First view of Damon Albarn’s for Manchester

Damon Albarn. Photo Linda Brownlee
Damon Albarn. Photo Linda Brownlee

Manchester audiences are going to get first chance to see Damon Albarn’s when it premieres at the city’s MIF15 this summer. (in suitably trendy lower case) is a new musical inspired by Lewis Carroll’s iconic Alice in Wonderland, with music by Damon Albarn and book and lyrics by Moira Buffini.

It is directed by the National Theatre’s incoming director Rufus Norris and moves to the NT in November.

Rufus Norris headshot

Moira Buffini, responsible for Handbagged and Tamara Drewe, said: “I have never written a musical before so I am in at the deep end – but with two wonderful collaborators in Damon and Rufus.

“It has been a real pleasure so far and to my surprise I have enjoyed writing the lyrics most of all.

“Alice offers a great challenge. Carroll’s stories and Tenniel’s drawings are hard-wired into our subconscious; characters curious and bold, treading a line between dream and reality. Finding a way to reinvent these icons for the digital age has been a fascinating journey.”

Damon Albarn added: “I’m fascinated by the idea of going down a rabbit hole, the otherworldliness and what that might mean.

“Alice aside, The Queen of Hearts, The Duchess, White Rabbit, Caterpillar were the most threatening characters of my childhood. I was genuinely very frightened of them as a kid, which is probably why I was interested when Alex Poots suggested a reworking”.

Alex Poots, CEO and artistic director, Manchester International Festival said: “In Alice in Wonderland we have found something I have been looking for for some time: an inspiration that is both curiously and eccentrically English and yet has a universal currency.

“It is the perfect combination for this fantastic creative team and for Manchester International Festival.” will run at the Palace Theatre, Manchester, from June 29 (in preview) to July 12.

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