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Fellini’s Oscar-winning masterpiece La Strada comes to the stage at West Yorkshire Playhouse

 

One of the true masterpieces of modern cinema, Federico Fellini’s 1957 Oscar-winning film, La Strada (The Road), will be brought to life on stage in a brand new adaptation directed by Olivier Award nominee Sally Cookson with music composed by Benji Bower.

 

Awarded the honorary Oscar for Lifetime Achievement in 1993, Italian director Federico Fellini changed the face of film-making forever with his seminal films such as La Strada, La Dolce Vita, 8½, Nights of Cabiria and Satyricon. Marking 60 years since La Strada, starring Anthony Quinn, won the ‘Best Foreign Language Film’ Academy award, Fellini’s cinematic masterpiece, hailed as “one of the most influential films ever made” (the American Film Institute), sees its first ever UK stage adaptation.
La Strada - WYP - Photography by Robert Day

 

A soul-searching story filled with beauty, sadness, humour and acute observation, LA STRADA tells the tragic and tender tale of wide-eyed Gelsomina who is sold by her impoverished mother to the brutish strongman Zampano, a travelling sideshow performer. Their journey through the Italian countryside leads them to a ragtag touring circus where they meet Il Matto the free-spirited tightrope walker, who triesto rekindle Gelsomina’s broken spirit.

 

Director Sally Cookson says: “Fellini’s iconic film has always fascinated me and the thought of using it as a starting point to make a piece of theatre was one I couldn’t resist. A folk-tale like odyssey - this story sees three lost souls travelling ‘the road’ and searching in different ways to find meaning in their lives. Using physical storytelling, music and movement, we will be attempting to find a theatricality to re imagine this story of human suffering, longing and redemption.

 

Featuring live music and original songs, LA STRADA brings together a multi-skilled cast of performers and musicians. Audrey Brisson (Cirque de Soleil’s Quidam, Kneehigh’s The Cast of the Flying Lovers of Vitebsk, Dead Dog in a Suitcase, The Wild Bride and National Theatre’s The Elephantom) plays Gelsomina, Stuart Goodwin (Sally Cookson’s Sleeping Beauty; Kneehigh’s Tristan & Yseult) plays Zampano and Bart Soroczynski (Cirque de Loin’s The Fool & The Princess; ENO’s Benvenuto Cellini; RSC’s The Merry Wives of Windsor) plays Il Matto. The ensemble cast includes: Matt Costain, Fabrizio Matteini, Sofie Lybäck, Niv Petel, Niccolo Curradi, Tatiana Santini, Teowa Vuong, Tim Dalling, Niccolo Curradi, Luke Potter and Tee Jay Holmes

 

LA STRADA is directed by Sally Cookson, with musical direction and music by Benji Bower, ‘writer in the room’ Mike Akers, set and costume design by Katie Sykes, lighting design by Aideen Maloneand sound design by Mike Beer.

 

La Strada - WYP - Photography by Robert Day

Director Sally Cookson is an associate artist of Bristol Old Vic. Together with long-time creative collaborator, composer and musical director Benji Bower, their many productions include: Jane Eyre (Bristol Old Vic and National Theatre), the Olivier Award nominated Hetty Feather (West End, National Tour & Florida USA), Peter Pan (National Theatre), Treasure Island (Bristol Old Vic), and the Olivier Award nominated Cinderella: A Fairytale (Tobacco Factory Theatre), Varmints (Sadler’s Wells).

 

Multi Olivier award-winning producer Kenny Wax says:

“I have been trying to mount a stage production of LA STRADA for many years. When Sally Cookson told me it was her favourite film, the stars seemed to align more perfectly than I could have ever dreamed. And that is only half the back story.

 

https://www.wyp.org.uk/

 

La Strada - WYP - Photography by Robert Day