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Pandora by Le Gateau Chocolat

Pandora by Le Gateau Chocolat is first commission announced for WEEK 53 in 2020

An operatic exploration of identity and trauma through Pandora’s Myth

WEEK 53 runs Friday 24 April – Sunday 3 May

  • New Le Gateau Chocolat commission is the first announcement of WEEK 53, in the third edition of pioneering interdisciplinary arts festival
  • This year the festival for the compulsively curious takes on the theme of Power
  • WEEK 53 also coincides with The Lowry’s 20th birthday

The Lowry today, Wednesday 13 November, announces the first in a series of major commissions for WEEK 53 2020.

Something To Aim For presents Pandora, conceived by and starring leading drag and contemporary opera performer Le Gateau Chocolat, will receive its world premiere on Saturday, 2 May 2020.

Now in its third edition, the festival will explore the theme of power in its many forms and expressions. Through eight new commissions, and across the festival, WEEK 53 aims to challenge and question dominating structures and hierarchies, in politics, gender, media and culture. The programme asks the questions: Who has power? Can power be distributed differently? How do historic power dynamics still influence today’s realities?

The legend of Pandora comes from Greek mythology; the story of the first woman on earth whose act of opening a forbidden box results in the unleashing of all the world’s evils, leaving behind only the small but bright glimmer of hope.

Through the show Le Gateau Chocolat uses this fable as a metaphor for the loss of innocence and the perceived contamination of our identities through an unleashing of traumas that force us to evolve, adapt or be destroyed – something the artist has experienced first-hand.

The commission will beLe Gateau Chocolat’s biggest solo show to date, and is accompanied by a 15 piece orchestra from Manchester Camerata, with a score sampling textures from the classical and operatic world, original compositions and the world’s biggest pop stars.

Le Gateau Chocolat says: “I am delighted to be returning to Greater Manchester and to be making my debut at The Lowry’s WEEK 53 next year with the world premiere of my new work PANDORA – which has been generously supported and commissioned for the festival by The Lowry and The Lawrence Batley Theatre. This incredible opportunity has enabled us to not only realise a project that has been in the making for many years but to also collaborate with the internationally renowned Manchester Camerata.

For me, the most intriguing aspect of Pandora’s lore are the contaminants released from her jar and the trauma of it opening. Are we poisoned or enriched by its content? What and who we are forced to become. Do we have any agency in this? And ultimately, as Hannah Gadsby asked, “What is the purpose of my human?”

The Lowry’s WEEK 53 inhabits and takes over the unique stages and spaces for one special week every two years. As the schedules are cleared from their year-round demands, The Lowry welcomes an incredible celebration of international cross-arts productions, challenging convention and revealing hidden parts of this iconic building.

Julia Fawcett OBE, chief executive of The Lowry, said: “WEEK 53 is a flagship event in our programme and Pandora by Le Gateau Chocolat a great example of the collaborative nature of our commissioning process. We’re excited to bring Le Gateau Chocolat’s work to Salford in partnership with an institution of such high regard as Manchester Camerata and we’re thrilled to announce it as part of the WEEK 53 line-up today.”

WEEK 53 is part of The Lowry’s ambition to host bold and experimental contemporary art that is accessible and engaging to a broad audience. The Lowry is the most visited cultural destination in the North West and is increasingly expanding its role as producer and commissioner, cementing its position as a powerhouse for culture. 2020 marks the twentieth birthday of the venue, with details of the celebrations to be announced.

WEEK 53 runs Friday 24 April – Sunday 3 May.