New com­pany presents de­but

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - STAGE -

watch­ing from be­hind a desk set up in the stalls of the Grand.

“Although I haven’t di­rected an opera be­fore, the drive is the same as when you are di­rect­ing any piece of the­atre – we are try­ing to tell a story.

“We have a cer­tain num­ber of hours to re­hearse this thing, then, on a set date at a set time, the cur­tain goes up and we bet­ter be ready to as­tound the peo­ple sit­ting out there watch­ing,” he says.

Barl­tett’s the­atri­cal bent is very clear and his eye for cre­at­ing grand stage pic­tures is why Opera North have asked him to take charge of this pro­duc­tion of Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades. Which is why it is such a sur­prise that this man, a the­atre an­i­mal to his core, is also an ac­com­plished, award­win­ning nov­el­ist.

“Whether I am di­rect­ing on stage or writ­ing a novel, my job is to ar­tic­u­late the imag­i­na­tion of the per­son who is watch­ing the show, or read­ing the book,” he says.

“It’s the au­di­ence’s mind and imag­i­na­tion en­tirely that I am try­ing to pro­voke and en­ter­tain. The cur­tain goes up, or the book is opened and the prom­ise is that we will take your mind, heart and imag­i­na­tion to a dif­fer­ent place.” THE de­but play from York-based Six Lips The­atre opens in the city in a cou­ple of weeks, ahead of a re­gional tour next year.

An in­ti­mate and in­tense piece, Close ex­plores the ef­fect of so­cial iso­la­tion, due to ill­ness from in­fancy, on a young girl called Mar­i­anne, who is kept locked away in an at­tic by her ashamed fam­ily. York ac­tress Gemma Sharp, who was last seen as Beatrice in this sum­mer’s Much Ado About Noth­ing by the York Shake­speare Project, plays Mar­i­anne. The show is at Fri­ar­gate The­atre, Oct 25-29. Tick­ets on 01904 613000.

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