Theatre: Nineveh

I was just sent this press release for a physical theatre show which may be of interest to you guys…

Theatre Témoin presents
directed by Ailin Conant, written by Julia Pascal
at Riverside Studios from 16 April to 11 May (press night: Thursday 18 April at 7.30pm)

“Inspired by the testimonies of international soldiers, Nineveh is a fantastical and inventive physical show that considers what happens when a soldier leaves the war zone. The show was created by award-winning playwright Julia Pascal (Crossing Jerusalem, The Dybbuk) and Ailin Conant (Artistic Director of Theatre Témoin). This theatre experience is made as a result of Conant’s work with ex-fighters, peace activists, ageing veterans and child soldiers in Rwanda, Lebanon, Israel and Kashmir.

Once there was a boy. The war had taken his hands and arms. When he went home, his family didn’t recognise him. “You have no arms”, they said, “you are not our son”. They threw him into the river, where a giant fish swallowed him.

This stunning new play is based on the stories of ex-combatants and child soldiers that Ailin Conant encountered through The Return Project, in which she created theatre with people in four countries over a year. The result is a magical and timeless tale of four ex-soldiers adrift in a mysterious vessel. It explores the relationships between four different men and their attempts to escape their past and present.

Ailin Conant, Theatre Témoin: ‘Some experiences are too enormous to derive meaning from in any rational way. I could spend forever talking about the people and stories I’ve encountered and still fail to communicate the things that were most significant and affecting. For that reason, we create theatre.’

The production has been created with the support of War Child, Amnesty UK, Queen Mary, University of London, and Arts Council England. The Return Project ( ) was supported by Wellesley College and the Mary Elvira Stevens Travelling Fellowship.

Theatre Témoin: the act of witnessing does not exist as a verb in French.
One can only ‘be a witness’ passively: ‘être témoin’. The active verb, ‘témoigner’, means ‘to testify’.

Theatre Témoin is a physical theatre company that creates work that is daring, socially engaged, and fun. It collaborates with people, companies and communities internationally to make high quality theatre that provokes change because it is personal, not because it is didactic.

Theatre Témoin’s most recent show was The Fantasist – ‘an examination of the bipolar state which uses puppetry to seriously good effect’ (Lyn Gardner, The Guardian). The Fantasist received critical acclaim including numerous five star reviews during the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2012, and tours the UK and Ireland in 2013. Further work includes: Nobody’s Home (2010), on post-war trauma and the soldier’s journey home in a modern re-telling of The Odyssey. Jukai (2008), a collaboration with Taiko drummers, on the forest at the base of mount Fuji haunted by its reputation for being the biggest suicide spot in Japan, possibly the world; and Borderline (2008), looking at immigration law and the plight of the ‘sans papiers’ in a satire of French bureaucracy gone wrong.”


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