For many years I have been begging Richard Chappell to bring one of his shows to the North and he has finally relented. His company, Richard Chappell Dance, will perform at the Stanley and Audrey Burton Theatre in Leeds on 6 June 2018.
I first came across Richard's work in 2014 when he was still a student at the Rambert School. He had been commissioned by David Murley to create Wayward Kinship on the relationship between Thomas Becket and his king - a topic that TS Elliot explored in Murder in the Cathedral and Jean Anouilh in Becket. In MurleyDance's Autumn Tour 28 Oct 2014 I wrote:
"Chappell's Wayward Kinship was a complete change of mood. Like Gilian Lynne's A Miracle in the Gorbals which I had seen earlier in the day it considered the struggle of the temporal against the spiritual. It explored the friendship between Henry and Becket and its transition into hate with the eventual ridding of the turbulent priest. The knights who carried out the king's bidding were women and all the more sinister for that. The ballet ended with Becket nearing his cross triumphant in death. A remarkable work for any choreographer but all the more impressive for a 19 year old who has only just completed his training at Rambert. No doubt we shall see a lot of Richard Chappell in the years to come."As Richard and I live and work at opposite ends of England it has mot been easy to catch his shows but David Murley was able to cover one of his performances at Chissenhale Dance Space (see Murley on Chappell 1 March 2015).
Richanrd's show, At the End We Begin, is described in Northern Ballet's newsletter as "a dynamic and compelling programme". It appears to be another work inspired by T.S. Eliot. This time it is Four Quartets. According to the company's website the piece takes four individuals "from a place of being lost to a state of empowerment and acceptance, where they have found their own voice by journeying through Eliot's text." The dramaturgy is by Neus Gil Cortes. Samuel Hall has composed a new score for the work with cello, piano and electronics. Hannah Taylor has designed the costumes. The work has already been performed in Oxford, Exeter and Doncaster and will proceed to Frome, Dundee, Newcastle and Falmouth later in the year.
With any luck this will be the first of many visits to Leeds. Richard writes:
"I love Leeds as a city and it's vibrant dance scene, and if we can sell well for the performance in the coming month, then this could really help me in developing a more regular creative presence in the city in the future."I wish Richard a successful tour and hope he will include Manchester and other venues in the North West in his tours one day.