Blindness To Begin August 4, 2021
David Mirvish presents the Canadian Premiere of the Donmar Warehouse production of Blindness to begin August 4, 2021 on the stage of the Princess of Wales Theatre
“Artistically and technologically pioneering…Stevenson relays the story with her usual impeccable verbal poise” - Daily Telegraph
“An exhilarating testament to the power and necessity of art… a unique and unforgettable achievement” - Metro
“Blindness is an exquisitely told story of resilience, violence, and hope” - Guardian
“Stevenson’s narration is so vivid, and the tech design so atmospheric, that you’d almost swear you could see each scene playing out in front of you.” - Guardian
“A triumph” – The New York Times
Toronto – David Mirvish is pleased to present the Canadian premiere of the Donmar Warehouse production of Blindness, a socially distanced sound installation.
Blindness will be presented on the stage of the Princess of Wales Theatre beginning August 4, 2021 and will be the first indoor theatre presentation in Toronto since the pandemic shut down all theatres. Audiences will be limited to 50 people per performance and will be seated in pods of one or two. Everyone in attendance, including all staff, will be masked.
Tickets to Blindness will go on sale to the public on June 23, 2021. Details about the performance schedule and prices will be announced soon.
David Mirvish says: “We had planned to present Blindness in November 2020, but due to the second wave of Covid-19 we weren’t able to do it. However, now that the vaccination rollout is well under way, with almost 70% of Ontario’s adult population having had the first dose, and with the government having announced its three-step reopening plan, we are more confident than before that we will finally be able to put Blindness on the stage of the Princess of Wales Theatre in August – by which point we will be in step three of the reopening plan.
“As before, we’ve been working with the unions and associations that represent artists, technicians and arts workers to make sure the presentation of Blindness is safely and responsibly presented. We’ve also been working with the TELUS Medical Advisory Council (MAC), a team of Canadian medical experts who have been advising several large organizations in their efforts to prepare an informed, science-based, and compassionate pandemic response.
“We, of course, aren’t the only ones who have been trying to find safe solutions for theatre to restart. Our colleagues around the world have also been on this quest.
“The Donmar Warehouse in London came up with this brilliant and powerful way to adapt Nobel laureate José Saramago’s novel Blindness, itself about the effects of a pandemic on a community.
“Blindness was a resounding success in August and September 2020 at the Donmar, and since then other theatres around the world have taken the Donmar production and staged it locally.
“On April 6, 2021, the production opened to rave reviews at the Daryl Roth Theatre in New York, where its run continues open-ended. And just last week it began at Shakespeare Theatre Company in Washington, DC. Other international productions have been presented in Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Mexico City and Auckland. On May 28, the Donmar launched a UK national tour of the production at the Oxford Playhouse.
“Finally, it’s Canada’s turn and we are thrilled to be able to take this first step to re-energize the theatre community here, offering much-needed hope to arts workers and audiences alike.”
AT THE THEATRE:
- The show runs 75 minutes without an intermission.
- Each performance will be limited to 50 people.
- Every precaution will be taken to ensure that each audience member is safe and comfortable during this very special event.
- All audience members must wear a mask for the duration of their visit for this event.
- All audience members will be seated (socially distanced, in pairs and singles) on the immense stage of the Princess of Wales Theatre.
- Each person will be given sanitized headphones through which they will be told the story by the illustrious stage, screen, TV and audiobook star Juliet Stevenson. The sound is designed to be binaural, making the work sound as if it were physically happening around you, putting you in the centre of the action.
Award-winning playwright Simon Stephens (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, for which he won both the Tony and Olivier awards for best play) has adapted Nobel Prize-winner José Saramago’s dystopian novel Blindness as a sound installation directed by Walter Meierjohann with immersive binaural sound design by Ben and Max Ringham. Juliet Stevenson voices the Storyteller/Doctor’s wife in this gripping story of the rise and, ultimately, profoundly hopeful end of an unimaginable global pandemic.
As the lights change at a major crossroads in a city in the heart of Europe a car grinds to a halt. Its driver can drive no more. Suddenly, without warning or cause, he has gone blind. Within hours it is clear that this is a blindness like no other. This blindness is infectious. Within days an epidemic of blindness has spread through the city. The government tries to quarantine the contagion by herding the newly blind people into an empty asylum. But their attempts are futile. The city is in panic.
Blindness had its world premiere at London’s Donmar Warehouse in August 2020, where it received rave reviews and re-opened the theatre for audiences for the first time in over five months.
Blindness, a socially distanced sound installation with the voice of Juliet Stevenson, based on the novel by José Saramago, adapted by Simon Stephens, directed by Walter Meierjohann is a Donmar Warehouse Production.
The creative team includes: Sound Designers Ben and Max Ringham, Designer Lizzie Clachan, Lighting Designer Jessica Hung Han Yun, Production Consultant Professor Hannah Thompson and Resident Assistant Director Sara Aniqah Malik.
CAST AND CREATIVE TEAM BIOS
JULIET STEVENSON Voice of the Storyteller/Doctor’s wife
Juliet Stevenson is one of Britain’s leading actors. Her most recent theatre credits include The Doctor - for which she won the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Actress and is currently nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Actress, Mary Stuart, Hamlet (Almeida/West End); Wings, Happy Days (Young Vic). Juliet won the 1991 Olivier Award for Best Actress for her performance in Death and the Maiden, and has been nominated a further five times. Juliet has received five BAFTA nominations for her work on screen. Her films include Truly, Madly, Deeply - Evening Standard Film Award for Best Actress; Bend it like Beckham; When did you last see your Father?; Being Julia. Juliet’s latest television work includes Riviera and Out of her Mind, a comedy series with Sara Pascoe which will air from September. Her other credits include One of Us and The Enfield Haunting, and she appeared as a series regular in Atlantis and The Village. She was awarded the CBE in 1999.
SIMON STEPHENS Writer
Simon Stephens is an Olivier and Tony award-winning playwright. His theatre credits include Fortune (Metropolitan, Tokyo); Maria, Rage (Thalia, Hamburg); The Threepenny Opera (NT); Fatherland (MIF 2017/Lyric Hammersmith/LIFT Festival 2018); Heisenberg (West End); Obsession (Barbican/Toneelgroep, Amsterdam); The Seagull, Herons, Morning, Three Kingdoms, A Thousand Stars that Explode in the Sky, Punk Rock (Lyric Hammersmith); Carmen Disruption (Deutsches Schauspielhaus/Almeida); Nuclear War, Birdland, Country Music, Bluebird (Royal Court); The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time - Olivier and Tony Awards for Best New Play (NT/West End/Broadway); A Doll’s House (Young Vic/West End); Sea Wall (Bush); Harper Regan, Port (Royal Exchange, Manchester/NT); On the Shore of the Wide World (Royal Exchange, Manchester). He has also written for film, television and radio. Simon is a professor at the Manchester Writing School at Manchester Metropolitan University and Artistic Associate at the Lyric Hammersmith.
WALTER MEIERJOHANN Director
Walter Meierjohann was Artistic Director of HOME from 2013 to 2018 and International Associate Director at the Young Vic in London. At the Young Vic, his productions included the European premiere of In the Red and Brown Water by Tarell McCraney and Kafka’s Monkey, which toured to Sydney, Melbourne, Athens, Paris, Tokyo, Istanbul, Taipei and New York. The production, which starred Kathryn Hunter, also showed in HOME’s 2015 opening season, with Hunter reprising her lead role. Walter has worked extensively in Germany and the UK at theatres including: the Barbican; Liverpool Playhouse; Nottingham Playhouse; The Curve, Leicester; Residenztheater, Munich; Staatsschauspiel, Dresden; Schauspiel, Graz; and Arena, Berlin, for Peter Stein’s Faust Ensemble and Impulse Theatre Festival. Prior to joining the Young Vic, Walter was Artistic Director of Neubau at the State Theatre of Dresden. In opera, he has assisted the late Klaus-Michael Grueber in his productions of Aida (Nederlands Opera, Amsterdam) and Don Giovanni (Ruhrfestspiele).
BEN AND MAX RINGHAM Sound Designers
In 2019 Ben and Max, together with writer Ella Hickson, created ANNA - a headphone-based show at the National Theatre. They are co-creators of the immersive theatre company Wiretapper and associate artists with the Shunt Collective. Four-time Olivier Award nominees, last year they were awarded the H-100 2019 Award for Innovation in Theatre and Performance. Recent credits for the Donmar include Teenage Dick, Berberian Sound Studio and Belleville and their other recent theatre credits include Cyrano de Bergerac, Pinter at the Pinter (West End); Betrayal (West End/Broadway); The Seven Ages of Patience, Pass Over (Kiln); Ugly Lies the Bone, Tartuffe (NT); Pygmalion (UK Tour); Party Skills (Shoreditch Town Hall); The Meeting (Chichester); Machinal (Almeida); Love and Information (Sheffield Theatres); Gloria (Hampstead). Other composition and sound design work includes Frida Kahlo - Making Herself Up at The V&A, Mirror Maze and Room 2022 with Es Devlin, Rembrandt - The Late Works at The National Gallery, The Inspection Chamber for Alexa, BBC Research and Development.
LIZZIE CLACHAN Designer
Lizzie Clachan is a renowned theatre and opera designer and was one of the co-founders of the Shunt collective in 1998. Her previous work at the Donmar includes Far Away and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. Other recent theatre includes A Number (Bridge); The Son (Kiln/West End); The Nico Project (MIFl/Melbourne Festival); Rutherford & Son, Absolute Hell, As You Like It, A Woman Killed with Kindness, Treasure Island, Edward II (NT); Cyprus Avenue (Royal Court/Abbey, Dublin/Public, NY); Yerma (Young Vic/Armory, NY); Life of Galileo, Macbeth, A Season in the Congo (Young Vic); Tipping the Velvet (Lyric Hammersmith); The Skriker (Royal Exchange, Manchester); Carmen Disruption (Almeida); The Forbidden Zone (Perner Insul, Salzburg); All My Sons (Regent’s Park Open Air); Ibsen Huis (Toneelgroup Amsterdam/Avignon Festival). Lizzie’s opera credits include Mask of Orpheus, Orphée, Orpheus in the Underworld, Orpheus and Euridice (ENO), Nixon in China (Staatsoper Hannover); Jenůfa (Amsterdam National Opera); La Traviata (Theater Basel/ENO); Pelléas et Mélisande (Teatr Wielki, Poland/Festival d'Aix en Provence); Le Vin Herbé (Staatsoper Berlin); Bliss (Staatsoper Hamburg). JESSICA HUNG HAN YUN Lighting Designer Jessica Hung Han Yun is a multi-award-winning lighting designer specialising in installations, theatre, dance and festivals. Jessica’s recent theatre credits include The Last of the Pelican Daughters (Complicité/ Edinburgh/Royal & Derngate); Fairview (Young Vic); Snowflake (Kiln); Mephisto [A Rhapsody], Dear Elizabeth, The Human Voice (Gate); Equus - Knight of Illumination Award 2019 and Off West End Award for Best Lighting Design (Theatre Royal Stratford East/West End); Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner, Pah-La (Royal Court); Forgotten (Theatre Royal Plymouth/Arcola); Hive City Legacy (Roundhouse with Hot Brown Honey); Cuckoo (Soho); Nine Foot Nine (Bunker); Becoming Shades (Vaults Festival 2018).
The Donmar Warehouse is a 251-seat, not-for-profit theatre in Covent Garden, London, led by Artistic Director Michael Longhurst and Executive Director Henny Finch. Their mission is to bring together a wide variety of people in their intimate warehouse space and elsewhere to create, witness and participate in thrilling, world-class theatre. The Donmar has won more than 100 awards in its 28-year history, with highlights of the programme including founder artistic director Sam Mendes’ productions of Cabaret (with Alan Cumming) and The Blue Room (with Nicole Kidman). Michael Grandage (Artistic Director 2002-2012) brought notable productions of Othello with Chiwetel Ejiofor and Ewan McGregor, and Red with Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne. Josie Rourke (AD 2012-2019) brought Tom Hiddleston in Coriolanus, and a trilogy of all-female Shakespeare plays directed by Phyllida Lloyd. Current Artistic Director Michael Longhurst’s inaugural 2019-20 season focused on important stories, thrillingly told, and included new play by leading writers including Branden Jacobs-Jenkins, Alice Birch and Mike Lew.