Leading Medway-based theatre company Icon Theatre, who celebrate their 20th anniversary this year, have announced the cast and creative team for their forthcoming dance and light production If Not Now, which will see breathtaking visuals by NOVAK projected on to Rochester Castle and a company of 175 perform as part of Medway Light Nights. In Icon Theatre’s signature style, If Not Now is created and performed by a team of professional performers and theatre-makers alongside a company of people from local communities.
If Not Now is directed by Icon Theatre’s Artistic Director Nancy Hirst, in collaboration with members of the local community. The production is choreographed by Jon Beney (Co-Artistic Director and Founder of Tenfoot Dance Company) and has an original score composed by multi award-winning Darren Clark (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Southwark Playhouse; The Grumpiest Boy in the World, Victoria Opera).
The creative team is joined by Sarah Booth as set and costume designer (The Last Abbot of Reading, Reading Abbey; BEAM, Aldeburgh Festival), Dan Terry as lighting designer (Sweet Charity, Cadogan Hall; Beautiful Octopus Club, Southbank Centre) and Adam Finlay as projection content creator (co-founder and Studio Director of NOVAK). Professional dancers taking part include Ayesha Fazal (Romeo & Juliet, Birmingham Royal Ballet; PETRICHOR, ThickSkin Theatre), Cher Nicolette Ho (Greenwich Dance; Southbank Centre), Ena Yamaguchi (The King and I, The London Palladium; Swan Lake, Ballet Classique de Paris) and Patrick Ross Webster (Grand Gesture; Counterpoint Dance Company). Professional actors include David King-Yombo (The Princess and the Pauper, Hordern Ciani) and Jade-Ashleigh Jeffery (Little Fox’s Christmas Garden, Brook Theatre). Emerging performers and dancers will also take part, with more to be announced.
The incredible visuals projected on Rochester Castle alongside the live performance are created by video and projection designers NOVAK who have brought extraordinary work to the UK’s largest light festival, Lumiere (London, Durham and Derry/Londonderry), Brighton Festival and the internationally renowned Singapore Night Festival.
Arts and performance groups from the local community will take part in the production, including Icon’s youth-led programme Theatre31 (who seek to empower children and young people across Medway and Sheppey), Icon’s Community Chorus, Fat Lady Opera Community Chorus, Community Choir, Square Pegs Arts (an award-winning charity running projects for those with learning difficulties, autism and social communication difficulties) and Upside Down Dance Academy (who offer street and cultural dance classes, working closely to engage with communities and local families).
If Not Now questions how communities can unite in a broken world. The production is inspired by moments in history that have launched remarkable social change, including the establishment of the NHS and the welfare state. It explores how communities can come together today to transform poverty, prejudice and the climate crisis, telling a unifying and uplifting story of humanity and hope.
Founder and Artistic Director Nancy Hirst commented: “I’m excited and humbled by the way in which our company made up of over 175 professional theatre-makers and performers, local individuals and community groups have come together to create If Not Now; a production that I hope gives voice to the stories and interests of those involved, and a stage to both local and national talents alongside each other. Our eldest performer in If Not Now is 88 years old and our youngest is seven. Everyone involved both on and offstage has brought something special to this show – there’s a real sense of community.”
If Not Now is an Icon Theatre production co-commissioned by Icon Theatre, Medway Council and Theatre31.
Medway Light Nights is commissioned by Medway Council in partnership with Emergency Exit Arts.