Dr Who dematerialises in Suffolk for an Olympic battle

One of the biggest cultural events of Britain’s Olympic year will be exploding into life deep in the heart of Suffolk.

Dr Who’s Tardis will be arriving, weezing and groaning, to take part in a stunning outdoor theatrical event in Ipswich during June and July.

Following confirmation of funding by The Arts Council, The New Wolsey Theatre and Ipswich Borough Council have announced a collaboration with outdoor theatre specialists Punchdrunk to stage Dr Who: The Crash of The Elysium. Ipswich Borough Council are providing the venue for the event, which is likely to be the former Crown Pools car park, although other sites are also being considered.

The adventure will be enacted on a vast outdoor set with plenty of audience participation. The script for the event has been penned by Dr Who scriptwriter Tom MacRae who provided David Tennant’s classic two-part adventure The Rise of the Cybermen and The Age of Steel. The exact details of the story are still being worked out as it will depend on the nature of the performing space.

Also it is hoped that Dr Who star Matt Smith, although not part of the show, will make an appearance in the town at some time during the run.

Sarah Holmes, chief executive of The New Wolsey Theatre said: “This is a huge deal for the region not just Ipswich. Audiences will come not just from the immediate locality but from across the region and the country.

“We are so excited by this opportunity to stage something extraordinary for 2012. We are thrilled to be working with Punchdrunk, the internationally acclaimed pioneers in immersive theatre, The Crash of The Elysium is a live Doctor Who theatre adventure in which the audience is the star of the show. There will be three different types of performance in 2012 – schools performances, family performances for 7-12 year olds and performances for those aged 13+.

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“The Crash of the Elysium will undoubtedly be one of the cultural highlights of the 2012 celebrations and it’s happening in Suffolk. This is an incredible opportunity and one not to miss. We are very proud and excited to welcome the world-renowned Punchdrunk to the east for the first time but doing so as part of the London 2012 Festival and working with London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) and with Manchester International Festival makes it even more exciting.”

The event is being staged as part of the Ip-Art community arts festival. Ipswich Borough Council Leader David Ellesmere said: “This is fantastic news and something the Council is really pleased to be a partner in. The Crash of the Elysium will be a huge event for Ipswich and the region in 2012. It will also be a welcome boost for the local economy as it will bring thousands of people into the town. I would like to thank all our partners who will be helping us to put this together next June.”

Andrea Stark, Executive Director, Arts Council England, said: “We are thrilled to support Ipswich Borough Council and the New Wolsey Theatre in their presentation of Punchdrunk’s live Doctor Who adventure The Crash of the Elysium. It’s great to see a high-quality show with such universal appeal coming to the East of England. As a principal funder of the Cultural Olympiad, the largest cultural celebration in the history of the modern Olympic and Paralympic movements, we are especially pleased that The Crash of the Elysium will form part of this. Its inclusion in the London 2012 Festival will bring unprecedented and well deserved national profile to Ipswich and the region.”

The Arts Council today confirmed that the show would run from June 15 to July 8. The Crash of The Elysium was created by Felix Barrett, creative director of Punchdrunk from an idea by BBC script editor and producer Steven Moffat. The script is by Tom MacRae.

Kathy Gosling, Suffolk County Council’s portfolio holder for sport, culture, diversity, health and wellbeing, said: ‘Suffolk County Council has been working hard to make sure the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games leaves a positive legacy for Suffolk. This news is a welcome boost to our ongoing campaign to capture some of the magic of the Games for local people to experience and enjoy. We are delighted to be working with London 2012, the New Wolsey Theatre, the Arts Council and Ipswich Borough Council to bring The Crash of the Elysium to Suffolk to our county town.’

The Crash of the Elysium will be presented at Ip-Art by Manchester International Festival, the London 2012 Festival, the New Wolsey Theatre and Ipswich Borough Council supported by Arts Council England and Suffolk County Council. This project was originally commissioned by Manchester International Festival, BBC, the London 2012 Festival and Salford City Council with funding from Arts Council England.

The New Wolsey Theatre is expected to put tickets on sale sometime early in the New Year.

See tomorrow’s EADT for exclusive pictures

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