21 FOR 21

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On the 21st October 2009 actors in four continents and eighteen countries are joining together to perform the work of British playwright Howard Barker. As the earth turns, performances will cascade across the globe to celebrate the 21st birthday of his theatre company, the Wrestling School. They begin in the summer of Perth, Western Australia and end in the winter of Burnaby, Western Canada.  On this journey, Barker’s plays and poetry will be spoken in seven languages by more than two hundred performers.

21 for 21 is a remarkable event of staged readings, full performances and devised works that rejoice in Barker’s playwriting, directing, poetry and painting.The festival is surprisingly diverse. It includes the long-established Royal Shakespeare Company who will be in Newcastle, England and the international Avatar Repertory Theatre who will be performing in the online world of Second Life.

The project is the brainchild of Executive Producer, Sarah Goldingay. She explains:  “Howard has been writing plays since the 1970s. I first came across his work when I was a student: I was mesmerised by his dark and erotic stories and poetic language. The 21st anniversary of the Wrestling School Theatre Company gives us a great reason to revisit his rich body of work, old and new. His plays seem even more relevant now in a world that is trying to understand the wars it is fighting and economic turmoil it is in. Everyone involved in the project is giving their time for free, and because of their generosity something that’s been run from my computer in the wilds of Devon is going to be shared by audiences across the globe. We’re delighted to be having a birthday party with so many wonderful people.” 

Wrestling School 21st Birthday logo

Link to Wrestling School page about 21 FOR 21



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