Prometheus Awakes - London 2012

Mckeown designed the visuals for Prometheus Awakes, a large scale outdoor event for two of Britains most successful festivals - GDIF and SIRF

Prometheus Awakes inspired audiences with extraordinary stagecraft, digital outdoor projection, giant puppetry, mass choreography and special effects. The earthed moved and the sky exploded as an eight-metre-high Prometheus rose from the ground to create fire and humanity in defiance of the God Zeus. Prometheus’s awakening was projected (and signed) onto the façade of the Queen's House in the grounds of the Royal Museums Greenwich, London, a world heritage site in an event which formed an exhilarating re-interpretation of the legendary Greek myth. 

Premiered against the stunning backdrop of the beautiful seventeenth-century Queen’s House Prometheus Awakes then moved to the historic town of Stockton, where the story unfolded beside the banks of the River Tees. Novelly, Prometheus Awakes was the first-ever large-scale outdoor theatre production in the UK that was led by disabled artists.

Conceived by Bradley Hemming, Director of Greenwich and Docklands International Festival (GDIF) in 2010 this largescale spectacle was from the onset envisaged as a disability-led outdoor event on a grand scale. Following creative involvement in the early part of the project, McKeown was commissioned to complete all the project mapped visuals. London's Graeae theatre paired with Catalonia's most famous experimental theatre company, La Fura dels Baus as partners with particular skill in ariel work, and large scale puppetry. The project was presented as part of the London 2012 Festival in support of the 2012 Olympics.

Mckeown worked with the creative team to provide the final visuals which were project mapped in place and carefully controlled to sync to the live-action staging. The final show was a choreographed ensemble featuring commissioned music score, audio effects, real flames, professional dancers and a large cast of volunteers. Disabled and non-disabled performers interacted and controlled the huge biped directed by La Fura dels Baus.

Prometheus Awakes toured to one of Britain's oldest and most successful festivals in Stockton, in the North East of England. Stockton International Riverside Festival (SIRF) hosted the event, again to a sell-out audience. McKeown with his team recut the visual material and remapped it to a victorian high street facade. Projection facilities and support were provided by the Hemel Hempstead based XL Video. Accessibility built into the programme in support of everyone interested in accessing the show.

The UK's stage magazine reviewed the work:
"Reminiscent of the giant figure who featured in Take That’s Progress tour, huge Prometheus towering in front of the Queen’s House in Greenwich is a vision to behold. He walks around as the crowds part, his body brilliantly lit against the dark sky.

After setting himself down in a corner, other performers take centre stage - acrobats dangling from silks suspended high in the sky from a giant crane, participants dressed in white boiler suits who navigate a large hamster wheel-style contraption while whooping and cheering in a slightly eerie fashion against the rich backdrop of the Royal Naval College and Canary Wharf, and finally a wall of more than 40 men and women suspended from a huge crane in a lattice formation.

Complete with fireworks, a light show and stunning digital projections onto the Queen’s House facade, the whole show is a visual feast executed by a daring, creative and enthusiastic cast, which hits exactly the right note with the audience of late-night revellers."

This huge event was co-commissioned by GDIF and SIRF and received reviews including the prestigious UK's Guardian Newspaper Culture Section and the Stage.

Simon Mckeown (and his team) (digital projection design),Darshan Singh Bhuller (choreography) and Jules Maxwell, Carissa Hope Lynch.
Amit Sharma, Pera Tantina
Graeae, La Fura Dels Baus, Greenwich and Docklands International Festival, Stockton International Riverside Festival
Cast includes:
Welly O'Brien, Amelia Cavallo, Chisato Minamimura, Arti Shah

Running time:
40 mins

Prometheus Awakes as featured in this London 2012 Festival official book, featuring visual artwork designed for the show by artist Simon Mckeown