooms. See below for parking information.

The A.R.T. is partnering with several Brookline Village area restaurants for discounted dining offered to A.R.T. ticketholders prior to the performances. The featured restaurant partner is La Morra, located down the street from the Sleep No More production, offering authentic food in a family-friendly atmosphere. In honor of their partnership with the A.R.T., La Morra offers a three-course prix fixe menu for $30.00. La Morra will also bring their dining, culinary and entertaining expertise to the ‘Blues Bar’ located inside the Sleep No More production, where patrons will be transported back to a 1930’s London bar, enjoying live music, delicious treats, and swanky cocktails.

Compiled from the press release courtesy of the American Repertory Theater (website | profile | tag archive).

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