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EDITIONS
Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 06:19 GMT 07:19 UK
Glastonbury play set to rock theatre
Bush's Gavin Rosdale at Glastonbury
Glastonbury has become a cultural icon
A play about the legendary Glastonbury Festival - directed by Keith Allen and with sets by Damien Hirst - is being premiered in a tent in Cardiff.

"Glastonbury" was written by Zoe Lewis and revolves around the funny and disturbing experiences of seven different people meeting and partying - set against Hirst's colourful stage set.

Performed in a marquee at Cardiff's Bute Park, the play stars Allen, Kieran O'Brien (Cracker, Messiah), Chris Coghill ('Bez' in 24 Hour Party People), Bronwyn Davies (Spooks) and Paul Broughton.

Keith Allen
Keith Allen: Glastonbury veteran
Hirst's art features multi-coloured tents, crowd scenes and an intriguing image of revellers climbing a perimeter fence, with their faces blanked out - a controversial nod to security troubles at the 2001 festival which threatened Glastonbury's very future.

Hirst said: "It is a bit like doing a book that you are illustrating, which is something in its own right.

"But there is no point doing a book without a story.

"I thought there was a great story here and I thought I will go with it."

Allen - a self-confessed Glastonbury veteran of 22 visits - said he wanted to bring some excitement and mystery back into theatre, with each performance featuring a surprise appearance by a rock band to bring the Glastonbury spirit alive.

New Order, UB40 and Ocean Colour Scene are believed to be among the bands taking part in the project.

Glasto atmosphere

Lewis, who worked in the music business before turning to drama, is also hopeful that her play will draw younger people back to the theatre in search of something different.

The dramatist wants to confront audiences with something special and different to conventional plays, with the live music element, stalls and campfires, tipping the play towards feeling like a realistic festival atmosphere.

Rolf Harris fans
Glastonbury attracts all sorts of folk

Allen said: "I think Damien Hirst has done a brilliant job designing the sets. It's something he's always wanted to do.

"I think the tradition of going to see live shows is dying," he said. "A lot of the [theatre] fare people are offered is pretty mundane and pretty boring."

Glastonbury has been bought as a film project by Working Title productions.

The play features typical scenes from the festival, including two revellers trying to sneak in and being caught by a security guard.

Glastonbury will be moving to London's Roundhouse theatre next spring after a short tour including Brighton, Manchester and Birmingham.

Last summer's Glastonbury featured a crowd of 100,000 people, a giant 1m fence and an eclectic mix of music offerings from Rod Stewart, Groove Armada, Roger Waters and French downtempo supremos Air.

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 ON THIS STORY
Keith Allen
"It has always been fun trying to get in without paying"
Damien Hirst, set designer
"I felt there was a great story here"

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Glastonbury history


See also:

02 Jul 02 | Entertainment
14 May 00 | England
15 Apr 02 | Entertainment
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