Tragedy of Oedipus inspires bold Redbridge Drama Centre production

PUBLISHED: 15:00 18 March 2017

Citizens of Thebes in Redbridge Youth Theatre Workshop's modern production of Oedipus

Citizens of Thebes in Redbridge Youth Theatre Workshop's modern production of Oedipus


An ancient tale which has lost no fame over two millennia is to be given a modern twist by a cast of young performers.

Matty Noble as the older Oedipus in Redbridge Youth Theatre Workshop's productionMatty Noble as the older Oedipus in Redbridge Youth Theatre Workshop's production

Redbridge Drama Centre’s award-winning Redbridge Youth Theatre Workshop is staging a production of Oedipus from March 21-24, following the company’s huge success last year with Gargantua, which closed the NT Connections Festival at the National Theatre.

Oedipus, adapted by Keith Homer, will feature all the key themes of Sophocles’ acclaimed work, but wrapped up in modern-day issues.

“Casting Oedipus as a displaced person in the modern world of people trafficking and internment camps has allowed us to use this classic tragedy to explore themes of fate, destiny and truth in this ‘post-truth’ world and to look at the politics and acceptance or distrust of refugees that we see in the news every day,” said Liam Noble, who is directing the show along with Chris Bocking.

The tale of Oedipus is enshrined in Sophocles’ tragedy Oedipus Rex, part of the three Theban plays with Oedipus at Colonus and Antigone.

Ailish Farrell and Eloise Robinson performing Gargantua in March 2016 at Redbridge Drama CentreAilish Farrell and Eloise Robinson performing Gargantua in March 2016 at Redbridge Drama Centre

Long regarded as a masterpiece, Oedipus Rex explores the dramatic consequences following the titular king’s killing of his father and marriage to his mother, thus fulfilling the prophecy which had seen his parents order his death as a baby, before he was saved by a shepherd.

The Ancient Greek story has been retold countless times over the centuries – and in the modern age has been the focus of numerous television, film and stage adaptations – so for the young cast, it has been both a joy and a challenge to transport it into a contemporary setting.

Ailish Farrell said it is “interesting to be able to bring such a classic play into a modern context”, while Assa Kanoute added: “The challenge of working as an ensemble has made us raise our game and brought us together as a group.”

Ned Mundy is a new member of the company, but is already enjoying its inclusive approach.

The cast of Gargantua, March 2016 at Redbridge Drama CentreThe cast of Gargantua, March 2016 at Redbridge Drama Centre

Redbridge Youth Theatre Workshop has been training young people in the tools of the performing arts for more than four decades.

They stage two productions a year, while also enjoying opportunities to perform in other settings, such as festivals.

Members, recruited in September every year, can become front of house volunteers, work towards the Arts Award and view a range of theatre productions.

Speaking of the excitement surrounding the new show, joint director Chris Bocking said: “There are 32 14-to-21-year-olds in this production. We are extremely proud of their achievement and commitment to this project.

“Having worked for two evenings a week since September we can’t wait to put their work in front of an audience.”

Oedipus runs at Redbridge Drama Centre, Churchfields, South Woodford, from March 21-24, at 8pm. Tickets range from £7.50 to £10, visit or call 020 8708 8800.

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