Simon Armitage helps LIPA bring ancient verse to life in epic fashion


Poet Laureate Simon Armitage has been working with LIPA students to bring to life an epic 4000-year-old poem.

Gilgamesh will be staged as a promenade performance at the Mount Street college from June 2-4.

It reunites Armitage with director Nick Bagnall with whom he worked on The Odyssey at Liverpool Everyman in 2015.

The Epic of Gilgamesh dates from 2100BC and celebrates Mesopotamian myth, telling the story of a king and his search for immortality.

Armitage says: “I presented it to them as Gilgamesh being one of the oldest poems in the world and that they’ll be doing the most recent performance of it. So, what we’re doing is joining two very distant periods of time.”

He adds: “I’m absolutely loving it, especially the energy and motivation of the students.

“I occasionally go into schools and universities, and sometimes students can be a little bit shy, and they hold back. But there’s clearly an atmosphere here of being on the front foot.

“Having the opportunity of being able to harness that energy is very, very exhilarating.”

The production also features the band LYR and is the latest collaboration between LIPA and leading industry figures.

Head of acting Will Hammond said: “The opportunity for our students to work with the Poet Laureate and create something vital, fresh and new from this ancient work captures our spirit of invention and innovation.”

Gilgamesh is at LIPA from June 2-4. Details and tickets HERE.