Twelve Balliol students are taking a play to the Edinburgh Fringe (4-28 August 2017) as part of the Gruffdog Theatre group, which will be staging Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, having toured the UK with it beforehand.
The Gruffdog team (which includes other Oxford students as well as Balliolites) is led by Conor Jordan (Executive Producer) and Pete Sayer (Artistic Director), who explain: ‘We were initially drawn to Peer Gynt by the joyous challenge of staging a play so grand and sprawling. Epic in scope and in scale, the play bounds from the frozen peaks of Norway to the sun-baked dunes of the Egyptian desert as freely as it moves between reality and the imaginary. A troll king threatens to carve out Peer’s human eyes; the formless Børg makes him question everything he thinks he knows about his own identity; and a violent shipwreck prompts Death himself to haunt his final steps. Exploring such a rich and fantastical story is incredibly exciting.’
The show will be designed for touring, with limited set fixtures, and as with Gruffdog’s previous work it will employ playful storytelling, puppetry, live movement and ensemble movement in order to find ‘fresh ways to bring the various worlds of the play to life’.
The project has been funded in part by Balliol’s Albery Theatre Fund, which was set up by Professor John Albery (Balliol 1956). A member of a British theatrical family which ran the Albery Theatre (now the Noël Coward), he had a lifelong interest in the theatre, taking part in drama productions and being theatre critic for the University while he was at Balliol, and later writing scripts for That Was the Week That Was. He was also a distinguished chemist and Master of University College, Oxford (1989-1997).