University of Leicester: The Finest Ruin play will premiere at the Y theatre in Leicester on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 July

Play written, produced and performed by University of Leicester students at the Y Theatre on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 July

LEICESTER, 20-Jul-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — A play written, produced and performed by University of Leicester students will premiere at the Y theatre in Leicester on Thursday 28 and Friday 29 July.

The Finest Ruin tells two stories: the conception of the Arch of Remembrance in Leicester’s Victoria Park, and the friendship forged between Asha and Betty, two very different women who discover the Arch connects them more than they could have imagined.

Produced for the Leicester City Council ‘Story of Parks’ project, the play is about the memories created and preserved in the city’s parks and monuments, and how we shape our buildings as much as they shape us.

At the centre of the project is the restoration of the historic gates on Victoria Park, designed by notable British architect Sir Edwin Lutyens, who is most famed for his creation of the Cenotaph in London.

Ivo de Jager, a third year History student at the University of Leicester and writer of the play, said: “Writing The Finest Ruin has been a great experience. I did a lot of research on the history of Leicester and the life of Sir Edwin Lutyens, to ensure the play is accurate and infuse it with life.

“I’ve spent about five years in this city and I’ve been able to learn about its past through my degree course and the oral archives, and I hope the play will succeed in communicating some of this heritage to the audience.

“The story’s themes are especially relevant in our current climate: memory and how we want to be remembered, community history, and the scars of war. I’m an immigrant in this country, and I felt it was important to include Leicester’s cultural diversity in a story that is so much about its identity.

“Because of this, another important theme is alienation and forging friendships in difficult times, which is explored through the relationship between the English Betty and the Indian Asha.”

Benjamin Alborough, a third year Film and Media student at the University of Leicester and producer of the play, said: “We’ve been given the rare opportunity to explore some unusual ideas and we intend to approach them innovatively with ambitious confidence.

“For a start, the set is going to be dynamic and composed entirely out of tape, controlled by the actors and shifting with the story – it’s set to look visually stunning. Working with the council is a delight and Ivo’s writing is superb. This play represents the sum total of my experience at university and it stands as a fantastic note on which to end my time in Leicester as a student.”

The Finest Ruin has been commissioned by Leicester City Council for the Heritage Lottery Funded project looking to connect local people to the history of their local parks and green spaces.

The play uses materials from the East Midlands Oral History Archive and the ‘Story of Parks’ project in which six University of Leicester History students worked with local community groups to develop a series of podcasts: https://www.mixcloud.com/LeicesterCityCouncil/

Jess Boydon, Story of Parks Project Officer (Parks Heritage) at Leicester City Council, said: “Throughout the ‘Story of Parks’ project we have been trying to engage the local community with more creative ways of exploring local history. We were delighted to work with Benjamin and Ivo, who not only understood the concept of the project but managed to transform local history into an interesting and engaging piece of storytelling. We hope through these performances, local people can learn more about our important war memorial and park gates, which the project is currently restoring thanks to a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.”

The play’s director Edward Spence recently directed Rope and Butley at the Y Theatre, and was part of the WW1 memorial project ‘we’re here because we’re here’, in commemoration of 100 years since the start of the Battle of the Somme on 1 July, which included a visit to the University in full WW1 military attire.

Running alongside the play is a city-wide community engagement programme consisting of a range of activities and events such as school projects, exhibitions, guided walks, public talks, volunteer opportunities and family fun days. For more information visit:www.storyofleicester.info/parks

You can catch The Finest Ruin at the Y Theatre, 7 East St, Leicester at 7.30pm on Thursday 28 July, 2.30pm and 7.30pm on Friday 29 July.

Tickets are free to book, but donations are welcome after the play. They can be booked online at: http://www.leicesterymca.co.uk/y-theatre-whats-on-details.php?listing=1632 or by telephoning the Y Theatre on: 0116 255 7066

Ends

Notes to editors:

For more information about the play contact writer, Ivo De Jager at: dejagerivo@gmail.comand producer, Benjamin Alborough at: alboroughbenjamin@gmail.com

For more information about the project contact Jessica Boydon at:jessica.boydon@leicester.gov.uk

Listen to the ‘Story of Parks’ podcasts at: https://www.mixcloud.com/LeicesterCityCouncil/

More information about the city-wide community engagement programme at:www.storyofleicester.info/parks

More information about Director Edward Spence at:https://www.facebook.com/EdwardJSpence

SOURCE: University of Leicester

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