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Mahajanaka Dance Drama Touring UK & Thailand from October 2019. One of the oldest surviving folk tales in the world retold through dance, music and animation, featuring an award winning team of artists from Thailand and the UK.

British Composer / Producer Sebastian Reynolds and Neon Dance Choreographer / Director Adrienne Hart collaborate with renowned dance artist Pichet Klunchun to retell the story of Mahajanaka Jataka. Bringing together east and western dance and music performance traditions, this enchanting production fuses ancient and modern with animated scenes from Sun & Moon Studios.

Informed by research trips to Bangkok to explore Jataka mythology in contemporary Thailand, and subsequent studio time with the creative team at DanceXchange (UK), Mahajanaka Dance Drama previewed at Wiltshire Music Centre (UK) on 2 April 2018 with an excerpt from the production presented as part of the sold out Neon Dance Wild Card at Sadler’s Wells (22-23 March 2018).

“Mahajanaka brings an Eastern flavour to the evening with Pichet Klunchun and Tilly Webber coming together quietly and touchingly, creating a stillness on the floor. Sometimes the flickering of Klunchun’s right hand is the only movement in this short but beautiful piece.” - The Reviews Hub

“The accompanying Thai musicians added to the authenticity of a work that would be worth seeing in an expanded form.” - DanceTabs

Jatakas depict the previous lives of the Buddha, in both human and animal form. They’re wonderfully illustrative tales and one of the largest and oldest surviving collections in the world.

In Jataka tales, the Bodhisatta (‘Buddha to be’) may appear as a king, an outcast, a god, even a hare, but in whatever form, he is working to cultivate one of the ten great perfections which enable him to attain the Nibbana (enlightenment) in his last life.
In the tale Mahajanaka, Prince Mahajanaka swims through the ocean for 7 days and 7 nights until the Goddess Manimekhala comes to his rescue. This famous scene (to be found painted on temples throughout Asia) symbolises the virtue of perseverance and heroic effort; however the main virtue in Mahajanaka is considered by academics to be one of renunciation. Prince Mahajanaka becomes King and chooses to give up his kingdom with all its material wealth to live a holy life, much to Queen Sivali’s despair. Husband and wife are intrinsically linked throughout their many lives in Jataka tales and this dichotomy between spiritual fulfilment and marital expectation makes for a compelling and heart wrenching tale.


Choreography / Director: Adrienne Hart Composer / Creative Producer: Sebastian Reynolds Dance Artists: Pichet Klunchun & Tilly Webber Musicians: Great Lekakul & Pradit Saengkrai Animation: Sun & Moon Studios Lighting Design: Frazer Riches Dramaturgy: Miranda Lawrence Costume: Emma Lyth, Sophie Meyer & Andie Scott Research Support: Dr Sarah Shaw.

This new stage work has been developed at DanceXchange in Birmingham with the support of Arts Council England, Oxford City Council’s Culture Fund and Oxford Dance Forum’s Evolution Fund.

BOOKING & MORE INFO: Sebastian Reynolds [email protected] +44 7932635856

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