Former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes’ Gaudete is explored At Edge Hill Arts Centre This Weekend.


Ted Hughes’ 1977 poetic novel, Gaudete, is explored on stage for the first time since the 1980s in a visceral, physical theatre staging by an international ensemble.

Ted Hughes’ original 1977 poetic novel is reimagined in a highly physical take on this rarely performed text, brought to the stage for only the second time since it was written. The life of a Yorkshire village is shattered when elemental spirits replace the parish priest with his double. Alternative realities collide as this changeling interprets the gospel of love in his own alarming fashion. What goes on at the Women’s Institute?

International theatre ensemble OBRA interweaves a precise physicality, dynamic choric dance and evocative images accompanied by a soundscape that includes live junkyard percussion to bring Hughes’ visceral language to life. Originally written as a film in 1964 before the poet re-wrote it as a novel in verse, this tour marks the first time that audiences can see both Act I and Act II.

Director Kate Hannah Papi said, “The process to make this stage version began in 2009 with Oliviero Papi and a small group of artists, all of whom had a desire to explore it physically, to taste the words and share this largely ignored work of Ted Hughes with a larger public. Quite simply, no other text has touched me like Gaudete; it is complex and beautiful and, although it shows us the terrifying cruelty that man is capable of, it offers us a form of redemption through a recognition of nature’s place in our world, and an acceptance of life in all its complexity.”

The work of OBRA Theatre Company brings to life, for a modern audience, extraordinary texts not originally destined for the stage. Pluridisciplinary in approach, rigorous, dynamic and rooted in ensemble practice, they are a bold voice in contemporary theatre performance.

Gaudete visits Edge Hill Arts Centre, Ormskirk on Friday 17th & Saturday 18th March. There is a free coach on the Saturday night (18th March) leaving from Pilgrim Street Liverpool. Tickets for available via Unity Theatre’s website and by calling the box office on 0151 709 4988.