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What's On, Culture

Arthur Pita’s – A Hunger Artist

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Director-choreographer Arthur Pita reunites with dance virtuoso Edward Watson and composer-musician extraordinaire Frank Moon, this time welcoming the renowned rebel chanteuse Meow Meow for a new adaptation and world premiere of Franz Kafka’s A Hunger Artist at the Old Fire Station, Oxford. The show has a limited run from 3 to 5 June.

Produced by the Cultural Programme in association with The Royal Ballet and the Oxford Kafka Research Centre, A Hunger Artist delves into Kafka’s final and seminal work seamlessly intertwining dance, song, and intrigue into an enthralling, immersive spectacle.

Confined within a locked, straw-lined cage, Watson immerses himself in the role of the ‘Hunger Artist,’ enduring fasts lasting up to forty days. The bewitching Meow Meow takes command of the stage as the audacious ‘Impresario,’ meanwhile, Frank Moon’s eclectic score surrounds the audience, pulling them deeper into the experience with every breath. These visionary artists inject new life into Kafka’s haunting and obscure narrative, exploring sacrifice, obsession, and the relentless pursuit of artistry.

Arthur Pita has choreographed for prominent ballet companies and ballet stars across the globe. His extraordinary work has received many awards, including a Sky Arts Award for Dance and the Critics Circle Award for his previous collaboration, Metamorphosis, with Ed and Frank.

Edward Watson is known as one of the world’s most distinctive male dancers of his generation and has had more roles created on him than any other dancer in The Royal Ballet. He has had an astonishing career, winning Best Male Dancer at the Critics Circle National Dance Awards in 2001, 2008 and 2022, an Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Dance in 2012 for his performance as Gregor Samsa in Arthur Pita’s Metamorphosis, and the Prix Benois de la Danse in 2015 for his performance in Christopher Wheeldon’s The Winter’s Tale.

Post-postmodern diva, Meow Meow, was named one of the “Top Performers of the Year” by The New Yorker and has hypnotised, inspired, and terrified audiences globally with unique creations and sell-out seasons across the world. This is her first collaboration with Arthur, Edward and Frank which she refers to as ‘pure joy and excitement’ (MM to confirm)

Multi-instrumentalist and composer Frank Moon has produced scores for dance and theatre that have been performed across the world. In 2021 he was nominated for Outstanding Creative Contribution at the Critic’s Circle National Dance Awards, for his scores for dance

Arthur Pita adds: "I am thrilled to be immersed in the world of Kafka once again, as we prepare for the premiere of 'A Hunger Artist.' This collaboration with an incredible team is a testament to the enduring power of Kafka's work and the endless possibilities it offers for artistic exploration. We are excited to share this fascinating story, Kafka’s final one, which he finalised in his last days, as we premiere on the 3rd of June, the day of his death. We are also honoured to be a part of Oxford Kafka 2024, a beautiful homage to Kafka’s continued legacy.”

Following the limited run, there are plans to develop the show for a London transfer and tour.

A Hunger Artist’ is a short story by Kafka and was one of the last stories he prepared for publication in 1922. This exclusive performance is produced by the Cultural Programme, The Royal Ballet and the Oxford Kafka Research Centre, and forms part of the centenary celebrations for the writer organised by the ‘Kafka’s Transformative Communities’ project from the Kafka Research Centre: #OxfordKafka24.

Supported by The Abderrahim Crickmay Charitable Settlement, The Arts and Humanities Research Council, TORCH (The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities), HEIF (Higher Education Innovation Fund), and the New College Ludwig Fund.

Tickets are available from: oldfirestation.org.uk/whats-on/arthur-pitas-a-hunger-artist/

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