Theatre and dance companies to stage shows outside homes as Christmas gift

Performers will stage bespoke shows in people’s gardens or on their doorsteps as a Christmas present from two theatre and dance companies.

Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre are to create socially distanced performances for four members of the public as part of their seasonal programme, which was announced on Thursday.

Friends, relatives or colleagues can nominate anyone living in Dundee for the surprise pop-up events, entitled PRESENT, which will take place over the festive season.

Scottish Dance Theatre production YAMA
Scottish Dance Theatre production YAMA

While Dundee Rep Theatre is closed to the public, the companies are using the digital world to stay connected with audiences.

Both companies will present ADVENT next month, a series of 24 “digital performance gifts”, filmed safely on the Dundee Rep stage and shared on social media each day in December in the run-up to Christmas.

On December 28, audiences can watch the behind-the-scenes SHINE ON documentary which follows the two ensembles as they adapt to working in the pandemic.

Andrew Panton, artistic director of Dundee Rep Theatre and joint chief executive of Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre, said: “I am inspired, heartened and in awe of the creative response not just of the team here at the Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre but of the wider community this year as we come to terms with the coronavirus pandemic together.

“We’re grateful for the support from both the Scottish Government and Creative Scotland to enable us to create this programme and to the people of Dundee whose response and engagement since lockdown has been overwhelming.

“Despite all the challenges the pandemic has strengthened our bonds with the community in Dundee and beyond.”

The venue itself will also be transformed into a work of sound and visual art for the festive season with the help of designer Karen Tennent and lighting designer Emma Jones.

Anyone who wants to nominate someone for PRESENT is asked to email outlining who they would like to receive the performance and why, where the show might be performed, what the nominee likes most about Christmas and whether there are any seasonal films, stories, shows or songs they particularly enjoy.

Nominations are open until 5pm on November 12.

The performances are free and will be filmed and then broadcast on Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre social media channels on Christmas Day and Boxing Day.

The companies have also announced six new interactive micro-commissions that will pop up across Dundee next spring as part of their THIS IS FOR YOU DUNDEE programme strand.

This festival of pop-up performances includes family show Dundee Delight Dice, a relaxed outdoor family production with a different storyline every time depending on the roll of a set of giant dice.

Street dance collective Three60 will present their new project, Mother Earth, which showcases a love for nature and the contribution that women make to humankind.

Dundee Rep and Scottish Dance Theatre also continue to offer performance and creative projects through their digital programme.

Joan Cleville, artistic director of Scottish Dance Theatre, said: “I’m continually impressed by the openness of both the dancers of Scottish Dance Theatre and the communities across Dundee with whom we have danced for these past few months.

“The pandemic has highlighted our need for connection and creative expression.

“While the future remains uncertain this much is clear, dance has a vital role to play in our wellbeing as we move through this together.”