Lecturer works with the National Theatre to adapt The Odyssey

Image shows Tajinder Hayer who is working with the National Theatre to adapt Homer's The Odyssey. He is working on The Cyclops’ episode - branding also featured in the image - to be staged next April.
Tajinder Hayer who is working with the National Theatre to adapt The Cyclops episode of Homer's The Odyssey to be staged next April.

A Lancaster University lecturer is working with the National Theatre on an epic nationwide production of The Odyssey across five UK locations, in collaboration with communities and artists across the country.

Lecturer in Creative Writing Tajinder Singh Hayer is one of five writers from across the country to ‘reimagine’ Homer’s ‘The Odyssey’ told in five episodes at partner venues nationwide.

Taking place in 2023, the production will form part of the National Theatre’s 60th anniversary programme.

In celebration of the fifth anniversary of ‘Public Acts’, the NT’s nationwide programme to create extraordinary acts of theatre and community, The Odyssey will be an epic, multi-venue production made in collaboration with hundreds of community members and professional artists from across the country.

Through this landmark project, the adventures of Odysseus will be reimagined for today with community companies as a universal story of resilience, loss, healing and hope.

The Odyssey will be told in four episodes taking place across the country in Spring 2023, culminating with a fifth and final episode on the Olivier stage at the National Theatre in August 2023.

Tajinder is working with the Cast Theatre in Doncaster to adapt ‘The Cyclops’ episode to be staged next April.

He said: “It’s lovely to be working on a project that is all about connected communities through theatre; there’s something hugely inspiring about reaching back into the ancient oral poem and finding how it speaks to the present.”

The first four episodes will be created and performed by local artists and communities in four partner organisations across the country in April 2023: Restoke in Stoke-on-Trent, Cast in Doncaster, Trowbridge Town Hall in Trowbridge and The Fire Station (for Sunderland Culture in partnership with Sunderland Empire) in Sunderland.

The culmination of the Odyssey journey, the fifth episode, will be staged as an epic full-scale musical production at the National Theatre on 27-29 August 2023.

This final production will feature community performers from all four nationwide companies and will feature 140 people including six professional actors, six live musicians and three cameo performance groups from across the UK.

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