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Play on Earth

Station House Opera

© Peter Atkinson
2006 – 2007

Dusk in Singapore, teatime in Britain, breakfast in Brazil. Nine people from three continents perform together in one single production. A quayside building in NewcastleGateshead, a skyscraper in São Paulo and a theatre in Singapore merge to become a fourth imaginary space. Three audiences, one in each city, experience the performance simultaneously.

The transcontinental premiere of Station House Opera’s major project Play On Earth opened across the globe in June 2006, showing concurrently across three continents and time zones.

In São Paulo, NewcastleGateshead and Singapore, audiences arrive at a building to watch a show, all visible to each other as they take their seats. This global audience then discovers a much larger fourth performance, visible on three screens above the actors. Projected simultaneously from three corners of the world, a narrative unfolds, immediate, unpredictable and alive.

A Brazilian couple are eating breakfast, but the woman is more interested in the man sleeping in Singapore; and why is the Englishwoman watching so closely? When he leaves his flat, she follows him through the streets of NewcastleGateshead to his rendezvous in São Paulo. The revelation of their relationships is played out across the globe – by performers in three continents together telling a story which is both universal and true to its own locality, its own culture and concerns.

Play On Earth
takes the concept of filmed and simultaneous performance, developed by Station House Opera over several years following the creation of the award-winning Roadmetal, Sweetbread (1998) to the global level.

Play On Earth
was a major international collaboration between Station House Opera, Artsadmin, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Northern Stage, Singapore Arts Festival, TheatreWorks, Philarmonia Brasileira and Bonito & Compri. Performed as part of the World Summit on Arts & Culture in NewcastleGateshead. Funded by Arts Council England and the British Council.

© Peter Atkinson