A forthcoming chance at The North Wall to see an award winning dance theatre company for the first time in Oxford.   Artistic Director of Lost Dog Ben Duke collaborates with multi-award winning playwright Lucy Kirkwood on a new work Like Rabbits inspired by Virginia Woolf’s short story Lappin and Lapinova.  In this quietly devastating new work for two performers, a man and a woman meet and have sex and fall deeply in love. Each night the lovers slip away from their real lives into a world that exists only in their shared imagination: a world that belongs to them, in which tax returns and shopping lists and commuting do not exist; a world in which they are not their normal selves, but King of the Rabbits and Queen of the Hares. But what begins as a game soon becomes a battleground, and the couple hurtle towards a tragedy of the saddest, and most ordinary kind.

Devised by Ben Duke in collaboration with Lucy Kirkwood

Lighting and Set Design by Jackie Shemesh

Costume Design by Holly Waddington

Part of an ongoing commitment to creating a dance programme as innovative and vibrant as its theatre offering, The North Wall are delighted to bring Lost Dog Dance Theatre’s critically acclaimed work to Oxford. Following this evening’s performance of Like Rabbits there will be a 15 minute trailer of Lost Dog’s next work inspired by Milton’s epic poem Paradise Lost which will be performed live on stage by Ben Duke.

Performance:  Saturday 24th January, 8.00pm

Venue:  The North Wall Arts Centre, South Parade, Oxford OX2 7JN

Tickets:  £15, £12 concessions, £5 students

Running time: 50 mins

Age suitability:  14+

Book online here or by telephone: 01865 319450

Lost Dog Artistic Director Ben Duke said: “I was initially drawn to Lappin and Lapinova because it was a story about a relationship existing in two separate realms at the same time.  There is the reality of this couple and then there is their fantastical world.  It felt like it was a story that needed two separate mediums – words and movement – to stage it.  Lucy reduced the story to its essential parts and that meant that we felt we could tell that story in very few words, leaving space for movement to expand and to add flesh to this frame. I am addicted to the problem of combining text and movement.  It is resistant to formulas and is endlessly challenging but sometimes it offers the very best kind of theatrical experience.”

Lucy Kirkwood said: “I first read Virginia Woolf’s short stories when I was a teenager and Lappin and Lapinova has continued to haunt me since then. For years I kept returning to the idea of adapting it, but could never work out how to achieve it until I started wondering whether it might best be expressed in movement. Lucy Morrison introduced me to Ben and from our first meeting he embraced and understood what was intoxicating, true, flinty and tragic about the story. In particular he felt, as I did, that though it was written in the Edwardian era, it is a deeply modern tale. The results of Ben’s work on the story are, to me, exhilarating: the form he has given it is more beautiful than I would have been capable of, and it’s been a deeply pleasurable process to work with him, Ino and Chris on bringing it to the stage.”

Ben Duke has created work for Scottish Dance Theatre (The Life and Times of Girl A, 2010), and has choreographed projects for the National Theatre of Scotland (Dolls, 2009), the Gate Theatre, London (Sexual Neuroses of our Parents, 2007), Handspring UK (Crow 2012) and in 2011 was commissioned to make a new work for Dance Umbrella (The Difference Engine) supported by Dance East and the Junction. Ben Duke is a Work Place Artist, Associate Artist at South East Dance and recipient of the Bonnie Bird New Choreography Award 2011.

Lucy Kirkwood’s Chimerica won the 2014 Evening Standard Award for Best Play, the Critic’s Circle Award for Best New Play and the 2014 Susan Smith Blackburn Playwright Prize. Chimerica is nominated for five Oliver Awards this year including Best New Play. Her new TV series The Smoke, about a team of London Firefighters, premiered on Sky 1 in February. Recent work includes NSFW (Royal Court, 2012); Hansel and Gretel (National Theatre, 2012); It Felt Empty When The Heart Went at First But It is Alright Now (Clean Break / Arcola, 2008); Hedda (Gate Theatre, 2008); and Tinderbox (Bush Theatre, 2008). Lucy is currently under commission to the National Theatre and to Manhattan Theatre Company.

Lost Dog was formed in 2004 by Ben Duke and Raquel Meseguer with the aim of exploring the territory between dance and theatre, generating work that could be accessible to both audiences. The Company began with a simple idea: “say what needs to be said and dance the rest”.  Lost Dog’s first duet, Pave up Paradise, won first prize at the Burgos International Choreography competition, second prize at the prestigious Hanover choreography competition,  and has been toured by Phoenix Dance Theatre. Their second piece, The Drowner, was nominated for a Total Theatre award in 2005. Since then, Lost Dog have created and toured four further full length works; Hungry Ghosts (2007-8); The Rain Parade (commissioned by Dance Digital), Salvage, created at the Corn Exchange, Newbury and performed at British Dance Edition and the Brighton Festival 2010; and most recently Home for Broken Turns which has toured in the UK and internationally alongside It Needs Horses, which won The Place Prize for Dance in 2011.

Commissioned by Brighton Festival and The Place, and supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Additionally supported by South East Dance and CCN de Caen / Basse-Normandie, Direction Héla Fattoumi – Eric Lamoureux, under the programme “Accueil-Studio” / French Ministry of Culture and Communication through DanSCe Dialogues 2 funded by Interreg IVA and co-financed by ERDF. Originally commissioned by the Almeida Festival.