Thursday, April 06, 2006


Two Days In Leipzig

Two days in Leipzig – another site visit. One of the intrigues surrounding Of All The People In All The World is the way its character changes according to its location. Werner had done a great job with his preparation. Every building we stepped into held the promise of a new fresh version of the show.

The church, grand from the outside, felt a bit distracted on the inside, the strange raised wooden floor was scratched linoleum, a but tatty. Places of worship have stiff competition, once you have performed in Birmingham and Worcester Cathedrals your standards are high.

The art gallery was beautiful, a safe bet, everything to hand, everything immaculate. The show would be great in there, yet maybe the venue is too safe, too clean, too blank. The show would just sit there.

The museum entrance hall was immediately impressive. Very long with a great stone floor it was heavy with a sense of history. As I spent time there I began to feel the show would feel like a squatter there. Although the space was large it was also compromised with the alternative attractions, coins in cases that would restrict where the rice was placed. Not here.

The main railway station is vast and spectacular, the left hand entrance hall alone is huge and if an area within it were roped off the show could work there. Passing trade would be phenomenal but it would be a tough show to run. It would be very exposed and tiring, it would feel difficult to put out the subtle stuff that makes the show sing. Would we have to take it all up each night so it wouldn’t be scattered whilst we were absent?

The old stock exchange is beautiful and the show would be great here. There is simple entrance hall, stairs and then show would fit snugly in the upstairs hall. The building’s history would work well with the produce based, weights and measures nature of the show.

The abandoned exhibition hall took my breath away. It has a maw of a proscenium arch and raked stage that the globe would look fantastic on. There is a balcony round the room’s perimeter and a very high ceiling. The show would have a similar feel to the Waggenhalle version – these people have been in this space doing this thing since long before you came in to see them. In truth the European scale version of the show would work better here, but the German version could be spread out.

Ultimately the semi-derelict curved shop unit won through. It requires a bit of work. The curled and rotting carpet will have to be ripped out, the windows cleaned and the place made to look inviting. The main advantages of this space are all about access. The show windows make the show transparent for an accidental audience who will pass by because this venues is right in the heart of the city centre. Ultimately having a great space is pointless if no one comes to see the show in it.

I’ve enjoyed imagining the show in each space taking on a different character. The short list has been drawn up in order of preference, now it is up to Werner and the team at Theater Der Jungen Welt to see which they can get permissions for and make work logistically.


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