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May 25, 2014

Kneehigh Theatre Company from Cornwall is currently working on a brand new adaptation of John Gay’s The Beggar’s Opera titled Dead Dog in a Suitcase, with a script by regular Kneehigh writer Carl Grose and music by Charles Hazlewood, directed by Kneehigh founder Mike Shepherd.

Charles Hazlewood spoke to us from Sweden where he was conducting a concert of music from video games with the Malmö SymfoniOrkester. He talks about his involvement in the project from taking it to Mike Shepherd as an idea around three years ago through his process of creating the score in rehearsals with the performers and scriptwriter-lyricist Carl Grose.

Mike Shepherd, speaking to us at the end of the first week of rehearsals at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool, where the show opens in June, speaks about the evolving story and politics of the show and the influences of modern events and modern popular culture, as well as the process of bringing it to the stage.

Mike also explains how Kneehigh has developed and constantly changed direction since he founded it in 1980, and talks about some current Kneehigh projects including Kneehigh Rambles and the company's mobile theatre space the Asylum.

Dead Dog in a Suitcase runs at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool from 21 June to 12 July 2014, and then will be performed in Kneehigh’s mobile theatre, the Asylum, at The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall from 30 August to 28 September.

Charles Hazlewood’s Orchestival summer festival, with which Kneehigh is also involved, is on 19 and 20 July in Somerset.

(Rehearsal images of Mike Shepherd and Charles Hazlewood by Steve Tanner.)