Going to see rising young writer Zoe Lewis' Glastonbury will be surprisingly like going to the music festival itself. The show will tour several major cities (Brighton, Cardiff, Manchester, Birmingham) in a giant marquee, and theatregoers will approach the stage via a series of sideshows, campfires and stalls before they are entertained by one of a rotating line-up of bands.
Lewis, who had a career in the music business before turning to writing, arranged a reading of the play — described as "a radical departure from the norms of modern theatre" and which tells the story of seven very different visitors to Glastonbury — at the Soho Theatre. Following this, artist Damien Hirst became involved, as set designer.
After some backers pulled out following September 11 last year, it was decided to present the play on tour. On the other hand, if the tour is successful than a London opening will be very much on the cards. Already snapped up by Working Title, who have bought the film rights, Glastonbury is clearly going to push Lewis' career (already impressive, with a major deal with the Really Useful Company) even further.
Lewis' partner, Keith Allen, directs the play in such a way as to recapture onstage the experience of attending Glastonbury itself, but it's the way that the performance challenges "normal" theatre that he feels is most important — in an interview with The Observer he said, "I am absolutely passionate about changing the way people think about the theatre, and so I've put my own money into it. This is the only way to find audiences for the future."
—By Paul Webb Theatrenow