Storming Utopia

Dr Ita Mac Carthy performs in Storming Utopia, a research-led theatrical experiment in practical utopianism.

Interlaced with themes and stories from More’s Utopia, Shakespeare’s Tempest, and Italy Calvino’s Invisible Cities, Storming Utopia tells the real-life story of Ethiopian-born Asefay Aberaha, who fled civil war in the 1990s to settle in Oxford, and the fictional romance of teenagers Freddie and Miranda weathering various adolescent storms against the backdrop of the Brexit referendum and its immediate aftermath. Performed by academics, refugees, students, and primary school children, cellists, dancers, historians of the theatre, and geographers, it unites the generations in a dramatic conversation about the conflicts, tensions and hopes that animate the lives and loves of the diverse community in which it is set.

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Storming Utopia was directed by Wes Williams (University of Oxford) and Angharad Arnott Philips (Pegasus Theatre) and is at the heart of a Knowledge Exchange and Public Engagement with Research Project led by Wes Williams and Richard Scholar (University of Oxford). Following performances at the Pegasus Theatre in East Oxford and at St Edmund’s Hall, University of Oxford (1 and 11 April), it travelled to the Fondazione Cini on the island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice (31 May) where Dr Mac Carthy consulted on and helped co-ordinate the Italian remaking of the show. It’s final performance, on 24 June, opened the 2017 Oxford Arts Festival.

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