Rambert’s 2020 hit Draw From Within is reimagined for the stage

Authored by Mary
Posted: Monday, May 17, 2021 - 23:16

Rambert’s 2020 live-stream hit Draw From Within has been reimagined for the stage. The production from choreographer and director Wim Vandekeybus makes its UK debut marking the reopening of Theatre Royal Plymouth 27-28 May before a London premiere at Sadler’s Wells 2-5 June. The show will then reopen Southampton’s Mayflower Theatre 25-26 June.  The performances mark the company’s first on-stage performance following an unprecedented fourteen-month hiatus.

Draw From Within choreographed by cinematographer and choreographer Wim Vandekeybus was one of the first live-stream dance events to be performed and screened live during the early months of the pandemic. Taking audiences on a surreal and exhilarating odyssey, Draw From Within’s premiere was described by the New York Times as “immersive and absorbing” and “easily the most technically sophisticated live dance production since theatres closed.”

Vandkeybus has been back in the UK working with Rambert’s dancers on the new stage version of Draw From Within. He says of the new version of his production: “I am very used to working in different mediums -  I always had the stage version of Draw From Within in mind because Rambert commissioned the two versions right from the outset. That and the fact that the live-stream was performed 100% live has made the transposition of the work easier but there’s a totally different energy to live theatre - the framing is different, the audience takes the place of the camera and everything becomes much bigger. Its thrilling to be back in the theatre and it’s a gift that the dancers are as adaptable as they are, they’ve learnt to act for the camera and perform in totally different ways during the pandemic, they’ve grown as artists and that’s so exciting to watch.”

Draw From Within sees Rambert’s 18 dancers rip and roll through contrasting, vivid theatrical worlds, some dream worlds, some nightmares, some sweet and funny.

Together, Wim Vandekeybus and Rambert have created an exhilarating reflection on a time when we’re desperate for old-fashioned physical interaction and find ourselves wondering which way is up. Threat is countered by liberation, death by birth. Most of the time we don’t think of the blood coursing through our veins. We usually only become aware of our heart beating in our chest when we’re afraid, or something’s wrong. Wim wants to dare us to look under the skin and embrace these contraries.

Benoit Swan comments on the company’s return to the stage: “I commissioned both a livestream and a stage version of Draw From Within because I wanted Wim to be able to fully embrace the two mediums, to have creative freedom and not to feel compromised by having to serve two purposes in one piece. The restrictions caused by the pandemic have pushed us to try new approaches and see what we can do rather than focusing on what is not possible. It feels amazing to be getting the company back on stage again and to take the first steps towards full reopening. It’s exhilarating and we can’t wait to reunite with our audiences.”

While both Rambert and Rambert2 will be reuniting with audiences in theatres across the UK, both companies will also continue to perform live, on screen, in Rambert’s 2021 livestream season, offering audiences digital premieres in the Summer and the Autumn to be streamed in real time on successful platform Rambert Home Studio.

Rambert is always aiming to inspire and engage as many people as possible and in offering both two in-theatre tours and a comprehensive livestream programme of new work, Rambert offers audiences a variety of ways to experience thrilling live performance, wherever they are in the UK or around the world.