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The Odyssey

with Cast, Queen's Theatre Hornchurch, Restoke, Sunderland Culture, Sunderland Empire, Trowbridge Town Hall and Trybe House

by Homer
adapted by Chris Bush, Gabriella Gay, Tajinder Singh Hayer, Florence Espeut-Nickless and Lindsay Rodden
music by Jim Fortune

from April 2023

Various locations

The Odyssey

The adventures of Odysseus and his journey home after the Trojan War tell a universal story of resilience, endurance, loss, healing and hope.

To mark the fifth anniversary of Public ActsThe Odyssey is reimagined for today in this epic retelling with hundreds of community members across the country.

A multi-venue production, The Odyssey is told in five episodes. Each episode of Odysseus' journey is created and performed by artists and communities from four partner organisations: Cast in Doncaster, The Fire Station (for Sunderland Culture in partnership with Sunderland Empire) in Sunderland, Restoke in Stoke-on-Trent and Trowbridge Town Hall in Trowbridge.

The final episode will be performed as a full-scale musical production on the Olivier stage of the National Theatre in August 2023. It will feature community performers from all four partner organisations, plus members recruited through Public Acts founding community partners in London, founding theatre partner Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch, and Trybe House Theatre in London.

Public Acts is supported by Arts Council England’s Strategic Touring Fund, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, Garfield Weston Foundation, The Mosawi Foundation and Wates Foundation.

The Odyssey episode 1 - The Lotus Eaters title treatment in white font on yellow/gold background

Presented by Restoke, written by Gabriella Gay in co-creation with the people of Stoke-on-Trent

Restoke put the people of Stoke-on-Trent at the heart of creative adventures.

They make performances, plan events and run workshops alongside people who may not usually meet, forming new bonds of friendship, understanding and solidarity in the city.

Restoke have recently restored and reopened a ballroom in a former town hall, which had been converted into magistrates’ courtrooms in the 1960s and will become a civic arts centre
sharing free creative experiences with their local community.

The Odyssey episode 2 - The Cyclops title treatment in white font on yellow/gold background

Presented by Cast, written by Tajinder Singh Hayer

Cast, Doncaster’s theatre, opened in 2013 and welcomes audiences and participants of all ages from across the borough of Doncaster and beyond.

Through partnerships with theatres and artists across the region and country, they offer the very best performing arts, with visits from world-renowned companies such as the National Theatre taking place alongside the newest, freshest work from emerging artists.

As a creative hub, they offer opportunities for local and regional artists to research and develop their ideas and help support great new ideas to get off the ground. They also offer many different types of activity for all ages across the region to take part in the arts.

The Odyssey episode 3 - The Four Winds title treatment in white font on yellow/gold background

Presented by Trowbridge Town Hall, written by Florence Espeut-Nickless

Trowbridge Town Hall aims to provide opportunities that enrich people’s lives, utilising every space in the Town Hall to host performances, support local arts groups, and provide space for a wide range of activities from yoga classes through to toddlers groups. 

As the Town Hall has morphed into a vibrant hub for the community, its importance to Trowbridge was recognised in 2021 when it became the recipient of a grant from the Government’s Future High Streets Fund, money that will allow the building to be transformed over the next two and a half years to become a leading performance venue and incubator of local talent.

The Odyssey episode 4 - The Island of the Sun title treatment in white font on yellow/gold background

Presented by The Fire Station (For Sunderland Culture in partnership with Sunderland Empire Theatre), written by Lindsay Rodden

Sunderland Culture's mission is to improve life for everyone in Sunderland through culture. To do so, they want to bring about an improved profile and reputation of the city; a more vibrant creative economy; raised outlook and aspiration of young people; improved health and wellbeing; and a more socially cohesive city.

Sunderland Empire is one of the North East’s leading theatres welcoming in excess of 300,000 visitors each year from across the North East and further afield to an array of West End spectaculars, opera and ballet, productions, leading comedians, concerts and family shows including the annual pantomime. Managed by the world’s largest theatre company Ambassador Theatre Group, Sunderland Empire is passionate about bringing live experiences to the widest possible audience through its productions, education programmes and both local and national collaborations.


The Odyssey episode 5 - The Underworld title treatment in white font on yellow/gold background

The fifth and final episode will take place on the Olivier stage at the National Theatre in August 2023. 

Presented by National Theatre and other partner groups, including Queen's Theatre Hornchurch and  Trybe House Theatre. Written by Chris Bush and music by Jim Fortune

Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch is a vibrant producing theatre, working in Outer East London, Essex and beyond. As a cultural hub, over 210,000 people enjoy the programme each year, including the best in home-grown theatre, visiting live entertainment and inspiring Learning and Participation projects. It has been awarded the UK Theatre’s Most Welcoming Theatre (2016–2018) and London Theatre of the Year 2020 (The Stage Awards), the first Outer London theatre to do so.

Trybe House Theatre is a company which seeks to actively build resilience and self-wellbeing, primarily with young black men aged 16–25, using theatre as a supportive outlet.

They aim to amplify young black real-life experiences by sharing relatable narratives and providing opportunities for positive reflection. They seek to open up spaces to allow their participants to thrive. Their work is developed and facilitated by practitioners with years of relevant experience, including trained mental health professionals.

Production team