WeTransfer presents: BLUE NOW
A film by Derek Jarman, performed live
Directed by Neil Bartlett
For this special 30th anniversary event, a cast of four actors: Russell Tovey, Travis Alabanza, Jay Bernard and Joelle Taylor will deliver Jarman's powerful words live, re-imagined and directed by Neil Bartlett, while Blue is screened in its entirety. The film's original composer, Simon Fisher Turner, will accompany them with a new live score.
Rail strikes will be taking place on Saturday 13 May causing disruption to travel. We strongly advise allowing ample time for your journey, which may take longer than usual.
If I lose half my sight, will my vision be halved?
Derek Jarman lived and worked in Prospect Cottage in Dungeness, Kent, from 1986 until his death. Here his creative output encompassed film, art, writing and gardening. The cottage and surrounding garden remain a site of pilgrimage and creative inspiration today. Blue was Derek Jarman’s final film. Completed in May 1993, just months before his death, it is his testament. For 74 minutes, an unchanging screen of celestial blue is accompanied by voices which deliver a collage of fragments from Jarman’s diary, describing the gradual onset of blindness as he battles with HIV. As his daily life is stripped away, only the essentials remain.
For this live screening, a cast of four actors: Russell Tovey (American Horror Story, Angels in America), writer and theatre-maker Travis Alabanza (Sound of the Underground, Burgerz), artist Jay Bernard (Surge: Side A) and award-winning poet Joelle Taylor (C+nto and othered poems) will deliver Jarman’s powerful words, directed by Neil Bartlett. The film’s original composer, Simon Fisher Turner, will accompany them with a new live score.
Blue was created during the darkest days of the British AIDS epidemic and bears witness not just to its creator’s remarkable courage but also to the rage and loss of an entire generation. Thirty years to the month after it was completed, this new live rendition of the film will be a chance to hear its inspiring message of compassion, love and dignity afresh under fire.
WeTransfer presents BLUE NOW in association with Fuel and Basilisk Communications.
- A film by Derek Jarman, performed live
- Live event commissioned by WePresent by WeTransfer
- Directed by Neil Bartlett
- Performed by Russell Tovey, Travis Alabanza, Jay Bernard, and Joelle Taylor
- Sound by Simon Fisher Turner
- Produced by Fuel
What to expect
For this special 30th anniversary event, a cast of four actors: Russell Tovey, Travis Alabanza, Jay Bernard and Joelle Taylor will deliver Jarman’s powerful words live, re-imagined and directed by Neil Bartlett, while BLUE is screened in its entirety. The film’s original composer, Simon Fisher Turner, will accompany them with a new live score.
This event will happen in four different places, each for one night. The four hosts for BLUE LIVE will be Brighton Festival, Turner Contemporary in Margate, HOME in Manchester and Tate Modern, making every performance site specific.
All four events will take place in May 2023. Turner Contemporary will be the second.
Informal seating will be used – a mixture of chairs and cushions on the floor – to accommodate approx. 140 people + wheelchair spaces.
The performance is designed to feel intimate. There will be no attempt to black-out the space. The performance will commence at sunset and end in darkness.
The event will be BSL interpreted by Steve Hudson . Please let us know if you require an accessible seat when booking your ticket.
- BLUE NOW will be performed during the gallery’s changeover period. This changeover period runs from Tuesday 9 – Thursday 18 May 2023. During changeover periods the gallery and shop will be closed temporarily. Doors will open at 7.45pm.
- The performance will start promptly at 8.30pm.
- This is a 14+ event.
- The performance contains strong language, references to suicide and terminal illness.
There will be a paid-for bar selling pre-performance alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks open from 7pm.
We have also teamed up with vintage retail store, Unified Goods, who’ve curated an exclusive edit of rare Derek Jarman ephemera. This mini collection of vintage objects includes theatrical prints, limited edition screenplays of the original release of Blue, 1st Edition books, scarce VHS tapes and more. The items will be available online and exclusively in person at the BLUE NOW performance.
Both the bar and the shop will remain open in our café from until 8.25pm.
Will further performances be announced?
This live event is currently scheduled for four one-off performances at Theatre Royal Brighton (7 May), Turner Contemporary, Margate (13 May), HOME, Manchester (21 May), Tate Modern (27 May). Please check individual venue websites for the most up-to-date ticket information. There are no further live dates currently scheduled.
Are there other ways to engage with BLUE NOW?
In addition to the live performances, WeTransfer has commissioned a digital iteration of BLUE NOW to appear on its arts platform WePresent. This version will not copy the original BLUE but instead pay tribute to the original artwork and its creator Derek Jarman through the words and voices of contemporary LGBTQIA+ artists including Russell Tovey, Travis Alabanza, Neil Bartlett, Jay Bernard, Joelle Taylor and Simon Fisher Turner.
Designed by WeTransfer’s award-winning creative studio, WePresent’s BLUE NOW content series will bring the legacy of this artwork to a large global audience where it will be accessible for free.
To find out more visit: wepresent.wetransfer.com/
Will additional tickets be released?
If further tickets become available we will make an announcement on our social media, or follow @FuelTheatre for the latest announcements.
Terms and Conditions
- Latecomers will not be admitted.
- Strictly no filming or photography.
- Named performers may be subject to change without prior notice.
- Tickets may not be refunded or exchanged following purchase.
Derek Jarman (1942-1994) was an English artist, film maker, stage designer, diarist, author and gardener. He was educated at the King’s College London and at the Slade School of Art. In 1967 Jarman exhibited his paintings in Young Contemporaries, Tate Gallery, London; Lisson Gallery, London and Fifth Biennale des Jeunes Artistes, Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris.
Neil Bartlett is a leading British author and theatre director. His adaptations and translations of Camus, Dickens, Dumas, Genet , Kleist, Labiche, Marivaux, Moliere, Racine and Wilde have been performed around the world, including productions by The RSC, The National Theatre, Bristol Old Vic, Glasgow Citizens Theatre, the Manchester Royal Exchange, the Abbey Dublin and the ART in Boston, USA.
With an extensive background in film, television and theatre, award-winning actor Russell Tovey can most recently be seen starring as Patrick Read in Ryan Murphy’s eleventh season of the FX horror anthology American Horror Story: NYC.
Travis is a writer, performer and theatremaker from Bristol. Their writing, performance and public discourse centres on trans and Black identities.
Jay Bernard is an artist whose work is interdisciplinary, critical, queer and rooted in the archives. They were named The Sunday Times/ University of Warwick Young Writer of the Year (2020) and are the recipient of the Ted Hughes Award (2017) for Surge: Side A, a cross-disciplinary exploration of the New Cross Fire in 1981.
Joelle Taylor is the author of 4 collections of poetry and a novel. Her most recent collection C+NTO & Othered Poems won the 2021 T.S Eliot Prize and was the subject of a Radio 4 arts documentary Butch.
Simon Fisher Turner
Simon Fisher Turner is renowned for his film soundtrack work which started in collaboration with Derek Jarman, for whom he scored many feature films.