Origins of A Happy City

a collaboration between Just Jones & David Lane.

In the future, most of us will live in cities.

Who eats, who starves? & Why?

Originally inspired by our joint fascination with Shakespeare’s Coriolanus, we are incorporating text, visual art and movement, exploring the creation of a new city and a new way of being a citizen: built from the foundations and legacies of the old ones.

We started talking about this show in 2010/11 and inbetween we have worked on many other projects and many crazy things of extreme cruelty and extreme generosity have occurred around the world. 

The project has evolved several times and since its start, one of us has had two children, one of us stood as a political candidate  and one of us has designed a timber oak ceiling which will outlive us all.

We are itching to get the project back into the writing and devising room and nail it down as far as we can….

Here’s a bit of what we have so far: 

At moments of extraordinary crisis, extraordinary change is willed and possible. To help us imagine and cope with the huge potential for transformation current world events offer us, we have looked to the past – Coriolanus was written against the immediate backdrop of the Corn Riots in 1608 and a deeper context of Shakespeare’s childhood and mature experience of starvation due to crop failure and mismanagement of food supplies by the ruling classes. In Shakespeare’s lifetime, 1/3 of the population of Stratford dies of hunger. The population of London explodes. Rival cities close their gates. What happens in a land of plenty when too many people are denied access to what a privileged minority wastes? We returned from our residency in Dartington in 2014 brim full of ideas and the skeleton of a play. Since when we’ve workshopped round a table at Wells Way Pop Up and staged a riot at Arts Ed with MA Performing Arts Students. The new play has moved a long way from its Shakespearean origins but has the epic and extraordinary still mixed in there.

Visit the gallery of images/videos here

Read an extract of David Lane’s blog here:

About Rebecca Manson Jones

Artistic Director and founder of Just Jones &.
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