WALKING TO JERUSALEM

From the award-winning writer of Scaramouche Jones, The Madness of George Dubya and The Devil’s Passion

Passion Pit Theatre, in association with Amos Trust & Hodder and Stoughton, presents

WALKING TO JERUSALEM

Blisters, hope and other facts on the ground

A critically acclaimed new stage production telling the story of the 2017 Just Walk to Jerusalem

Written and performed by Justin Butcher

Directed by Matilda Reith

Designed by Sarah Mercadé

Music and sound by Jack C. Arnold

Video design by Damian Hale, David Shepherd & Christian Krupa

Lighting design by Andy Shewan

Supported by Amos Trust, Hodder and Stoughton, Waverley Learning & Zaytoun CIC  

TOUR DATES 2020-21

Wed-Thur 18th & 19th March 2020 – Wilton’s Music Hall, London

Sat 16th May 2020 – Lichfield Garrick Theatre, Lichfield

Tue-Wed 30th June & 1st July 2020 – Theatr Clwyd, Mold

Thur 6th August – Sunday 30th August 2020 – Edinburgh Fringe Festival, venue tbc

Wed-Sat 9th-12th September 2020 – Tron Theatre, Glasgow

Tue-Thur 15th-17th September 2020 – Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford

Mon 28th September – Friday 9th October 2020 – Tour of Mexico c/o Anglo Arts, Anglo Mexican Foundation with Catedra Bergman at UNAM

Jan-Feb 2021 – Republic of Ireland tour, details tbc

Feb-March 2021 – Adelaide, Australia, details tbc

NOW AVAILABLE FOR TOURING IN 2020 – 2021. Contact: justin@amostrust.org 

“So impressive … displays the kind of unusual empathy essential in that tangled and tragic situation.” Brian Eno — Artist & Musician

A pilgrimage of penance, a march of solidarity – 3,400km, 147 days across eleven countries, three seas, mountains, rivers and soul-stirring landscapes from the green fields of Kent to the desert dust of Jordan …

2017 marked three major anniversaries in the Palestinian struggle: the centenary of the Balfour Declaration, the fiftieth year of Israel’s military occupation of the Palestinian Territories, and the tenth year of the blockade of Gaza. To change the record after a century of injustice, a pilgrimage set out to walk from London to Jerusalem – in penance, solidarity, and hope. This was the inspiration of award-winning playwright and actor Justin Butcher, who worked with human rights charity Amos Trust to mount the Just Walk to Jerusalem, June – November 2017. Calling for full equal rights for everyone in the Holy Land, more than one hundred walkers took part. Nine walked the whole way.

This is their story – walking journals and travellers’ tales on paths of pilgrimage and conquest, from monasteries and mountain passes to Bedouin camps and desert wadis across Europe and the Middle East – brought to life in a dynamic new show. In a playful and inventive blend of theatre and stand-up directed by acclaimed theatre maker Matilda Reith, with a haunting and evocative soundscape and video montage created from live footage along the route, virtuoso storyteller Justin Butcher traces the perils, pratfalls and marvels of the path to Jerusalem. Along Roman roads and refugee routes, with occasional outbreaks of blisters, tear gas and desert spirituality, he conjures a chronicle of serendipity: happenstances hilarious, infuriating and occasionally numinous – or, as pilgrims might say, encounters with the Divine.

Walking to Jerusalem premiered in a critically acclaimed sell-out run at the 2019 Dublin Theatre Festival, coinciding with the UK paperback release and US publication of Justin Butcher’s celebrated book, Walking to Jerusalem: blisters, hope and other facts on the ground. The UK and international tour begins at the Wilton’s Music Hall, London, in March 2020, and will continue through into 2021. For booking enquiries, contact justin@amostrust.org.    

VIEW AUDIENCE REACTIONS HERE

‘Energetic and zealous, fascinating … memorable … the triumph of personal detail over harrowing political fact.’ 

IRISH TIMES

‘Boundless energy … beautiful prose … colourful characters … his indefatigable presence as an actor, emphatic intent and writing and a sonorous audio visual montage create a piece of artful activism …’ 

NO MORE WORKHORSE

‘Rubble, sand and dust perfectly create an atmosphere of war-torn countries … video montage, using footage from the journey, combined with sound design, together worked wonders to bring the audience on the pilgrimage … the most compelling element of the show lies in the performance by Butcher and his direction by Matilda Reith. Through the sleepless nights, the harrowing border crossings and all the encounters along the way, Butcher regaled the story with such passion and energy that the audience were transfixed by his every word. Such tales of inspiring compassion are few and far between in these trying times; this one managed to make this self-proclaimed bystander feel a call to activism.’

MEG.IE

ENDORSEMENTS for Walking to Jerusalem

“So impressive … displays the kind of unusual empathy essential in that tangled and tragic situation.” Brian Eno — Artist & Musician

“An incredibly moving and fascinating pilgrim’s tale of love, humour and solidarity.”                               Rosalind Nashashibi — 2017 Turner Prize nominee

“Crisp and vibrant – Justin Butcher leads us on a fascinating and thoughtful tour through history into the heart of the politics of contemporary Palestine.” Jeremy Hardy  — Comedian

“Butcher relights the flames of hope in our age of hopelessness.” Yasmin Alibhai-Brown — Columnist of the Year 2016, British Press Awards

“A remarkable work of humanity and humility — fascinating, beautifully drawn, very moving and often very funny. Utterly evocative.” John McCarthy CBE — Journalist & broadcaster

“Gripping and intelligent.” Patrick Cockburn — Foreign Reporter of the Year 2014, Press Awards

“Moving, challenging and motivating – a must for everyone who yearns for peace in Palestine.” David Suchet CBE — Actor

“Erudite and entertaining on spirituality, history, music, architecture and ecology. But we’re always aware of a sense of burning injustice at the plight of the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. The denouement, when they finally arrive in the Holy Land, is both thought-provoking and inspiring.” Barnaby Phillips – award-winning journalist & author, BBC & Al Jazeera

“Vivid with rich history, people encountered, beauty of the countries  crossed on foot, like a giant moving tapestry, immediately draw us in to this great walk of hope and justice to Jerusalem. Courageous and inspiring.” Dr Swee Ang — Patron, Medical Aid for Palestinians

“Rare and compelling – a revelatory journey from the dirt on the ground to the dreams of so many still beyond the horizon.” Pen Hadow — Explorer

“As an Israeli who campaigns for equal rights in Palestine/Israel, I found in Justin’s compelling account a clear sense that peace based on justice and equality is no pipe dream but a real possibility in my tortured land. With Justin as a guide, all of us — you, too — can begin to walk the walk.”       Jeff Halper — Director, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions

“The world badly needs people like Justin Butcher. Insight and passion, soul and solidarity — to read it is to be reminded that what is right is always found on the other side of fear.”                     Mark Oakley — Dean of St John’s, Cambridge

Watch the 4-minute film of Just Walk to Jerusalem here:

https://www.amostrust.org/films/

CREATIVE TEAM

JUSTIN BUTCHER, writer & performer

A writer, actor, director and musician who has worked all over the world in theatre, TV, radio and film, Justin’s plays include the multi-award-winning Scaramouche Jones, originally starring Pete Postlethwaite, which has been staged continuously in many productions and translations around the world ever since its 2001 premiere, the hit anti-war satires The Madness of George Dubya and A Weapons Inspector Calls, the Edinburgh Fringe hit comedy Breaking Strain, the internationally acclaimed Go to Gaza, Drink the Sea, co-written with Ahmed Masoud in reaction to the 2009 ‘Cast Lead’ attack on Gaza, and his critically renowned satirical reworking of the Easter story, The Devil’s Passion (or Easter in Hell) — broadcast in 2017 on BBC R3, starring David Suchet in the title role.

His recent adaptation of Stanislav Stratiev’s Cold War satire The Roman Bath for the Arcola Theatre was praised by Michael Billington in The Guardian and Michael Coveney in The Independent for introducing UK audiences to the work of a major Eastern European satirical writer.

His music drama, Freedom Song, co-written with composer Harvey Brough, telling the amazing story of the Fisk Jubilee Singers and the birth of gospel music, premiered at the Hackney Empire in March 2019. His other plays for BBC Radio include The Man on the Pillar, Chukwudebelu — Preserved of God, The Patience of Mr Job and Escape from Gaza.

As actor, he has worked all over the world in theatre, film, TV and radio, with credits including Electric Dreams: Impossible Planet (Channel 4/Amazon US, directed by David Farr), Let Me Go (award-winning new feature film, starring Juliet Stevenson, directed by Polly Steele), Mary Barton (BBC Radio 4), Zindabad (Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford), The Taming of the Shrew (Nottingham Playhouse), The End of the Affair (Salisbury Playhouse), Buddy (Victoria Palace & Strand Theatres) and his own ongoing touring productions of Scaramouche Jones and The Devil’s Passion, which have toured across the UK, Australia, Italy, Malta and Mexico since 2008.

His creative work in advocacy for Palestinian rights includes the hugely successful Bethlehem Unwrapped festival, built around a full-scale replica of the Separation Wall in Piccadilly at Christmas 2013, with a star line-up including Nigel Kennedy, the Tallis Scholars, Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, Jeremy Hardy, Mark Steel, Rafeef Ziadah and Dizraeli.

Justin’s acclaimed book, Walking to Jerusalem: blisters, hope and other facts on the ground, telling the story of the  2017 walk from London to Jerusalem, was published by Hodder & Stoughton (UK) in 2018, and in the USA by Pegasus Books in 2019.

Watch ‘Bethlehem Unwrapped: the short documentary’ here:

MATILDA REITH, director

Matilda Reith is a Genesis-shortlisted director who has worked with Out of Joint, Royal & Derngate, Oxford Playhouse, The Royal Exchange, Theatr Clwyd, Camden People’s Theatre, The Pleasance, and New Diorama. She is the associate director of Paperfinch (The Nutcracker, Snow Queen, Hansel & Gretel: Fairytale Detectives), and a co-founder of Footprint (Daniel, The Belief Project). She wrote and directed Hotel Room whilst at University which won Best Show of the Year, Best Director and was shortlisted for NSDF. She has recently assisted Christopher Haydon (The Remains Of The Day, 2019, Royal & Derngate, plus a national tour, and Grounded, 2016, The Gate, Notting Hill) and Kate Wasserberg (The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice, 2017, Theatr Clwyd).

SARAH MERCADÉ, set & costume design  

Sarah is a set and costume designer, based in London and working in theatre across the UK. Having originally trained in costume design at Wimbledon College of Art, she later completed the MA in theatre design at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Sarah has a particular interest in design for new writing, musical theatre, opera and dance. In 2018 Sarah was a semi-finalist in the European Opera Prize with her design proposal for Manon Lescaut at Opera Holland Park, in collaboration with director Matthew Monaghan.

Design for theatre includes: Southern Belles (Kings Head); Leave A Message (Vaults Festival/Gilded Balloon Edinburgh Fringe); And Tell Sad Stories of the Death of Queens (Kings Head); Gold Coast (Theatre 503); Julius Caesar (Bristol Old Vic); Obsession (Stockwell Playhouse); The Valour of Robin Hood (Abney Park, Stoke Newington); Sex With A Stranger (Wardrobe Theatre).

Costume design for theatre and dance includes: Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre Blenheim); The Wizard of Oz (Blackpool Opera House); A Chorus Line (Central School of Speech and Drama); Our Town (Circomedia); Chicken Dust (Finborough); I, Pierrot (Roundhouse); ‘Till The Boys Come Home (Sydenham Arts Festival); Retrospective (Blue Elephant); A Knife In The Whale (Tristan Bates); Slowly We Collide (Actor’s Church).

Associate design includes: Spiceworld 2019 (Spice Girls UK Tour, costume); Spring Awakening (Hope Mill Theatre); American Idiot 10th Anniversary UK Tour (costume); Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre Blenheim, costume); Lost Boys (National Youth Theatre at Unity Theatre Liverpool); Consensual (National Youth Theatre at Soho Theatre).

JACK C. ARNOLD, sound design  

Jack Arnold is an RTS-nominated score composer and producer working in feature film, prime-time television and West End theatre on a wide range of award-winning work.

His work includes the critically acclaimed feature film Wild Rose, starring Jessie Buckley, for which he composed score and produced the soundtrack album and The Scouting Book for Boys, both directed by Tom Harper; Niall MacCormick’s debut feature film Albatross for CinemaNX; six-part thriller The Level for ITV1; 8-part comedy drama Loaded for C4/AMC; Holy Flying Circus, a BAFTA nominated film written by Tony Roche and directed by Owen Harris about the events surrounding the 1979 release of Monty Python’s “The Life of Brian”, for which he received an RTS Award nomination for Best Score 2012. He composed additional music for the BBC’s 2016 adaptation of War and Peace, and has scored numerous documentaries for BBC, C4, Discovery and SciFi.

In the theatre, his work includes One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, Buried Child (Curve Theatre, Leicester), Elling and Missing Persons – Four Tragedies and Roy Keane (Trafalgar Studios), Educating Rita (Chichester Festival Theatre), The Argument (Hampstead Theatre), God’s Property (The Albany, Deptford). His collaborations with Justin Butcher include The Devil’s Passion, Black Comedy and The Dubya Trilogy.

DAMIAN HALE, video design

Award winning Creative Director and visual artist Damian Hale specialises in live video design which began with work for The Chemical Brothers in the late 1990s and has since involved a wide range of shows including U2Elton JohnThe Rolling StonesNew OrderJohn Mayer, Monty PythonDawn FrenchLittle BritainTinchy Stryder, Will DuttaLondon Grammar. 

In 2012, Damian won the Knights of Illumination award for live concert video for his work with Sigur Ros. He has also directed music videos for Darren HayesStereo MCsTinchy Stryder and New Order and recently directed a Virtual Reality promo for the band Lost Under Heaven. 

He previously worked with Justin Butcher in 2013 on the Wall installation as part of the Bethlehem Unwrapped festival.

DAVID SHEPHERD, video design

David Shepherd is a Video Technical Director who has worked within live performance for over ten years across rock and pop shows, classical performances, theatre, opera, and installation art.

In the last few years he has worked on projects ranging from big blockbuster shows for the Rolling Stones and U2, through intimate immersive shows for Sigur Rós (for which he was nominated alongside Damian Hale in 2017 for a KOI award), to a live reactive video piece for a performance of Foreign Bodies by the NY Philharmonic Orchestra.

His theatre and opera shows include Ugly Lies The Bone at the National Theatre and Girls & Boys at the Royal Court Theatre, and Die Walküre at the Opéra National de Bordeaux.

He has helped create multiple video installations in the V&A Museum, and the projection installation Please Feed The Lions in Trafalgar Square for Artist and Designer Es Devlin.

David has previously worked with Justin when he helped to create projections for the Bethlehem Unwrapped festival in 2013. 

CHRISTIAN KRUPA, video design

Christian Krupa is an artist, animator, and director who has consistently explored the cutting edge of graphic and film making arts over two decades working in fine art, broadcast television, education,
video games, advertising, live events, film and immersive theatre. Being flexible in style and focused in approach he has both led and been part of the creation of diverse and successful projects around
the world working with artists, brands and platforms from Madonna and The Rolling Stones to the Jim Henson Company, Channel Four, PBS, BBC, Adidas and more.

Notable projects include the stream of consciousness animated documentary series TERRA 2050, which garnered ~2 million viewers on its broadcast, Dave Mckean’s N[eon] which taught him many secrets
of film making and it’s illusions, visionary graphics on Mayavision’s The Story of India documentary series, work on Sigur Ros’ tour visuals, Evolution Synthetica performed at the Victoria and Albert museum, The Last Battle, immersive theatre performed on the same site, 300 years after the Battle of Preston, and most recently, the music video for Henrik Schwarz and The Metropole Orkest accompanying their track AlgoRhythm.

He continues to seek new challenges and opportunities in music videos and live visuals. He is also working with They Eat Culture / People’s Production Lab on forthcoming immersive theatre productions to be shown in unusual locations and then at the Fringe in Edinburgh while currently writing and developing film ideas of his own.

ANDY SHEWAN, lighting design

Andy read Drama and English at Hull University, following this by training in Stage Management and Technical Theatre at Mountview. 

Selected highlights as Stage and Production Manager include lots of touring, with Orchard Theatre Company Devon, Deadly Serious and Highland Fling (Adventures in Motion Pictures), Voyage in the Dark (The Sphinx), Window Dressing and Passionfish (Trestle Theatre), Lost & Found (Travelling Light), Monkey Bars (Chris Goode), Martyr (ATC), War Correspondents (Helen Chadwick), Hansel and Gretel: a Nightmare in Eight Scenes (Goldfield Productions).

From 1997 to 2009, Andy worked at Unicorn Theatre in various technical roles, creating work at Unicorn Arts Theatre London and many other venues, with shows travelling as far afield as Whitley Bay, New York and Singapore. Andy was involved in the creation of the company’s new home, the award-winning Unicorn Theatre in London Bridge, overseeing several productions there as Production Manager. 

Lighting credits include In Extremis for RCSSD, Dying City and Like a Fishbone at Cockpit Theatre for Mountview, Tir Na N’Og (AKA Into the West) for Travelling Light, at the Arts Theatre London, New Victory Theatre New York and UK Tour, Tall Tales Small Tails and Revenge of the Story Spirits for Unicorn Theatre at Pleasance Theatre London, Good Works and Rough Music For Show of Strength Theatre Co at New Vic Studio Bristol, and Quakers Friars Bristol, Hitler’s Whistle, Beast of Exmoor, Under the Earth, Dead Man’s Hat, Frankenstein, Romeo and Juliet, The Ballad of Sweeney Todd  for Orchard Theatre Co, at venues throughout the Southwest.

Andy’s association with Justin Butcher includes trips to Edinburgh and Mexico with Scaramouche Jones, tours of The Devil’s Passion, and the Bethlehem Unwrapped festival.

AUDIENCE REACTIONS

‘I have to join the others who will already have told you that your performance at Hoxton Hall last Friday was remarkable. It never fails to amaze me that so much creativity, talent, energy and inspiration can be embodied in one man!’ Anne, London 

‘Brilliant, wonderful – congratulations.’ Bridget, London

‘I cannot thank you enough for having brought to us that most remarkable and charismatic actor, who gave us that inspiring one man show that will stand in my memory for all time. It was utterly fascinating. He is clearly very talented as an actor and was most entertaining in his portrayal of  people he met often to comic affect. He moved us too with pathos when in Greece he met refugees. What pleasure it gave me to realise that there are people in this world who care enough about Palestine to sacrifice such time and energy to do such a huge and original thing … What an achievement that was and how proud I am that [British] people instigated this amazing feat – so hard on the feet! I feel totally humbled by the mere thought of all that walking. I do not think I was ever capable of walking that far. My dear husband who felt deeply about Palestine and made a sacrifice of a very different kind would have rejoiced to know of this. How he would have loved to see that show. I just wanted to tell you how wonderful of you both to have captured him and got him down to Devon. I feel most privileged. Thank you again.’ Celia, Budleigh Salterton

‘Really powerful and moving – poignant, funny, accurate and a real tribute … the audience was gripped as we were journeying with you.’ Chris, London 

‘Just wanted to say how much I “enjoyed”, [not sure this is the correct word when dealing with the awful situation in Palestine], your show last evening at Halesworth.’ Colin, Norwich 

Just wanted to congratulate you and the team on last night’s show. I left feeling quite wrung out emotionally. Your passion and commitment shone through and I loved how the journey and individual stories were animated by the cinematic backdrop and soundscapes.’ Eryl, London

‘Justin was absolutely incredible, a real “tour de force” – I don’t know how he manages to sustain that level of energy and passion for 90 minutes. He certainly deserved the standing ovation from our audience … I am sure the performance left a deep impression on everyone.’ Hilary, Guildford

‘Steve and I are really glad we came to see your performance last night … we were moved, challenged and hugely impressed. Your writing is insightful, engaging, illuminating and your performance was compelling. We didn’t even wriggle in our seats. You helped us to feel what daily life is like for the Palestinian people. Thank you so much.’ Jane & Steve, Guildford 

‘A once-in-a-lifetime performance like no other, aided by sound and lighting, enabled us to share in the walk – the blisters, the tears, the laughter, the hope … the audience, thrilled and exhausted, found it almost impossible to express their admiration and amazement at what they had been treated to – some of us are still talking about it!’ Jean, Budleigh Salterton

‘The show was a wonderful summary of a wonderful book. Very well done on all fronts, and thanks for doing it all.’ Jo & Kev, London

‘Thanks for a great show on Friday. Many expressed their appreciation of the writing and your  performance.’ Martin, Cambridge

‘I felt completely compelled to write to you as I was so impressed and overwhelmed by your powerful performance last night. The play is so insightful, the message so deep and painful, and the delivery was magnificent … the best I have seen.’ Nick, London

‘What a wonderful, evocative, challenging show.’ Rob, York

‘It was so powerful, enthralling, funny – a tour de force – the standing ovation was fully deserved.’ Tricia, London