News: Final line-up for ECHO confirmed

The Royal Court Theatre and LIFT (London International Festival of Theatre) have today announced a further nine artists who will perform in the world premiere of ECHO (Every Cold-Hearted Oxygen) written by critically acclaimed Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour (White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, NASSIM)  and directed by Omar Elerian (NASSIM, Misty, two Palestinians go dogging). In total 15 different artists will perform Soleimanpour’s new piece which pushes the boundaries of his signature unrehearsed cold reads. 

The production will run at the Jerwood Theatre Downstairs from Saturday 13 – Saturday 27 July 2024 with opening night on Wednesday 17 July. The performance schedule has now been announced with a final special guest artist to be revealed. 

Fiona Shaw (Killing Eve) will perform on 13 July; Benedict Wong (3 Body Problem) on 15 July; Sheila Atim (Constellations) on 16 July; Adrian Lester (Renegade Nell) on 17 July; Jeremy O. Harris (Slave Play) on 18 July; Rebecca Lucy Taylor aka Self Esteem (Cabaret) on 19 July; Monica Dolan (The Change) at 1.30pm on 20 July; Meera Syal (Roar) on 22 July; Jodie Whittaker (Doctor Who) will perform on 23 July; Mawaan Rizwan (Juice) on 24 July; Jessica Gunning (Baby Reindeer) on 25 July; Nick Mohammed (Douglas Is Cancelled) on 26 July; Toby Jones (Mr Bates vs. The Post Office) at 1.30pm on 27 July and Kathryn Hunter (Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead) at 6.30pm on 27 July.

Across the three week run a different performer will take to the stage at each show without having a clue of what is going to be asked of them. Unrehearsed and unprepared, the script becomes their guide as they journey through the story of the playwright, connected live from his flat in Berlin. Or is he? Can we really know where or when we are?

Monica Dolan, said: “I performed in Nassim Saleimanpour’s play NASSIM at the Edinburgh Festival in 2017 when I was up there performing my solo show. NASSIM was definitely one of the highlights of the festival for me. The accuracy with which I needed to listen, the communion with the audience, the discovery of the play at that same instant as everyone else in the room. At one point an audience member even helped me out and spoke my next line for me as I was unable to speak and couldn’t get it out! I hope this will be another adventure in listening and awareness and discovery, bumping into thoughts and learning in public, buoyed up by the support of all of us in the space. Hearing the story for the first time at the same time as telling it is something rarely experienced by an actor, and takes us all the way back to how Shakespeare’s actors must have experienced his plays the first time they played and heard them.” 

Jessica Gunning said: “I am terrifyingly excited (if that’s even possible), to be taking part in the Royal Court’s ECHO and look forward to working with Nassim and Omar on this unique theatrical experience. I’ve always thought that theatre has the potential to be a little bit magic and can only imagine projects like this make it feel even more so – stepping into the unknown each night with a completely different person. And what a group of actors to be part of – I feel very honoured and can’t wait. “

Mawaan Rizwan said: “I love the work Omar & Nassim are doing. As an actor it’s a perfect mixture of exciting, innovative and terrifying!” 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *