China Tour of TNT Theatre, UK
Name of the Company :
Oliver Twist (English dialogue, Chinese subtitle£©
21, 22, 23, 24, 25 March 2007
¡°One of the most interesting developments on the British theatrical scene.¡± - THE GUARDIAN, London
TNT theatre was founded in 1980 in Britain. Since then it has established itself as one of the most popular international touring theatre companies in the world. Last season alone the company produced seven productions in almost thirty countries worldwide, ranging from Shakespeare classics such as ROMEO & JULIET to their own new play HITLER KILLED MY CANARY, from works by contemporary artists such as Paul Auster¡¯s MOON PALACE to the classic seasonal show: Dickens¡¯ CHRISTMAS CAROL. Since 1993 the company has been in collaboration with the American Drama Group Europe. The artistic director of TNT is Paul Stebbings, whose work has won many awards at, for example, the Munich Biennale, the Edinburgh Festival, the Tehran Festival and from the government of Singapore. Other notable festivals in which the company has participated are the International Off-Broadway Festival in New York, the Tokyo International Theatre festival and the summer festival of the British National Theatre. The company has been in regular receipt of UK British government funding (Arts Council) and has frequently worked with the support of the British Council. TNT has also collaborated on co-productions with major venues such as the Athens Concert Hall and the St Petersburg State Comedy Theatre.
The company style aims to integrate all the performing arts. TNT productions always include a specially commissioned score by a leading composer. The director always works with a choreographer and the ensemble actors are chosen for their ability to cross the disciplines of theatre, music and dance. Although the company always explores complex texts and serious themes, its style is highly visual and accessible to an audience whose first language need not be English.
The company balances its artistic programme with a special commitment to education and including audiences who might not normally attend theatre. The productions¡¯ technical flexibility allows the company to perform in almost any venue that can seat an audience. At the same time, the company has performed in some of the world¡¯s most prestigious theatres.
OLIVER TWIST has been described as the first modern novel. It is one of the few novels who¡¯s characters have entered into modern myth- Fagin, Bill, Nancy and the Artful Dodger can claim to be some of the best known literary creations outside of Shakespeare. The enormous energy of these characters and the full bloodied portrait of the first modern urban nightmare, London, make the story not only exciting and dramatic, but also truly contemporary.
The themes and social issues raised by Dickens are as relevant today as when it was first published over one hundred and fifty years ago. The central theme is the link between poverty and crime. Beyond that it explores the way society treats its weakest members.
Dickens¡¯ style is highly theatrical, and indeed he himself gave dramatic readings of much of OLIVER TWIST to huge audiences in Britain and the USA. Dickens¡¯ style switches between the almost documentary to the comic, from action packed narrative to emotional drama.
TNT sweep away the sentimentality of so many versions and present the story through the eyes of Fagin as he stands on the gallows awaiting execution. The story is his last attempt at justifying his life of crime. The audience too must answer if he was indeed at fault. Is he a criminal or a victim? Does he care for his boy thieves or does he exploit them?
In addition to powerful drama, comedy and fast moving action, the production has been highly praised for it¡¯s a capella score by the composer Thomas Johnson (who score for Shakespeare¡¯s MEASURE FOR MEASURE is currently being performed by the Royal National Theatre in Britain). The action is developed through integrated song, using complex and exciting five part harmony. The director of TNT is Paul Stebbings, whose recent productions include MACBETH, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO¡¯S NEST , THE WIZARD OF JAZZ and BRAVE NEW WORLD.
TNT¡¯s production of OLIVER TWIST is being revived for the second time, it has been seen from Tokyo to Berlin to Scotland. It has only ever received good reviews and thrilled a wide range of audiences.
Collaborating with ADGE since 1993, TNT dominates English language theatre in Germany, giving over 500 performances a year in all the major towns and most of the major theatres. The summer 'Castle tour' spends over four weeks each summer performing outdoors in German castle and palace courtyards.
TNT gives some fifty performances a year in major theatres of Switzerland and Austria. In summer the company visits many Swiss and Austrian castles for open air theatre performances.
TNT has been touring Japan since 1992 and have given more foreign language performances in more venues than any other non-Japanese company since then.
TNT is the only English Language theatre to perform regularly in major theatres nationwide in France.
TNT has toured Scandinavia since 1986. The summer castle tour is particularly successful and extends up to northern Norway. While Norway and Sweden are the heart of the company's work in the region, there have also been regular and comprehensive tours of Finland, while Rosenberg Castle in Copenhagen is a centrepiece of the annual Castle Tour.
TNT's first foreign performance was in Amsterdam, Holland at the Melkweg theatre and Club in 1981, and has developed a regular circuit in Belgium and Luxembourg, where they are the leading foreign theartre ensemble.
TNT works in high profile venues and festivals with the cooperation of the Athens Concert Hall, and the Volos Centre for Music Theatre of Greece.
TNT began collaboration with the National theatre of Malta in 2003. TNT has toured Spain for fifteen years, concentrating on Madrid and Barcelona and began to tour Italy in 2004.
TNT presents on average 12 weeks of performances a year in the Czech Republic with most of the performances in Prague. The company performed in Slovakia in 2004 and 2005.
In 1989 and 1992, TNT toured 20 cities in Poland.
TNT toured Russia from 1990 ¨C 1997, and toured the Ukraine twice, being the first foreign theatre company to perform in several Ukrainian theatres since the Revolution.
TNT performs once a year in most of the Gulf states ¨C Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Dubai, and at the Fajr Festival in Tehran (the Moslem World's largest Arts Festival) won first prize for HAMLET in 2004. 3000 people saw HAMLET in Iran and 2000 visited MACBETH in Kuwait.
TNT has performed in either Singapore or Hong Kong every year since 1994, and received Singapore National Youth Arts Achievement award in 2004.
TNT has presented theatre on two occasions in the USA: The Off Broadway Festival in New York, where ¡°1945!¡± ran for two weeks at the Douglas Fairbanks theatre, and to Atlanta where MACBETH was performed in the ruins of the old plantation house.
Astonishingly inventive and wonderfully unpredictable, their visual inventiveness defies description.¡± - THE SCOTSMAN Edinburgh Festival
¡°Despite the fact that the company performed in English the state comedy theatre was packed out every night. We have seen nothing like this dynamic style of theatre.¡± - ENTRE ACT MAGAZINE, St Petersburg.
¡°TNT embodies all the qualities of British theatre.¡± - SUDDEUTSCHE ZEITUNG, Munich
¡°Touring theatre at its best¡±. - SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST, Hong Kong
¡°Highly effective and charismatic theatre.¡± - VILLAGE VOICE, New York.
¡°The audience were held in a vice like grip from the first moment...the company demonstrate how Shakespeare can be made relevant to the modern world.¡± - JAPAN TIMES, Tokyo
¡°If young people need to be persuaded to go to the theatre this is the company to see.¡±
- SUDKURIER, Germany
¡°Forget the big operas, it is TNT's jazz drama that is the hit of the Biennale.¡± - F.A.Z Frankfurt
¡°The best Hamlet I have seen in nearly thirty years as an international critic.¡± - IRAN ITI THEATRE MAGAZINE, Tehran.
¡°The most entertaining play at this year's festival.¡± - THE LIST, Edinburgh.