Wardrobe Ensemble and Complicité’s co-production THE LAST OF THE PELICAN DAUGHTERS Opens Tour at Royal & Derngate, Northampton
The Last of the Pelican Daughters
A Royal & Derngate Northampton, Wardrobe Ensemble and Complicité co-production in association with Bristol Old Vic and The Pleasance
Following preview performances in Northampton in July and a successful Edinburgh Festival Fringe run at the Pleasance Beyond last summer, award-winning theatre company The Wardrobe Ensemble’s co-production of The Last of the Pelican Daughters returns to Royal & Derngate this spring as part of the Made in Northampton season and ahead of a UK tour.
The production follows on from The Wardrobe Ensemble and Royal & Derngate’s previous collaboration, The Scotsman Fringe First Award and The Stage Edinburgh Award-winning, smash-hit production Education, Education, Education, which enjoyed its West End debut at Trafalgar Studios last summer. Created as part of Royal & Derngate’s Resident Ensemble programme and developed in partnership with Complicité, The Last of the Pelican Daughters takes to Royal & Derngate’s Royal stage in a newly extended 90 minute version from Tuesday 3 to Saturday 7 March, before touring the UK.
In folklore, pelican mothers feed their young on their own blood.
In 2020 four sisters are trying to divide their mother’s house between them. Joy wants a baby, Storm wants to be seen, Sage just wants to remember, Maia doesn’t want anyone to find out her secret and Granny’s in a wheelchair on day release. Mum’s presence still seeps through the ceiling and the floors. The Pelican Daughters are home for the last time.
The Wardrobe Ensemble use their trademark irreverent humour and lovable characters to tackle the idea of what it means for young people to grapple with inheritance, loss and justice in this comedy about four sisters trying to come to terms with their mother’s death.
Wardrobe Ensemble regulars Tom England, Emily Greenslade, Kerry Lovell, Jesse Meadows and James Newton reprise their roles from the Edinburgh run, with Sally Cheng, Laurie Jamieson and Beatrice Scirocchi joining the cast for the tour.
Tom Brennan, Member of The Wardrobe Ensemble, said: “The Wardrobe Ensemble are our second family. We squabble, play and discuss the world with all the intensity of a group of siblings, so to make our version of a family drama felt like an amazing opportunity. It’s about what we inherit from our past, what we choose to bring into the future and the difficulty of getting along when the outside world gets in the way of compassionate thinking.
We are thrilled to have been reunited with Royal & Derngate in Northampton who co-commissioned Education, Education, Education in 2017. James Dacre and his staff provided us with so much support and knowledge last time, allowing us to develop a show for the mid-scale. For a theatre of this calibre to be taking a risk on an unconventional company like The Wardrobe Ensemble is very brave and we love them for taking that risk.
This was such a terrifying show for us to begin making, both in content and scale. But Complicité gave us permission to think bigger, deeper and over a long time period. It’s felt amazing to make this complex and emotional show with the knowledge and experience of our favourite theatre company. If The Wardrobe Ensemble feel like a group of siblings, Complicité feel like our protective parents in the best way.”
Royal & Derngate’s Artistic Director, James Dacre, said: “Three years ago this brilliant young company made their main stage debut at Royal & Derngate with a production they developed over many months with our partner schools in Northamptonshire. We’re delighted that they joined us as one of our four Resident Ensemble companies to develop The Last of the Pelican Daughters and work across the organisation in supporting our communities. We are very pleased to be partnering with Complicité - one of the world’s great ensembles - on producing this show.”
Polly Gifford, Executive Director of Complicité said: "The Wardrobe Ensemble intrigued us from the outset. Alongside their obvious talent, they embody many of the values that have underpinned Complicité’s work for 35 years, including their commitment to storytelling and ensemble working, which made them a company we wanted to get to know. Our relationship has been exciting and stimulating, and it’s wonderful to see the work we’ve supported come to fruition with ‘The Last of the Pelican Daughters’ in partnership with Royal & Derngate Northampton.”
The Last of the Pelican Daughters is directed by The Wardrobe Ensemble’s Jesse Jones and Tom Brennan.
Developed with Complicité: supporting the next generation of theatre makers. The Wardrobe Ensemble are part of the Royal & Derngate Resident Ensemble programme. In association with Bristol Old Vic and The Pleasance.
Royal & Derngate’s Made in Northampton season is sponsored locally by Michael Jones Jeweller.
Press Night: Wednesday 4 March - 7pm
Royal & Derngate, Guildhall Road, Northampton NN1 1DP
Press Night: 4 March - 7pm
Dates: Tuesday 3 – Saturday 7 March 2020
Times: Evenings 7.45pm (except Wednesday 4 March 7pm)
Matinees – Thursday and Saturday 2.30pm
Tickets: From £11*
Box Office: 01604 624811 or online.
* A charge of £3.50 applies for all transactions of £20 and over. Does not apply to Groups, Members or Disabled Patrons, and is per-transaction, not per-ticket.
Royal & Derngate, Northampton
3 - 7 March
Nuffield Southampton Theatres
17 - 21 March
Shoreditch Town Hall, London
23 - 27 March
The Lowry, Salford
31 March - 2 April
Bristol Old Vic
21 - 25 April
Aberystwyth Arts Centre
1 - 2 May
THE LAST OF THE PELICAN DAUGHTERS
Directed by Jesse Jones and Tom Brennan
Written by The Wardrobe Ensemble
Design: Ruby Spencer Pugh
Sound: Benjamin Grant
Lighting: Jessica Hung Han Yun
Dramaturgy: Bea Roberts
Developed with Complicité: supporting the next generation of theatre makers. The Wardrobe Ensemble are part of the Royal & Derngate Resident Ensemble programme. In association with Bristol Old Vic and Pleasance.
About The Wardrobe Ensemble
The Wardrobe Ensemble is a Bristol-based group of theatre artists working together to make and tour new plays that dissect the twenty-first century experience. Dedicated to finding the place where the intellectual and the emotional collide, they explore the big ideas of our time through intimate human stories and bold imagery. They consist of nine core members, one producer and a constantly growing community of associate artists and work as a democratic devising ensemble wherein every member contributes to the research, writing, structuring, and performing of a show, creating a unique shared theatrical language and aesthetic from show to show.
The Wardrobe Ensemble has made four full company shows, RIOT, 33, 1972: The Future of Sex, Education, Education, Education and South Western.
They have also made nine shows for families and young audiences, including Little Tim and the Brave Sea Captain and The Star Seekers, which played at the National Theatre for 3.5 weeks in summer 2018.
They are Associates of Complicité and Shoreditch Town Hall, and their shows have been performed at the National Theatre, Almeida, Bristol Old Vic, Northern Stage and abroad at Jack, Brooklyn, NYC.
About Royal & Derngate, Northampton
Royal & Derngate Northampton is the main venue for arts and entertainment in Northamptonshire, with attendances for live events and films numbering 358,000 last year, and an additional 119,000 seeing its work on tour at over 100 venues. Named Regional Theatre of the Year in The Stage Awards in 2011 (and nominated again in 2016), the theatre won the UK Theatre Awards for Best Presentation of Touring Theatre in 2015 and Best Touring Production in 2016 for The Herbal Bed, and The Stage Ensemble Award and a Fringe First for Education, Education, Education in 2017. In 2019 Royal & Derngate was nominated for the UK Theatre ‘Excellence in Inclusivity’ Award.
Alongside touring nationally and internationally Royal & Derngate’s Made in Northampton productions have transferred to the West End and Broadway as well as Shakespeare’s Globe, the National Theatre, The Southbank Centre and the Lyric Hammersmith. Productions transferring to London recently include Education, Education, Education, The Worst Witch, Our Lady of Kibeho, The Singing Mermaid and Touching the Void. The venue also presents a diverse range of visiting productions on both the Derngate and Royal stages, featuring musicals, dance, comedy and music, including a residency from the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Last year the venue hosted the UK Musical Theatre Conference, Devoted & Disgruntled 14 and the International Teach First conference.
Royal & Derngate’s award-winning, nationally recognised Get Involved programme engages with over 20,000 participants each year, including schools, families and communities in Northamptonshire and beyond, and its two-screen cinema welcomed over 78,000 audience members to the best in world, independent, British and mainstream fi lm. Meanwhile, the theatre’s Generate artistic development programme supports hundreds of local and emerging artists and practitioners each year.
Facebook: /royalandderngate and Twitter: @royalderngate
Founded in 1983, Complicité is an international theatre company based in London led by Artistic Director Simon McBurney (OBE). The Company has won over fifty major theatre awards worldwide. Complicité’s recent work includes everything that rises must dance, A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer, The Encounter, Beware of Pity and The Master and Margarita. Alongside its productions, Complicité runs an extensive Creative Learning programme with recent projects including Like Mother, Like Daughter and Tea.
Simon McBurney has created and acted in more than 30 productions for the company. His directing credits with Complicité include Beware of Pity, The Encounter, The Master and Margarita, Shun-kin, A Disappearing Number, Measure for Measure, A Minute Too Late, The Elephant Vanishes, Strange Poetry and The Street of Crocodiles.
Facebook: /TheatredeComplicite Twitter: @Complicite Instagram: CompliciteTheatre
DEVELOPED WITH COMPLICITÉ: supporting the next generation of theatre makers
The Wardrobe Ensemble’s The Last of the Pelican Daughters has been created under Complicité’s 'Developed with' strand of work which supports exciting artists with exciting ideas to develop a project in close collaboration with the Company. The work of Simon McBurney and Complicité is genuinely risk-taking and frequently at the forefront of theatrical innovation. 'Developed with' support provides opportunities for artists with the same creative curiosity and bravery to harness the Company's many years of experience in making cutting-edge, world class theatre. Complicité is delighted to see the work it has supported come to fruition with The Last of the Pelican Daughters.