This summer, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard will host the world premiere of an ambitious new dance theatre production.
The Seafarers is by internationally acclaimed Stopgap Dance Company, which has toured around the world. Commissioned by Portsmouth Festivities with funding from Arts Council Englandand The Portsmouth Grammar School, The Seafarers is inspired by stories that are close to Hampshire hearts.
As Portsmouth Festivities Associate Producer, Samantha Worsey, explains, “This will be a really unique performance, inspired by the history of shipbuilding in Portsmouth.”
The city has long been a pioneer in the shipbuilding industry, so there is plenty of inspiration to draw on. Stopgap Dance Company take a pioneering and inspiring approach to their worktoo.
They employ both disabled and non-disabled performers, who work in collaboration to create original and inclusive work. For The Seafarers, the company will also be working with local, non-professional dancers. Everyone, whether they are a trained company member or a person from the Portsmouth community, will help to create the show. The community cast includes young people from Abstract Performing Arts Centre, Highbury College Youth Theatre and Urban Vocal Group.
Artistic Director of Stopgap Dance Company, Lucy Bennett, says she is particularly excited to be making work in Portsmouth: “Stopgap loves the buzz of Portsmouth and we have certainly enjoyed researching it's rich shipbuilding heritage. The Seafarers is a vibrant mix of dance, music & song in which Stopgap, The Moulettes and the community of Portsmouth embrace the spirit & strength of the city”.
The first workshops for the project took place at Highbury College earlier this week, using parts of the set which were built this week at St George’s Church, Portsea by set builders from the Kings Theatre.
To find out more about this world-class local project, or to book tickets to the premiere performances in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th June, visit portsmouthfestivities.co.uk or call 023 9282 8282. Tickets £5, Concessions and Under-18s £3.