Through the Wilderness

A Work in Development


A new piece of Choral Dance Theatre

Co-created by Jen Heyes and John Browne

Composed by John Browne | Directed by Jen Heyes

Venue: Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

Irish-born composer John Browne recently wrote the music for The Suppliant Women – which premiered in Switzerland, before gaining 5-star reviews at Royal Lyceum Edinburgh and Manchester Royal Exchange, and will be going to The Young Vic this autumn – and The Events (Guardian’s no.1 theatre show of 2013). Both of these productions feature community choirs at their heart. He has also created works for Royal Opera House, English National Opera, Westminster Abbey, and Southbank Centre, and choral arrangements for the band Elbow.

Through The Wilderness is the story of a man who suffers a crisis. He leaves his home and his family and wanders out into the wilderness in search of some kind of truth. The man in our story is a contemporary everyman/everywoman, the crisis is one of meaning. This agonised quest for meaning is universal, and we place that search in our contemporary secular age, in the contexts of ever-growing materialism and inequality, information overload and technological advance. To create the piece we combined extracts from some classic texts about the human condition with some popular songs. The words we use are extracts from The Pilgrim’s Progress, Huckleberry Finn, and a few lyrics from Bjork and The Smiths.
Our intention to bring together diverse range of voices and experiences so that we can consider our theme from a rounded perspective. This is a piece in development; Co-creators John Browne and Jen Heyes met whilst working with a group of vulnerable adults for Opera North and St George’s Crypt in Leeds. This collaboration led them to develop an idea for a new piece of choral theatre which they felt compelled to explore.

The intention is for Through The Wilderness to grow into a larger piece in the future.

The piece currently lasts about 35 minutes and is in 7 sections:

1000 Fools
All This Noise
Burning Worm
Cold Shivers
Wrestling Demons
All Cramped Up
The River

Choreographer Paul Bayers Kitcher Lighting Designer Cath Cullinane Production Assistant Holly Lewis Production Assistant Charlie Mortimer Organist Daniel Bishop Piano Stephen Mannings Percussion Oliver Pooley Rehearsal pianist Neill Quinton Vocal Leader (Community Choir) Saphena Aziz LCYC director Stephen Mannings PR and Marketing Bill Elms Associates Text consultant Johnny Hanrahan Photographs Mark Lounon Fallen Angels Dance Theatre Andrew Millan, Ian Brown, Keith A Tucker, Kirstie Burton, Linda Lewis, Paula Patterson, Phil Ashby Up For Arts Choir Bretta Kane, Jack Moxley, Jan Booth, Maria Jose Zafra Domene, May Briscoe, Paul Rooney, Paula Goss, Rachel Cain, Susan Goligher, John Tobin Voice Pop Amanda Brown, Carina McNulty, Clare Meely, Cynthia Rae, Helen Frost, Karen Siddle, Michelle Isherwood, Sue Pierce, Tim Taylor SEPAS Community Choir Ali, Amir, Farashad P, Farashad Z, Hista, Reza Genie in the Gutter Carmel, Debbie, Gary, Graham James, Jenna, Jules, Layla, Leroy, Michael, Pauline, Robert, Tom Harrison House Alan, Andy B, Andy L, Bernie, Ian, Jay, Mike, Ragnar, Matt Liverpool Cathedral Youth Choir Tom H, Abigail B, Amy C, Jessie Y, Douglas L, Thomas C, Jack Watson, Daniel G Genie in the Gutter is a bridge to recovery through creativity and performance. Tom Harrison House is specialist addiction recovery treatment for military veterans. Liverpool Iranian Community are seeking asylum in the UK. Fallen Angels Dance Theatre provides high quality dance theatre experiences for people in recovery from addiction.