Theatre company to stage pop-up Christmas shows on doorsteps and in back gardens

One of Scotland's leading theatre companies is to stage pop-up shows on doorsteps and in gardens in the run-up to Christmas while its own doors are closed.

Artistic director Andrew Panton said its forthcoming season was aimed at helping audiences get through the dark nights ahead over the winter. Picture: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan
Artistic director Andrew Panton said its forthcoming season was aimed at helping audiences get through the dark nights ahead over the winter. Picture: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Dundee Rep will create bespoke performances for members of the public who are nominated by their friends and family for a surprise treat based on their favourite things about the festive season.

The socially-distanced actors will also be filmed and broadcast on the theatre company’s website as part of its online season of Christmas shows, which has been created as an alternative to its annual festive production.

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Nominations will be open for the next week before the theatre selects at least four “deserving Dundonians” and the shows are put together at the Rep, where its actors and production staff are currently working behind closed doors while the theatre is closed to the public due to the ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

Dundee Rep will be making the pop-up shows behind closed doors before staging them in gardens and on doorsteps before Christmas. Picture: Viktoria Begg

The Rep, which is planning for each performance of “Present” to be a complete surprise for each recipient, will be creating shows based on their favourite Christmas films, stories, shows and songs.

The Rep will also be filming a series of 24 digital performances on its stage, which will be released on its social media channels in the run-up to Christmas, while designers Karen Tennent and Emma Jones have been tasked with transforming the empty theatre building into a new “work of sound and visual art” for the festive season.

The Present project will be the precursor for a series of pop-up outdoor shows that Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre, which are part of the same company, are planning to stage at sites across the city in the spring straddling the genres of drama, dance, music and visual art.

The line-up will include a family-friendly show which will have a different storyline in each performance, based on the roll of a set of giant dice, a show empowering young women in Dundee to explore the issues around safety in public places and a new show created by dance artist Yosuke Kusano which will see him turned into a human QR code which audiences will be urged to scan on their phones while social distancing.

Dundee Rep's ensemble will be staging pop-up performances for 'deserving Dundonians' in the run-up to Christmas. Picture: Sean Millar

Theatre collective Bandwith will be creating an outdoor show or a city centre space that aims to celebrate and commemorate the cancelled plans of Dundonians since the coronavirus outbreak, while people living with dementia in Dundee will help shape a celebration of life in the city.

Andrew Panton, artistic director at Dundee Rep, said: “I am inspired, heartened and in awe of the creative response not just of the team here, but of the wider community this year as we come to terms with the coronavirus pandemic together.

"Despite all the challenges, the pandemic has strengthened our bonds with the community in Dundee and beyond.

"As people look for a light to guide us through the dark nights ahead we are delighted to share the creative talent, energy and open heartedness of our ensembles and all the freelance talent we collaborate with to enable us to make the work that we do.

Dancer Oscar Perez and actors Emily Winter and Leah Byrne staged a doorstep in Broughty Ferry to launch Dundee Rep's pop-up outdoor show Present, which will be staged on doorsteps and in back gardens. Picture: Neil Hanna PRESENT will see both companies stage a total of four bespoke, socially distanced performances for four deserving local resident Dundonians. The lucky recipients will be nominated by friends, families or colleagues to have a show made just for them. These unique Christmas pop-ups can take place on a doorstep or back garden and will be designed to surprise and delight (while operating within current Government guidelines). If you would like to nominate someone to receive a PRESENT please email [email protected] and tell us: Who you would like to receive the performance and why? Where do you think we might perform the PRESENT? What do they most like about Christmas? Are there any seasonal films, stories, shows or songs they particularly love or enjoy? Nominations are open until Thursday 12 November at 5pm. Neil Hanna Photography www.neilhannaphotography.co.uk 07702 246823

"We hope that our programme will help us all to continue to hang on to our inner light in the months ahead.”

Actors Emily Winter and Leah Byrne and dancer Oscar Perez make a surprise appearance on a doorstep in Broughty Ferry to help promote Dundee Rep's series of festive pop-up shows, Present. Picture: Neil Hanna PRESENT will see both companies stage a total of four bespoke, socially distanced performances for four deserving local resident Dundonians. The lucky recipients will be nominated by friends, families or colleagues to have a show made just for them. These unique Christmas pop-ups can take place on a doorstep or back garden and will be designed to surprise and delight (while operating within current Government guidelines). If you would like to nominate someone to receive a PRESENT please email [email protected] and tell us: Who you would like to receive the performance and why? Where do you think we might perform the PRESENT? What do they most like about Christmas? Are there any seasonal films, stories, shows or songs they particularly love or enjoy? Nominations are open until Thursday 12 November at 5pm. Neil Hanna Photography www.neilhannaphotography.co.uk 07702 246823
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