A play for young people developed in collaboration with The Portsmouth Grammar School and James Fenimore Robinson. The first performance was on Wednesday 20th May 2015 at The David Russell Theatre, Portsmouth.
Longlisted for the Top Five, Octagon Theatre, Bolton.
The year is 1897 and the villagers in an English coastal community are preparing for Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. Overnight, a gigantic beached whale appears on their beach, and the villagers are forced to embark on an unexpected journey of discovery about their opinions, their community, and themselves. Edward wants his father to buy the whale and exhibit it for the future; Hanne and Davey want to claim it in the name of their vanished Pa, an Irish fisherman who, it is said, drowned looking for the beast… Whalesong is a warm, deeply engaging, often comic and emotional play for an ensemble cast which explores attitudes to outsiders, and themes of community, acceptance and belonging.
“it was eerie and powerful…the most spectacular ensemble piece.” Audience member
“Luckily, for Whalesong, I’ve been able to work with a writer who was happy to listen to, and act on, what I look for in a play for young people- a mix of tones, both serious and comic, a community of vibrant characters of differing ages, big themes, and an emotional complexity that engages both actor and audience. More or less what you would expect from any good play, really, regardless of age. I think Jo has done a terrific job of creating these opportunities in a play which never patronises the cast, but instead constantly challenges them to put themselves into a different time with different attitudes – in this case towards outsiders, towards women, towards the world, although as in all good plays, you may find some relevance to our own modern society.” James Fenimore Robinson, director and Head Of Drama at PGS
All photos on this page courtesy of Jason Baker, The Portsmouth Grammar School