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Dash Arts Announces Immersive Theatre Experience as Part of Coventry City of Culture Year

International arts organisation Dash Arts has announced a brand-new production The Great Middlemarch Mystery, bringing to life the world of George Eliot’s Middlemarch as an immersive site-specific theatre experience in Coventry as part of its City of Culture year in April 2022.

Part-theatre production and part-interactive mystery game, The Great Middlemarch Mystery puts a modern twist on Eliot’s iconic novel about the hopes, dreams, disappointments and scandals lived out within a Midlands town and will take place between four historic venues in central Coventry. Audience members will be immersed in a world that is a mash-up between Eliot’s Middlemarch and modern-day Coventry, drawing echoes and parallels between the two.

Eliot’s narrative will unfold throughout a series of immersive scenes and newly devised encounters with audience members, who will witness medical crises, financial ruin and industrial change. Audiences will ultimately be tasked with gathering clues and nuggets of information to help solve the mystery at the heart of the story and bring it to its dramatic conclusion.

Tickets will go on sale at www.coventry2021.co.uk in January 2022.

COMMUNITY WORKSHOPS FOR LOCAL RESIDENTS

Dash Arts are inviting culturally and socially diverse community groups in Coventry and the West Midlands to be part of the development of The Great Middlemarch Mystery and play a key role in shaping the story it tells about Coventry by joining their cast of ‘Middlepeople’. Part-actor and part-steward, the Middlepeople will guide audience members through the experience.

In a series of inclusive research and development workshops starting in September 2021, Dash Arts will work with these participants to devise roles for themselves and develop methods of interacting with audiences, using a variety of role-play, scriptwriting, movement and performance.

Dash Arts would like the Middlepeople to be representative of the cultural and social diversity of Coventry and would particularly welcome participants from communities that are often under-represented. Participants will be empowered to give voice to the stories they wish to tell and step into a role they have chosen for themselves. Dash Arts hope that some will choose to continue this journey and perform as the Middlepeople in the production itself, from 1st – 10th April 2022, alongside the professional cast, with all expenses paid for.

Those who work with community groups in Coventry and the West Midlands are invited to register their interest by 16th August by emailing info@dasharts.org.uk.

Josephine Burton, Artistic Director of Dash Arts, said, “Coventry was the inspiration for George Eliot’s Middlemarch, and its communities, stories and buildings are at the very heart of this production. The Great Middlemarch Mystery will invite people to step into a world that is at the same time both 19th-century Middlemarch and 21st-century Coventry and to rediscover this classic novel as a work that on so many levels still resonates today”.

The Great Middlemarch Mystery is supported by the UK Research and Innovation Arts and Humanities Research Council, Arts Council England, The Garrick Charitable Trust, Royal Holloway, University of London, The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, Three Monkies Trust, and the Middlemarch Giving Circle.