Peter Gill, playwright and theatre director
NT Studio
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Birtwistle and the NT Studio

Harrison Birtwistle's fascination with ancient stories and traditional forms of theatre has been evident since Punch and Judy in 1968.

His interest in including the actor directly in the music theatre process began with Down by the Greenwood Side, a juxtaposition of actor, musician and singer, and was more fully explored with Bow Down, in which he used actors and musicians in an improvisational workshop to create the piece.

In both these works he is using the essentials of theatre and story telling to create his vision. His interest in music in theatre is perhaps best illustrated through his association with the National Theatre since 1975 leading to his collaboration with Peter Hall, Tony Harrison and Jocelyn Herbert to create The Oresteia.

More recently he has been working with Peter Gill on some workshops with actors at the National Theatre Studio which leads to the present collaboration and this in turn has started a dialogue between Birtwistle and Gill which will develop into a piece created in the National Theatre Studio this autumn.

Nicholas Cleobury's commitment to 20th century music has inevitably led Aquarius to include Harrison Birtwistle's chamber works in its repertoire. Aquarius' involvement with Bow Down and Down by the Greenwood Side has in effect made the crucial musical link between Harrison Birtwistle and the National Theatre Studio.


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Last modified: 2012-03-15