All the town's a stage in new show

Interactive show Rear View which starts at the Grundy Art Gallery.  Cecilia Knapp and Jemima Foxtrot.
Interactive show Rear View which starts at the Grundy Art Gallery. Cecilia Knapp and Jemima Foxtrot.
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A cast of thousands will form the backdrop to a new interactive show in Blackpool.

The customised double-decker theatre bus will be hitting the streets from noon today, as passengers follow the story of a woman told through poetry.

In a new work, commissioned by arts body LeftCoast, the audience will be transported to sites around Blackpool where a poet will reflect on their life’s experiences.

The show has been created by theatre company IOU and will also take at Fleetwood’s Festival of Transport this weekend.

IOU’s executive director Joanne Wain said the experience will start in a life drawing class, where the 65-year-old model is considering her life and participants join her on a journey through significant locations in her past.

“We approached LeftCoast for funding because Blackpool is such an iconic location, the Tower, the hotels on the Promenade, it makes it special,” Joanne said.

At various locations around the town, the woman - performed by poets Cecilia Knapp and Jemima Foxtrot - will tell her stories.

The audience will be wearing headphones which will block out the ambient sounds as they travel, and all they will hear is the poet’s words.

“All the people on the streets of Blackpool will become a cast of thousands,” Joanne added. “The way they will react to the people on the bus - and potentially with the woman - is really interesting.

“People who have experienced this already in London and Norwich have really loved it, seeing the place they know so well through different eyes.

“It also offers a different perspective as the audience is looking backwards, so you’re seeing the town going past in reverse.”

Passengers are asked to ‘revisit the choices we made, and to reflect on the past, present and future,’ during their experience.

LeftCoast artistic director Michael Trainor said he was looking forward to seeing the piece in situ and people’s responses to it.

“The interesting thing about this is that it’s new, a work being created in Blackpool as historically that’s not what happens here,” he said.

Journeys take place at various times today, tomorrow and Saturday, leaving from the Grundy Art Gallery in Queen Street.

For times and tickets, go to www.leftcoast.org.uk.