Odysseus' Greek galley ship weighs anchor at Penshaw Monument as The Odyssey comes to Sunderland
and live on Freeview channel 276
Homer’s epic poem has been reimagined for today in a retelling performed by hundreds of community members and local artists across the country. The story is being told in episodes across five venues in England, including The Fire Station.
The production marks the fifth anniversary of Public Acts, the National Theatre’s nationwide programme to create extraordinary acts of theatre and community.
Ahead of performances at The Fire Station on Friday and Saturday, April 28 and 29, the 10-metre longship, crafted from bamboo and rope, appeared at Penshaw Monument.
The galley is travelling with the multi-location performances of The Odyssey and appearing in public places including markets, local beaches and parks to collect messages of remembrance from local communities.
People are invited to write messages to loved ones and tie colourful ribbons to the ship, which will be displayed at London’s National Theatre in August for the culmination of The Odyssey tour. The Fire Station hosts the fourth episode of The Odyssey, The Island of the Sun.
"The galley travels down to Roker Beach on Friday where a group of swimmers will take it into the sea.
“Then on Saturday night (April 29), after our performance of The Island of the Sun, the galley will transform into a stage for a short closing ceremony including music, poetry and the sacred act of ‘xenia’ to pass the baton of the storytelling forward to the next episode at the National Theatre.”
This contemporary take on a key chapter of The Odyssey is written by north east playwright Lindsay Rodden, directed by Annie Rigby with music by ’ Sean Cooney of the Young’uns.
Both Lindsay and Sean had grandmothers from Sunderland.
Lindsay said: “As well as being known for its industrial heritage and its tradition in music and storytelling, Sunderland is a city by the sea, so is a perfect setting for The Island of the Sun."
Tickets starts at £5.50 and under 14s must be accompanied by an adult. Visit www.thefirestation.org.uk.