On Sunday 16 July, Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch (QTH) threw a Summer Celebration, as part of this year’s Public Acts with the National Theatre (NT).
Public Acts is the National Theatre’s initiative to create extraordinary acts of theatre and community. QTH began working on Public Acts in 2018, with a new musical version of Shakespeare’s Pericles at the NT. In 2019, the second Public Acts production, a musical adaptation of As You Like It, played at QTH. At the heart of the project is the idea of connection, between people, communities and theatres.
The Summer Celebration at QTH was inspired by the themes of The Odyssey, this year’s Public Acts Production.
The day began with the installation of the Galley which sat outside QTH before being moved onto the stage. The Galley represents the connection between all our communities, as well as The Odyssey’s themes of remembrance and resilience. The Galley is a ten-meter-long ship that has travelled the country, appearing in public places to gather messages of remembrance. These messages will be exhibited, alongside the ship itself, outside the National Theatre during performances of The Odyssey: The Underworld (26 – 18 August 2023).
In the afternoon, previous and current Public Acts participants performed an Opening Ceremony, including live music, communal singing of ‘If You Wait for the Weather’ from The Odyssey, spoken words of remembrance and dance to an invited audience. The Ceremony ended in 3 claps, citing friendship, generosity and future.
After a collective feast, participants and the audience were invited to perform in an Open Mic on The Other Stage. Performances included lots of singing, a Pasadoble, poetry and Bhangra dancing.
The Celebration was a lovely nod to As You Like It, and a great opportunity to reminisce, celebrate and look forward.
“It was lovely to see so many familiar faces on Sunday and a very moving afternoon” – Participant
“You created a warm and relaxing atmosphere and organised a delicious buffet” – Participant