Performance artist David Hoyle dressed as HEDDA - he wears a purple wraparound dress, is heavily made up and holds a cocktail glass.
David Hoyle as the title character in Jen Heyes’ HEDDA.

An award-winning director has chosen Edge Hill’s Arts Centre to host a reimagining of classic Ibsen play Hedda Gabler.

A small portrait photograph of Krishna Istha, he smiles towards the camera.
Krishna Istha will appear via interactive film footage.

Jen Heyes’ HEDDA, based on Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen’s classic of realism, will star the iconic avant garde performance artist David Hoyle (above) in the title role.

This striking production provides a fresh take on Ibsen’s masterpiece – David will be the only actor performing live on stage, with transgender performer Krishna Istha (right) appearing in interactive film footage.

Jen Heyes, producer and director of HEDDA and founder of production company Cut to the Chase, explained what the audience could expect.

“This is going to be very different to a classic production of the play,” she said. “It’s a queer reimagining of the play for a 21st century audience and won’t follow the heteronormative reading of the original.

“We are working closely with the film and animation department at Edge Hill and to that end it’s going to be a very visual, cinematic production.

Hedda Gabler has always been recognised as a feminist work; Hedda is rebellious and won’t be pinned down. If Ibsen was here now I wonder what he would say about our attitudes to gender and equality.

A close-up headshot of HEDDA producer and director Jen Heyes.
Jen Heyes, producer and director of HEDDA

“In HEDDA we delve into ageless subjects of isolation, oppressive love, suicide and mental health, but in a new context.

“Working with Edge Hill Arts Centre gives me an opportunity as an artistic director to be an auteur; it’s amazing to have an idea like this and be able to bring it to life.”

HEDDA will feature original music by composer Tom Parkinson and animation created by Edge Hill senior lecturer in multimedia Alex Jukes and University students, who will also have an opportunity to shadow the production company and participate in workshops.

Arts Centre Manager Cathy Butterworth said the production, which is supported with public funding from Arts Council England, exemplifies her ambitions for the University’s theatre.

“I’ve been obsessed with doing this play,” she said. “Hedda Gabler challenges conventional ideas of femininity and established patriarchy, making it a perfect fit here in light of Edge Hill’s proud history of promoting the rights of women.

HEDDA is cutting-edge theatre, we’re taking a classic and reactivating it, and I’m so proud to be bringing it to the Edge Hill audience.”

HEDDA will be performed at Edge Hill University’s Arts Centre on Monday 23 March at 2.30pm and 7.30pm, and Tuesday 24 March on 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £10 but concessions are available.

For The Arts Centre’s full season line-up visit https://www.edgehill.ac.uk/artscentre/