Andrew McMillan and Proper Job Theatre Company
November 2019 saw the end of our final tour of Dorian. The process had begun two years previously with poet Andrew McMillan, recent winner of the Polari Prize for Poetry, when we began an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray. Andrew’s poetry and personal interest in this area fed into the contemporary retelling of this classic tale with surprising relevance to today’s society. The piece asked questions about our use of social media, in particular manipulation techniques, editing our own image to create better versions of ourselves, the inherent problematic narrative in this idea and the consequences of existing within this perfect frame.
Starting with a poet as playwright, we continued this theme of crossing artistic boundaries within the creative team. The cast was made up of musicians, opera singers, physicists and actors, our designer originates her artistic practice in sculpture, and the direction has its Russian roots in Meyerhold’s biomechanics. The sum of these various creative influences bore out into:
"... a very beautiful piece of theatre to watch ... physically precise, visually exciting and dynamic work."
Karen Morley-Chesworth, Cumbria 24
Previews highlighted the need for a piece exploring the issues raised in Dorian.
The Guardian read here
The Stage read here
The Telegraph read here
Yorkshire Post read here
Leeds Living read here
Wellcome Collection read here
Visit Manchester read here
The Morning Star read here
Cumbria Crack read here
The Culture Vulture read here
Northern Soul read here
"The idealised male body has become bigger, bulkier and harder to achieve. So what drives a generation of young men to the all-consuming, often dangerous pursuit of perfection?"
Sirin Kale, The Guardian
★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Mumble Theatre read here
★ ★ ★ ★ North West End read here
★ ★ ★ ★ Cumbria 24 read here
Visit Manchester read here
Number 9 Reviews read here
Hexham Courant read here
"There are a lot of individual components that make up Dorian – family drama, philosophical musings, songs, action sequences, multimedia elements and an ever evolving set ... There isn’t a moment wasted in this production ... Superb."
Steve Bromley, Mumble Theatre
Dorian toured the UK twice, once in the Spring and again in the Autumn of 2019. During both tours we gathered audience feedback:
"Oscar Wild meets Black Mirror."
"The play provided insight into the whole decade we live in. The insistence that we stay young/pretty. Knowing the original work, I loved how the story was treated."
"Phenomenal performances, thought provoking and hard hitting. I believe thought provoking plays with artistically presented contemporary messages are truly important and inspiring."
"Beautiful performances, amazing vocals, very profound comment on vanity."
"Fabulous piece of theatre, brilliant ensemble, an inspirational theatrical production."
We have already begun our research and development into our next piece.
We have been working with the students of The University of Huddersfield and we are in conversation with the Lawrence Batley Theatre and The Civic, Barnsley to create our next co-production.
The plan is, over the next 12 months, to develop our audiences by engaging them in the research and development process of our new production. We will be inviting you to scratch nights and rehearsed readings to hear your comments, which we will then feed into the artistic process.
Proper Job Theatre Company’s next production will be touring in 2021.