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2011 Event Media Release 'Kursk'



6-16 OCTOBER 2011

Written by: Bryony Lavery
Co-directed by: Mark Espiner & Dan Jones
With: Ian Ashpitel, Keir Charles, Tom Espiner, Laurence Mitchell, Jonah Russell

‘A descent into an unfamiliar world, fusing ethical dilemmas and environmental excitement to create something wholly original. ****’
The Guardian

‘...the most brilliantly immersive piece of theatre I’ve seen all year... An unforgettable homage to the men of the Kursk, and all their kind.’
The Telegraph, UK

This spring audiences to Sydney Opera House’s Studio will be submerged into the dark, watery world of a submarine on a spy mission for the Australian premiere of Kursk.

Inspired by the tragic story of the Russian submarine Kursk that suffered a huge explosion underwater in 2000, this production will take its audience on the imagined journey of a British submarine sent to spy on the Russians. The Sydney Opera House Studio will be transformed into a submarine, built to real-life specifications, with the audience perched amongst the performers, observing events as they unfold, becoming complicit in the mysterious world of secrecy and codes, and witnesses to the final moments of life onboard the Kursk.

Kursk will offer an insight into the challenges of the extraordinary, mundane and claustrophobic world of daily life on a submarine, from the arrival of 40-word ‘familygrams’ which form the crews’ only communication with the outside world, to the realistic interpretation of the utilitarian environment the men call home.

Critically acclaimed British theatre company Sound&Fury, in collaboration with award-winning playwright Bryony Lavery, worked in close consultation with top naval psychiatrists and submariners, to bring their experiences to life. One of the cast – Ian Ashpitel – is himself a former submariner and radio controller. Using cutting edge sound design to create the sonic equivalent of a virtual submarine, Kursk will be an evocative voyage into the icy depths of the sea and the dark recesses of the imagination.

British playwright Bryony Lavery is best-known to Australian audiences for recent productions of her plays at Melbourne Theatre Company and Sydney Theatre Company including Stockholm (2010) and Frozen (2004).

Writer Bryony Lavery said, ‘I’m always attracted to subject matter that scares me. Watching Kursk is extraordinary for me.... It’s seeing the sound and sight of our submarine and its crew through the audience’s mind. It’s like the whole theatre goes underwater for ninety minutes’.

Wendy Martin, Sydney Opera House’s former Head of Theatre and Dance said, ‘Kursk is an utterly compelling production. It works on so many layers by giving the audience an insight into the strange world inhabited by the submariners, as well as exploring the political climate they operate in and their engaging personal stories.’

Kursk has been nominated for an Evening Standard Award for Best Design and a Theatrical Management Assoication (TMA) Award for Best Touring Production. Dan Jones has just been awarded a Prague Quadrennial Special Jury Prize for Excellence in Sound Design for the show.

Season details:
    6 – 16 October
Tickets Adults: $45 / Conc $39
Run time: 90 minutes

Recommended for ages 14+

Tickets go on sale from Monday 11 July from / 02 9250 7777

Sound & Fury are a UK-based sound design and collaborative theatre company, made up of Mark Espiner, Tom Espiner and Dan Jones.

Kursk was initially commissioned by The Junction, Cambridge.

For more information, or to request images and interviews, contact
Meera Hindocha, Senior Publicist, Sydney Opera House

T. 02 9250 7834  E.


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