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Line of Duty’s Adrian Dunbar brings Samuel Beckett festival to Liverpool

1 month ago

Line of Duty’s Adrian Dunbar brings Samuel Beckett festival to Liverpool
Beckett: Unbound

This Summer Liverpool will play host to an extraordinary event curated by acclaimed actor and director, Adrian Dunbar.

Beckett: Unbound is an international festival dedicated to celebrating the genius of Dublin-born writer Samuel Beckett, promising a captivating lineup of world premieres and specially commissioned shows set in imaginative locations across the city, including Toxteth Reservoir.

Building upon the success of Beckett: Confined in 2022, this biennial festival, shared between Liverpool and Paris, delves into Beckett’s fascination with communication and the impact of technology on our perception of time and space.

Through a diverse program spanning theatre, music, film, dance, photography, and discussion, audiences will immerse themselves in Beckett’s exploration of the human condition.

Beckett: Unbound is curated by Adrian in collaboration with the University’s Institute of Irish Studies, and the University of Notre Dame and includes several world premieres of commissioned new works. Renowned Irish choreographer Liz Roche’s presents Sentient, at the Everyman Theatre – a major new full-length work for six dancers, saxophone and Ondes Martenot.

Krapp’s Last Tape. Credit: Pierre Grosbois
Krapp’s Last Tape. Credit: Pierre Grosbois

Performances will take place on Thursday 30 May, Friday 31 May, and Saturday 1 June. Tickets are available here.

A selection of Beckett’s major stage works are also presented as part of the festival. On Friday 31 May Toxteth’s atmospheric reservoir will set the backdrop for Pas Moi/Not I, Beckett’s notorious monologue performed in both French and English, and renowned radio play All That Fall. Beckett’s iconic, Krapp’s Last Tape/La Dernière Bande will be performed in French with English surtitles at the University’s Stanley Theatre.

The festival will also feature a unique Beckett radio play, Rough for Radio II recorded by inmates at HMP Liverpool and played at The Tung Auditorium. The festival concludes at The Tung on Sunday 2 June with a free concert of six contemporary theatre and dance productions.

Beckett: Unbound - Not I. Credit: Matthew Andrews
Not I. Credit: Matthew Andrews

Nick Roth, Director of Unreal Cities, a multidisciplinary arts project founded by Adrian Dunbar, said:

“Curating the Beckett: Unbound 2024 Biennale with Adrian Dunbar for Unreal Cities was an enormous honour, and we are both enormously proud of the way that the programme has come together. 

“I am particularly excited that this year’s edition will include four world premieres of new works specially commissioned by the festival, (two musical compositions, a major new dance work and a film installation), as well as brand new Unreal Cities productions of two of Beckett’s most seminal works. 

“Shaping the festival across both Liverpool and Paris was a fantastic opportunity for our artists to connect with audiences in both France at the UK, and we look forward to welcoming all to experience our wide-ranging, multi-disciplinary programme across both cities.”

Sentient. Credit: Jose Miguel Jiminez
Sentient. Credit: Jose Miguel Jiminez

Professor Frank Shovlin, Professor of Irish Literature in English, Institute of Irish Studies said:

“We at the Institute of Irish Studies are thrilled to see the return of the Beckett festival to Liverpool and to partner with Unreal Cities and the Centre Culturel Irlandais in what became the Dubliner’s home city of Paris. As in 2022 we will see Beckett staged in the uniquely haunting Toxteth reservoir as well as in the more orthodox but no less thrilling Everyman Theatre. From the marvellous 1956 radio play All That Fall to the bilingual Not I/Pas Moi, there are riches here for every theatre enthusiast.”

The festival is funded by the Institute of Irish Studies, University of Liverpool, the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame’s Keough School of Global Affairs and Culture Ireland, and the University of Liverpool Alumni and Friends fund.

Adrian Dunbar is an actor and producer, known for his television and theatre work. Among numerous roles, he played Superintendent Ted Hastings in BBC’s Line of Duty and also stars in the lead role in Ridley, of which he was also associate producer. 

Beckett: Unbound 2024 runs from Thursday 30 May – Tuesday 2 June, with performances and shows throughout each day and into the evening at locations across Liverpool. Find out more and book tickets for each event here

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