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Show based on epic poem Rime of The Ancient Mariner docks in Diss

PUBLISHED: 09:57 21 October 2018 | UPDATED: 14:45 22 October 2018

The Mariner, a new play looking at the influential Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Photo: Julian Harries

The Mariner, a new play looking at the influential Rime of the Ancient Mariner. Photo: Julian Harries

Archant

East Anglia has long been associated with the sea. Storms have shaped its coastline while foreign trade and fishing have provided much of its livelihood. Unsurprisingly, the sea has become an important part of its folklore and its history.

Julian Harries as The Ancient Mariner in Common Ground's production coming to Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Sally ParkinsonJulian Harries as The Ancient Mariner in Common Ground's production coming to Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Sally Parkinson

Suffolk-based Common Ground Theatre Company is currently touring its own tribute to our sea-going heritage with a wide-ranging tour of a magical, slightly surreal production of The Mariner – a musical adaptation of the gothic fantasy, Rime of The Ancient Mariner.

Penned in 1792 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge the epic poem heralded the arrival of the Romantic movement in England.

The show’s writer Pat Whymark said: “In The Mariner, I took episodes from the extraordinary life of Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and through them I interweaved his most famous poem. I wanted to examine how an artist’s work can be seen as an allegory for their life story. The Rime has a strangely prophetic relevance to Coleridge himself, but for the reader, has the wider themes of ecological disaster, our own destructive compulsions, and the death and rebirth of imagination.”

Common Ground's production of The Mariner, based on the epic poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is coming to Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Sally ParkinsonCommon Ground's production of The Mariner, based on the epic poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is coming to Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Sally Parkinson

The show, which docks in Diss on Friday, October 26, features live action, film, puppetry and original music, sung by the Common Ground Community Choir. The Mariner will be played by Julian Harries, well-known to audiences from his performances for that other acclaimed touring company Eastern Angles.

Live music will be provided by Pat Whymark and Emily Bennett along with an all female community choir who are performing in teams over the course of the tour.

“The Rime has held a place in the common consciousness ever since, inspiring generations of artists, writers and film-makers,” said Pat.

Julian Harries as The Ancient Mariner in Common Ground's production coming to Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Sally ParkinsonJulian Harries as The Ancient Mariner in Common Ground's production coming to Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Sally Parkinson

This production follows previous productions such as The Old Curiosity Shop and Sherlock Holmes and The Hooded Lance in 2017.

Julian Harries added: “This piece holds new challenges for us as theatre makers to create a play which is a fusion of some epic themes such as ecological disaster and man’s destructive compulsions.

“Using original music as an additional conduit for the emotional breadth of the poem, we hope to share with our audience the profound effect the poem has had on us, and to open the way for their own unique experience.”

Common Ground's production of The Mariner, based on the epic poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is coming to Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Sally ParkinsonCommon Ground's production of The Mariner, based on the epic poem by Samuel Taylor Coleridge, is coming to Diss Corn Hall. Picture: Sally Parkinson

• The Mariner is at Diss Corn Hall on October 26, 7.30pm, £12, £7 under-21, 01379 652241, disscornhall.co.uk

• It will also be performed at Great Hockham Village Hall on October 20 and Syleham and Wingfield Village Hall on November 10. Full tour details at commongroundtc.co.uk

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