The Donmar Warehouse is to re-open temporarily this August with Blindness – a socially distanced sound installation voiced by Juliet Stevenson.
The Donmar Warehouse is to reopen temporarily from 3 to 22 August with a socially distanced sound installation – Blindness, based on the dystopian novel by Nobel-prize winning José Saramago, adapted by Simon Stephens and directed by Walter Meierjohann. This hour-long ticketed installation for a limited number of visitors will run four times a day, with seating arranged 2m apart in accordance with social distancing guidelines in a transformed Donmar Warehouse.
As the lights change at a major crossroads in a city in the heart of Europe a car grinds to a halt. Its driver can drive no more. Suddenly, without warning or cause, he has gone blind. Within hours it is clear that this is blindness like no other. This blindness is infectious. Within days an epidemic of blindness has spread through the city. The government tries to quarantine the contagion by herding the newly blind people into an empty asylum. But their attempts are futile. The city is in panic.
Acclaimed stage and screen actor Juliet Stevenson voices the Storyteller/Doctor’s wife. Visitors will listen on headphones to this gripping story of an unimaginable global pandemic – and its profoundly hopeful conclusion – featuring an immersive sound design using binaural technology by Ben and Max Ringham. The Donmar Warehouse is reimagined by designer Lizzie Clachan, with atmospheric lighting designed by Jessica Hung Han Yun.
Enhanced safety measures will be used to ensure the health and safety of all visitors to the Donmar. Visitors will be seated 2m apart in accordance with social distancing requirements unless they attend with someone from their household or social bubble. All visitors will be required to wear a face-covering throughout their visit (medical exemptions permitted) as will all Donmar staff. The bar areas will be closed and there will be a one-way system around the building, with visitors asked to queue in line with social distancing. There will be sanitising points throughout the building and the headphones, seats, toilets and public areas will be thoroughly cleaned between each installation.
Audio-described content will be available at every installation from Friday 7 August, and there will be a captioned installation at 2pm on Saturday 15 August. An audio-described or captioned digital version of the installation will also be available for purchase for those not able to attend in person.
Up to 2 tickets can be purchased per transaction. When you arrive at the venue you will be seated by Front of House staff in accordance with social distancing. If you are purchasing two tickets you should ensure you are attending only with someone in your household or social bubble as you will be seated together. If you are attending on your own you will be seated in a single seat.
To accompany the installation the Donmar podcast ‘Reclaiming Blindness’ will be available to download from 7 August. Simon Stephens will interview Prof Hannah Thompson to unpack the representations of blindness in Blindness – both the novel and this adaptation. They will take the long view across centuries of literature whilst discussing the exciting possibilities for creatively centring the non-visual in theatre today.