Oliver Twist


Neil Bartlett’s adaptation of Dickens’ ‘Oliver Twist’ was an opportunity to translate ideas developed with Propeller but with the addition of Liam Steel’s command of combining choreographic movement and imagery. Given that it was written for an ensemble and featured cross-gender costuming, the territory was familiar. I the script, the narrative was told directly from a found book. There had been a fire in the basement of the Central Library, with it’s domed reading room several floors above, a short while before the project and I had a “what if” idea of imagining that the building had been completely ruined by the fire and had collapsed into the theatre space – the book being plucked from the smouldering ashes of the shelves and fragments of curved ceiling.

The clothes were of the time of Dicken’s writing. The scenery had no straight plains or edges with an occasional addition of projected animation. Books and paper were the materials to make storytelling objects, such as the paper baby above.