Set in a music club, standing next to the right, Dido’s Bar is a new immersive cinema and music performance opening at The Factory in London’s historic Royal Docks on 23 September (Press Night 28 September) before traveling to Manchester, Leicester, Portsmouth, and Oxford.
Dido’s Bar is a retelling of Virgil’s Aeneid, created and performed by a diverse group of theater-music actors, bringing to life the traditional story of migration, love, and assimilation, in of the refugees’ eyes today. Every night, Juno and Venus, the managers of the world class welcome on their stage around their works, the game broadcasts. The work was inspired by the director Josephine Burton who met with Kurdish Iranian refugees who is now a Finnish citizen, and the composer Marouf Majidi and written by Hattie Naylor.
The London work takes place in a section of the Tate and Lyle building overlooking the Thames, a site of movement for hundreds of years, and is part of Royal Docks Originals, a program of works newly created at the Royal Docks. Dido’s Bar will be staffed by members of the local community, include nightly guest slots by Newham artists, and be supported by a community engagement programme.
Dash’s Artistic Director Josephine Burton said, ‘The classic story of Aeneas, a refugee from the war-torn East who travels across the Mediterranean in search of sanctuary and build a new house in Europe, it is a true story of our time. We bring the pain to this time – setting the drama in a music club on the edge of town, where the heroes of the past become the main musical stars of these day, with a little jazz and world music thrown in!.”
Director Josephine Burton is an artist and director of 80 new pieces of nationally and internationally award-winning cross-art-form work over the past 18 years. Recent highlights include The Great Middlemarch Mystery, part of Coventry City of Culture, the creation and direction of Dash Arts Dacha, Dash Eurosquat and Dash Arts Forum (Dash Arts’ unique immersive installation and performance space), new work with Hofesh Shechter and Olivier-Award – winning Babel by Sidi Larbi Cherkoaui; introducing Lyrical Alliance, a group of rappers from Arabic-speaking regions and Renegade Orchestra with a group of musicians and musicians from across the Post-Soviet States. He is the founder and Artistic Director of Dash Arts, a music consultant for PRS Foundation and a professional recording artist.
Playwright and Librettist Hattie Naylor’s UK credits include The Night Watch (Manchester Royal Exchange) and Going Dark with Sound&Fury (Fuel/Young Vic). Ivan and the Dogs (Soho Theatre/ATC) was nominated for the Olivier Awards for excellence in theater and won the Tinniswood Award in 2010. His work as librettist Picard in Space with Will Gregory (Goldfrapp) for Southbank 2012 and BBC Radio 3. He has written extensively for BBC Radio 4 including The Aeneid, nominated for Best Radio Adaptation, BBC Audio awards 2013. Hattie studied Fine Art at Slade School of Art specializing in music and performance and is a Senior Lecturer at Sheffield Hallam University.
Composer Marouf Majidi is a musician and composer. He studied Persian Classical Music at Tehran Sureh University in 2000 and Turkish Folk Music in Isparta, Turkey. After finding a break and settling in Finland, Majidi received a BA in Finnish Folk Music from the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki and went on to study Turkish Folk Music at Codarts Rotterdam University of the Arts, returning to Helsinki to receive a Masters in Global Music from the Sibelius Academy. A performer of Kurdish Tanbur, Persian Tar and musician. As a composer, performer, and singer, his work mixes and crosses cultural influences from all over the world. His new project Marouf is rooted in Middle Eastern culture but influenced by the Scandinavian Jazz influence of his new country.
Dido’s Bar is produced by Dash Arts with imPOSSIBLE Producing.
Dido’s Bar is co-founded in the UK with the Royal Docks Team, OCM (Oxford Contemporary Music) and Journeys Festival International and organized by OCM, with additional support from Arts Council England, Backstage Trust, The Foyle Foundation, Projekt, Cockayne – Grants for the Arts, The London Community Foundation, Genesis Foundation, Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland, The Marchus Trust, TINFO – Theater Info Finland, Austin and Hope Pilkington, Royal Victoria Hall Foundation, The Leche Trust and private donors.