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EDITOR'S PICK

Director Joel Scott of the National Youth Theatre tackles a watery apocalypse in FLOOD

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A storm is brewing unlike any other. Raindrops fall like bullets, human civilisation is devastated and a new world, drowned in water, is born. Only a few young people survive the catastrophe and we will see how they behave and interact with each other in the new original stage production FLOOD, directed by Joel Scott of the National Youth Theatre (NYT).

This September, audiences will have an opportunity to witness a raw, immersive and hi-tech theatre experience put together by National Youth Theatre of Great Britain and Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation here at ArtisTree in Taikoo Place, which for the first time, will actually be flooded for the show. Written by Rory Mullarkey, FLOOD is inspired by all the recent watery disasters that have plagued the world and how it has displaced populations of people.

“It will be cinematic in scale,” says Scott. “It’s kind of like IMAX with a screen that’s 5m x 12m where the rain is falling and music playing. There is also a pool where the actors perform in that’s 12m x 8m. On the flip side, however, we bring it back to something raw and truthful where there are no gimmicks, just one actor singing a song. It goes from being modern to traditional." In short, Scott says: “It’s going to be epic.”

The sheer premise of the story should already be enough to draw audiences. A dystopian world run by teenagers, what could go wrong? A lot apparently, as they have to appeal to their sense of humanity and refrain from succumbing to their most base and primal instincts, which sound a bit like a retelling of Lord of the Flies. “It’s exactly that, but there is no piggy ripped apart,” says Scott. "It’s not brutal, but beautiful and delicate with a physical and visceral telling of the story. Still, there are tough decisions to be made in this community of varying belief systems. The consequences hang on each character's choices — who is allied to whom, who's the enemy. There's a lot of that."

The diverse cast is made up of 22 actors from the ages of 14 to 22. They were all selected last September and are now going through rigourous training and rehearsals every day to get prepped for the show. “This is a good age group to work with,” says Scott. “They have no ego, are willing to take risks, and they wear their hearts on their sleeves. Some of the actors here are going to do some really cool stuff and I think the audience will notice that this is just the first phase of their bright careers as performers.”

When asked how the youth Hong Kong stack up against those in the UK, Scott has this to say. “The actors here have a natural way of speaking, I don’t think we have that back in England and it’s especially important to have a good flow in this performance because the script is a one-hour long poem that reads beautifully in its pacing.”


Scott has been with the NYT since 2008 and is no stranger to risky, conceptual, large-scale productions. He produced Living The Dream for the Shanghai World Expo, a digital, live action performance, as well as Slick, a grand show with 300 actors performed at Europe's largest Housing estate, Park Hill, in Sheffield, UK. If anything, the challenge for Scott this time around is returning to a more ‘traditional’ stage set up in an actual theatre. “It’s very exciting though”, says Scott. “We are very lucky that ArtisTree is willing to take risks with us and be a part of our vision.” Scott will be bringing an internationally renowned creative team to put this production together for what he calls, "tying in video projections with live theatre."


“We want to appeal to the audience on an emotional and visceral level,” says Scott. “Hopefully they will remember moments that relate directly to them whether it’s the story of an actor, the music, the film. Just take a step back and see where you fit in in this world.”

Find tickets to FLOOD at ticketflap.com/flood.
Performance dates: 20-22/09 (Thu-Sat)

Note: Performed in English. May contain strong language. Approx. 70-minute with post-performance Q&A session, with no intermission.

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