Audiences will soon flock to St Aidan’s Nature Park and wildlife reserve in Leeds to witness NEST, an epic new outdoor theatre show co-produced and co-commissioned by LEEDS 2023 in collaboration with National Youth Theatre.
Running from 5 - 9 September, NEST will turn the 335-hectare RSPB Wildlife Reserve into an immersive stage for over 100 young performers and audience members alike. Written by award-winning writer Emma Nuttall, and directed by Paul Roseby, Artistic Director of National Youth Theatre, it follows the story of Skylar - a teenager living in 2050 where climate change has truly shaken the natural world.
Matteo Marfoglia, Curriculum Lead for NSCD''s postgraduate company VERVE, has worked as Movement Director on the production, with support from VERVE '23 graduates Jorden Brooks and Maria Bortolotti. Speaking of the process, Matteo said:
"Maria and Jorden both understood my vision for the movement within NEST, and they were able to fuse this with their own ideas and perspectives. The three of us have been working as a team with a cast of 100 young performers and six creative directors, using a collaborative approach to create the energy that each scene needed.
The movement has been inspired by the site itself - St Aidan's Nature Park and wildlife reserve - and the actions that our communities must take to protect the natural world. As theatre makers and art practitioners, we are able to provide a platform for young people and young artists to talk about the climate crisis, and the important changes we must work together to bring about in the future."
NEST was conceived in response to an NYT members survey that found the climate crisis was the issue young people were most interested in exploring theatrically. This is the first time St Aidan's, a former opencast coal mine in east Leeds, has been used as the venue for a theatrical show.
Kully Thiarai, Creative Director and CEO of Leeds 2023 said:
"As we enter our third and final season for LEEDS 2023 Part 3: Dreaming it seems only right that one of our major pieces in this season is a brilliant collaboration with NYT and a diverse group of young people exploring some of the big issues of our time. Nest dramatically brings into sharp relief our relationship with nature and takes us into the future through beautiful imagery and storytelling as young people share their hopes and concerns over what, environmentally, lies ahead.”
Paul Roseby, Artistic Director of National Youth Theatre, said:
"Picture a stadium show, but without the stadium, set against the backdrop of the evening and night sky, surrounded by the stunning natural environment. We have a talented cast of around 100 young performers who are driven by a strong desire to tell stories that promote positive change."
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