Tuesday, 26 July 2016

The Duke of Dramaturgy: Shon Dale-Jones on tour 2018

Shon Dale-Jones presents 

Presented by Hoipolloi, PBJ Management and Theatre Royal Plymouth in association with Save the Children.

As I sat, coming to the frightening realisation that the script I'd been writing for ten years no longer fit in a world that was spiralling out of control, my mother called to tell me the Duke of Wellington, a porcelain figure my father bought for £750 as an investment in 1974, had broken while dusting. 

It seemed there were three problems to be fixed – the script, the world and the porcelain figure. The Duke playfully mixes fantasy and reality, taking audiences on an imaginative and touching journey full of laughter.

Friday 30 March 

Perth Theatre, Scotland

Tue 3 – Thu 5 April 
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Wed 02 May 
Marlowe Theatre

Wed 6 – Thu 7 June 
HOME, Manchester

Thu 20 Sep 
Salisbury Playhouse

Fri 05 Oct 

Tue 30 October – Sat 03 
November Bristol Tobacco Factory

From March we’re also planning to perform The Duke in Save the Children Charity shops around London throughout the whole year.

Shôn Dale-Jones returns to Scotland to tour his Fringe First Winning Show and aims to total donations of £50k for Save the Children’s Emergency Fund.

Written and performed by Shôn Dale-Jones

In 2016, Shôn Dale-Jones’ premiered a ground-breaking solo show, which raised a mammoth £36,500 for Save the Children’s Child Refugee Crisis Appeal in the first year of touring and set Hoipolloi on the beginning of a journey to create theatre work that raises money and profile for charitable causes. A charming story about choosing priorities in an overwhelming world, The Duke proved to be a smash hit in Edinburgh over the last two years and with audiences throughout the UK.

What was the inspiration for this performance?

My response to the way the refugee crisis entered my life and my desire to do something about it.

How did you go about gathering the team for it?

It was the first time I worked entirely independently. I needed to keep the costs to a minimum because my aim is to raise money for Save the Children’s Emergency Fund.

How did you become interested in making performance?

A fantastic teacher called Denis Lavin introduced me to improvisation at school when I was fifteen.

Was your process typical of the way that you make a performance?

I’ve made over 21 live shows since 1994 – my process changes according to the show I’m making. This process used a lot of writing and audio improvisation – it is text and sound heavy

What do you hope that the audience will experience?

A desire to give money and support to the appeal –  Save the Children’s Emergency Fund. A desire to empathise and be generous with the people we call refugees during this period of their lives. A desire to re-evaluate their value system.

What strategies did you consider towards shaping this audience experience?

The way the show ends needs to push the audience to donate money. I chose a point blank ‘ask’ alongside some very uplifting music to make it big and happy.

Do you see your work within any particular tradition?

It’s storytelling. It’s mixing fantasy and reality. It has some magic realism. It’s standup meets theatre meets comedy meets drama

Funny, poignant and playful, The Duke weaves together the tragi-comic fate of a family heirloom - a porcelain figure of The Duke of Wellington, the quandary of a scriptwriter stretching his integrity, and an unfolding disaster as thousands of children flee their homes. From the writer/performer behind Hugh Hughes (Story of a Rabbit, 360, The Wonderful World of Hugh Hughes), The Duke is a funny and poignant show that mixes fantasy and reality, playfully challenging our priorities.

In 2018, it may feel like the refugee crisis has disappeared, with less media reporting and stories of war. And yet, destruction across the Globe continues and many of those that left their homes during the Crisis find themselves homelessness across Europe. For this tour, audiences will be asked to buy a ticket and bring cash to the show to support Save the Children’s Emergency Fund, supporting children who face crisis across the Globe, including those who still attempt the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean.

Shôn Dale-Jones said: “I made The Duke back in 2016 because I wanted to find a way of doing something practical about the refugees' crisis. I couldn’t watch more images of the terrifying reality that these people are suffering without contributing towards the relief effort. I’m not a doctor or an engineer - I’m a writer/performer - and so I decided I could write a show which connects us to the crisis and raises money to support Save The Children’s work. I have been massively inspired by the support offered by theatres, presenters and audiences thus far and I am thrilled to be touring The Duke again and raising money and awareness for Save the Children’s ‘Emergency Fund.”

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