A Viking procession through Huddersfield town centre will herald the start of a sell-out show at St Peter’s Church, the town’s parish church.
A spectacular adaptation of Beowulf comes to Huddersfield for five shows between November 8 and 11 as part of Kirklees Year of Music 2023. All five shows are sold out but anyone can watch the procession.
The audience will meet at the Byram Arcade for a Viking procession to the church. The performance will be staged inside.
On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday the processions leave the Byram Arcade at 7.30pm. On Saturday there will be two shows leaving at 5.30pm and 8pm.
The production, created by Proper Job Theatre Company, tells the epic tale of warriors, monsters and dragons.
The oldest known English poem has been adapted by five Yorkshire-based poets Chris O’Connor, Franc Chamberlain, Ian McMillan, Joel Simmy and Michelle Scally-Clarke, working with composer Leighton Jones (Beware of Trains) and Supriya Nagarajan (Manasumitra), on an original score telling the story of a female Beowulf with a visually arresting, musical celebration.
The Danish Kingdom is cloaked in mourning for the legendary King Halfdane. In a display of strength his son Hrothgar, heir to the throne, is set to lead his father’s funeral procession in front of his people.
The audience will witness the rise of a new era as they march down Westgate to the haunting melodies of Viking horns and drums and a harmonious choir – comprised of the local community.
Once the audience arrives at St Peter’s Church, they will be transported to Herot, the Great Mead Hall of King Hrothgar, where they will take their seats to the sound of a 60-strong community choir, singing original choral pieces composed by Leighton Jones.
They will be absorbed in the tale of the mighty Beowulf and her battle with the monster, Grendel, and the final conquest of the awe-inspiring dragon in defence of Hrothgar’s kingdom.
James Beale, of Proper Job Theatre, said: “We’re so excited to create our very Yorkshire adaptation of Beowulf in Huddersfield featuring a cast and creative team almost exclusively from the region.
“It is through the funding from Kirklees Council via Kirklees Year of Music and Arts Council England that we’re able to present Beowulf and realise it at this ambitious scale, bringing original live music into our work in a way that we haven’t done before.”
Clr Yusra Hussain, Cabinet member for culture, said: “Everyone is welcome to watch the free procession.
“This innovative production provides another opportunity for people, from the district and beyond, to come together and experience music and culture, whilst also supporting our local creative sector.”