KNEEHIGH, the internationally acclaimed theatre company from Cornwall, are bringing the Asylum to the Lost Gardens of Heligan in September
The Asylum is Kneehigh’s purpose-built theatre tent, which has been described as “a place pre-disposed to magic”. This new partnership with Heligan means visitors can wander the gardens for free before the show, or spend longer exploring with a combined garden and show ticket.
The Heligan kitchens will be offering a delicious seasonal menu created especially for the event, using local produce, much of which is sourced from the gardens themselves.
In the tent, live music and the Asylum bar mean that the event is not just a show: it’s a great night out.
Kneehigh joint artistic director Mike Shepherd is thrilled that the company are ‘coming home’ to Cornwall and this very special part of it has particular memories for him and the beginnings of the company.
He said: “I’m from Cornwall – I grew up in St Austell when it was a very different place to what it is now. One of the overriding memories is remembering the circus coming to town, and running from the station down through town following the circus to the field where Asda is now.
“I tried to make it in the Big City. After quite a few failed auditions I realised I’d have to think again, so I came back to Cornwall, where I identify as a place where you can make things happen. There I met like-minded people from around the St Austell area, and Kneehigh was born. We told stories in the middle of the woods by firelight, we did stunts on Mevagissey harbourside, we performed down at the Minack when Rowena Cade was still there – these were exciting places that were kind of elemental and indeed we used the elements: the rain, the wind… It certainly gave the theatre a kind of wildness and anarchy which I think we’ve still got.”
In what will be the fourth Asylum season in Cornwall, Kneehigh will be presenting their new show, a radical version of The Beggar’s Opera written by Carl Grose and directed by Kneehigh founder Mike Shepherd. Called Dead Dog In A Suitcase (and other love songs) the show also features music composed by Charles Hazlewood.
The original Beggar’s Opera was written in 1728 by John Gay and was adapted by Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill in 1928 as The Threepenny Opera. Like its predecessors, Kneehigh’s version will be a musical satire that holds a mirror to contemporary society – confronting big business, corrupt institutions, and urban myths.
A company of talented Kneehigh actor musicians will bring Carl’s script and Charles’ music and songs to life. The show is designed by Michael Vale, who also designed Kneehigh’s Hansel & Gretel which enjoyed a hugely successful run at the Lost Gardens in 2010.
Kneehigh have enjoyed huge critical success this year with a UK and international tour of Tristan & Yseult, and are also touring their much-loved stage version of Brief Encounter to Australia and the US.
Earlybird tickets went on sale on Monday, with a combined ticket to both the gardens and the show costing just £25 until May 1.
For more information see www.kneehigh.co.uk and www.heligan.com