Dido & Aeneas’ crowdfunding campaign goes live!


We are NMT Automatics and we are seeking support for our new show Dido and Aeneas; an adaptation of Virgil’s ‘Book Four’ of The Aeneid.  It will fuse dance, theatre, and a soundtrack that combines Purcell’s original music with a new electric, industrial soundscape. 

The first stage of which is a two week Research and Development period, taking place in September, which will include active engagement and participation with Redbridge and Deptford community youth, culminating in a public and industry showcase.

Via a contemporary retelling of this ancient story, we aim to explore cultural intolerance in the 21st century: the conflict between old morals and current attitudes.

Ultimately, we wish to produce a piece that not only is artistically great but also benefits the communities that we are working in.

You can be a part of this!

Dido & Aeneas Crowdfund Site: http://igg.me/at/nmtautomatics/x/11583900

Research & Development:

Set within a period of industrial change, we will experiment with object manipulation, using raw materials to create a visually dynamic performance space and an arresting soundscape. This will be the first time Purcell’s opera has been juxtaposed with a modern metallic score specifically to create a theatrical soundtrack.

We will be working with four actors and two youth groups – Redbridge Youth theatre (South Woodford) and Uncover Youth (Deptford) – who by participating in three workshops and performing with us in the showcase will directly impact on the artistic quality, diversity of ideas and accessibility of the piece, and also provide the opportunity for personal development on their behalf. We aim to find a home for a January production that would not only be informed by the communities within which we have worked, but also have them performing within it.

“Aeneas, the Trojan hero, is shipwrecked on the enemy shore of Carthage. Brought to the widowed Queen Dido, he woos her with stories of war and hardship. On a dark and stormy night an evil spirit sends a message of intolerance and hatred to Aeneas, persuading him to leave Dido and continue his journey. When she hears of Aeneas’ plans, Dido is distraught and builds a great fire, secretly planning her own death.

The Story So Far…

We have since begun work on this, our next project: Dido & Aeneas.

On consultation with an industry figure, we decided to begin the project with Research and Development which would not only benefit the quality of the production but would also put us in a better position when seeking funding from the Arts Council.

As such a couple of months ago, we did a walking tour of appropriate theatres and community spaces around London, in order to seek space-in-kind and support for this R & D. We set up a number of meetings which brilliantly resulted in being offered space at three venues – The Redbridge Drama CentreGreenwich Theatre and The Deptford Lounge

Once we had the venues with us we were then in a stronger position with our Arts Council bid which we immediately set about working on. Suffice to say the application took a lot of time and refinement to get it to where we were happy with!

Unfortunately, the Arts Council in fact turned our initial bid down. However the feedback was that it was a strong application, it just needed more specifics in terms of the engagement with the youth companies. We have since amended the application and are very much hoping that with that, it will get accepted (we find out mid August). This of course, is a big if.

So we have to look into other sponsorship, which is where this crowd funding site comes in.

The Budget…

We have asked the Arts Council for £7,680, this total includes payment of all creatives at equity level, including 4 actors, ourselves, the producer and dramaturg as well as £750 for the remainder of The Deptford Lounge who gave us a discount of 40% on their space (we’re there for a week and they wanted the showcase as well).

This project goes ahead with or without the Arts Council funding since we already have the space and generous support of the venues and people involved.

However if the bid is turned down again, we would lower the budget significantly and use whatever we manage to raise to pay for the Deptford Lounge and at least a small amount to the creatives involved, including ourselves. If that is the case Jennie and Jonathan will perform in at as well to cut down the number of people involved.

So we’re looking at raising £2750, which would allow us to do this. 

On the other hand… If We Get Arts Council Funding:

Your support will go towards the funding of the full January production (3 weeks rehearsal, 3 weeks run), and all of its costs including: building hire, creatives, set, and costume. As you can imagine the cost of a full production is significantly more than two weeks of R & D so any help we can get, the better! 

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