Help Persephone go on Tour!

by Jazz Hands Productions in Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

Help Persephone go on Tour!

£2,500

raised so far

58

supporters

Persephone is a new folk-rock musical inspired by Greek mythology, and it needs your help to go on tour this summer!

by Jazz Hands Productions in Oxford, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

We're still collecting donations

On the 29th June 2022 we'd raised £2,500 with 58 supporters in 28 days. But as every pound matters, we're continuing to collect donations from supporters.

New stretch target


Persephone is a new folk-rock musical written by Emma Hawkins and Carrie Penn, which premiered at the Oxford Playhouse in November 2019 and is now going on tour for 3 weeks to London, Cambridge, Doncaster and Liverpool on August 4-21. We are raising £2,500 to cover some of the accommodation and travel costs of our company and remove financial barriers to theatre outside of Oxford, and we need your help to make it happen!


Who are we?

Jazz Hands Productions is an emerging production company founded in 2019 by a group of students who enjoy telling stories through music, dance and ambitious visual designs. Our work is often character-driven, shining a light on voices that don’t often get a chance to tell their story. 

Over the past three years, we have explored many avenues within the performing arts, searching for what kind of story we want to tell. We started with a production of Chicago at the Keble O’Reilly Theatre in 2019, a fantastic experience and an explosive theatre debut for the production company. We then had a brief break from the stage due to certain world events (after having not one, but two shows sadly cancelled) and used it to experiment with multimedia, creating a radio play and a film. This was also when we started the company’s involvement with Persephone, as the script workshops took place remotely during the lockdown.

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When restrictions started being lifted, we spearheaded the return of theatre with our Oxford Playhouse staging of Persephone, to our knowledge the first original student musical to be staged there. We are currently working on a small, but lovable production of Tick, Tick…Boom! together with our friends at Half Rhyme Productions, in part to keep the theatre withdrawal blues at bay while we are planning this tour! 

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(Production photos from previous Jazz Hands shows)

What links all of these shows are the people; the shared love for a medium that inspires and provokes our audiences to think and see the world differently.


About the show

Based on the classic Greek myth, Persephone is a new folk-rock musical written by Emma Hawkins and Carrie Penn, exploring the best and the worst parts of human nature.

The rural town of Olympus has fallen into a steady rhythm under the control of Zeus. Immortality grows rife, power is corrupt and nothing is a secret for long. Yet for the young Persephone, who lives hidden away in the fields, the little old town is nothing but a story. But with the arrival of a mysterious stranger, Persephone is set on a journey that’ll bring her under the watch of the little old town. For in a world of folklore and immortality there’s one thing everyone craves but no one can keep for long: youth.  

The Journey of Persephone

The project began 7 years ago when our writer/director, Emma, set out to write a musical, choosing the characters of Greek mythology as her starting point. She quickly found a comforting familiarity in the tale of the naive country girl, Persephone, and was inspired to tell her own interpretation of the story,  one that would bring the myth in conversation with the contemporary.

Progress was slow but steady, and several hundred script drafts later it was time to find a collaborator for one of the most crucial parts of a musical: the music! With Carrie on board as the show’s composer, the project began to come to life with the incredible folk-rock score building into the existing story.

Fellow key collaborators such as our Producer, Ana, and Choreographer, Max, were soon to follow and at the start of 2021 we decided to run a workshop of the show in Oxford to develop the script and score further. We worked with 10 actors over the course of several months in an incredibly rewarding process that had a highly beneficial impact on the show.

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(Persephone behind the scenes)

This then set us up for our run at the Oxford Playhouse in November 2021, where we had huge amounts of support from the Oxford drama community, the venue and our audiences, spearheading the return of theatre in Oxford post-Covid and welcoming over 1700 in-house and online to watch the premiere of Persephone.

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(Production photos from Persephone at the OP)


Why a tour?

By virtue of being written in the present day, Persephone brings with it a fresh dialogue of contemporary issues. Tackling discussions around sexual assault, mental illness, and the misuse of power, the show speaks directly to a contemporary audience, despite the narrative being inspired by Greek mythology. Pushing past the fantastical elements lets us talk about these themes on stage and off, through the accessible medium of musical theatre, and we would love the show to be able to escape the student Oxford bubble and go out there in the world, to new venues and fresh audiences!

This tour is also an incredible opportunity to develop our theatre skills and help us in our theatre careers. The future of many prospective theatremakers is uncertain due to the pandemic - there are fewer jobs, they are more competitive, and theatre was shut down for 1.5 years meaning that we have had less time to get experience to stand a chance at getting those jobs. A tour allows us to showcase both the show and the creatives and actors involved, offering us a chance to be recognised professionally.


Tour dates & venues

We are touring to 4 venues across the country for 3 weeks during summer 2022:

  • Cambridge Junction Theatre, 4-5 August
  • Little Theatre, Doncaster, 9-10 August
  • Valley Community Theatre, Liverpool, 12-14 August
  • The Courtyard, London, 16-21 August


Financial technicalities

Tours are really expensive! Persephone has an estimated total cost of almost £20,000, including production costs of £12,000 and accommodation and travel costs of £7,500 for the company during the tour. Why these costs? Read on:

  • We need large venues to realise this musical because of the relatively large cast (11) and because of the choreography and technical elements of the show. Large venues in turn lead to large hire costs, a need for a relatively large crew (6) to realise the show backstage, and higher production costs (in particular for sound equipment, which is vital for a musical).
  • The current accommodation and travel cost is £560 per person, but we strongly believe that no student should have to pay to take part in theatre outside of Oxford - they are already giving one month of their lives to the tour, without being paid for their work, and being unable to work or gain income during this period. Money can represent a huge barrier to accessibility of touring productions, and we are aiming to eliminate it completely in this show.
  • We have already tried everything we could think of to reduce costs, including choosing not to go to the Edinburgh Fringe this summer, which would have added significant extra costs (although, rest assured that this is on the cards in the future!)
  • The target of this crowdfunder is £2,500, which covers all costs that have not already been covered by funding from other sources. We are really close, but we need your help! If anything is raised on top of this target, it will go towards subsidising accommodation during the rehearsal period, and living costs during the tour.
  • If the tour makes profit, we will use it entirely to offset the carbon footprint of our travel and for future not-for-profit productions.

This will be hard, but we can do it with your support! Productions of this size don't usually go on tours, but we think this show and the amount of work our team and actors have put into it so far are more than worth the fundraising effort.

Reviews

For Persephone:

“A superb production” – ★★★★  – North West End UK

“Not all musicals ‘immediately’ grab the audience from the get-go, but Persephone puts its higher profile peers to shame with its readily memorable songs and the best of modern versus classical storytelling.” – ★★★★ – Breaking the Fourth Wall

“The emphasis on the bonds forged between women, regardless of the circumstances that led them there, is palpable in Persephone. [...] The women are interesting, complex, and more than just the companions of other immortal beings.” – Cherwell

“A slick, substantial and thrilling show” – Daily Info

“The writers have introduced such current issues, such as rape and miscarriage, into this mature and eloquent arena, which are then only enhanced by the brilliant cast.” – Ox in a Box

“From love to tragedy, empowerment, and anger, the emotions shine through the words. There were several times when I was struck by the lyricism of the musical pieces. It is easy to forget that the script is student-written.” – The Poor Print

"With hard-hitting and powerful lyrics, this is a show you’ll be thinking about long after you’ve left your seat." - Polka Dot Pages

For Chicago: ''Oxford is graced with student vaudeville at its best.'' - ★★★★★ - Cherwell

For Lost Connection: “Art triumphs through lockdown” - Oxford Blue

Final words

Thank you so much for reading this far and for your support! Even if you are unable to donate, we are touched by your interest in our show and we would love to stay in touch with you! You can head to our website to sign up for our newsletter, or give us a follow on your favourite social media platform. We would also really appreciate you spreading the word about our crowdfunder and about the tour!

You can find us on:

Our Website | Facebook | Instagram Twitter

Rewards

This project offered rewards

£20 or more

£20 - Antigone

You're a famous play (and a cool Greek woman!) and we are so grateful for your help! In return for your support, we love to send you a digital copy of our EP with 4 studio-recoded Persephone songs!

£5 or more

£5 - Andromeda

Thank you so much for the support! We can't name a galaxy after you, but we would love to express our gratitude by sending you a thank you card signed by the company!

£10 or more

£10 - Penelope

Next up in line of Greek mythology women insufficiently talked about, Penelope is an able and clever leader who looks after her people while Odysseus is away for the Trojan War. Penelope often received gifts from her people and we would love to give you a signed Persephone poster as thanks for your support!

£15 or more

£15 - Atalanta

Atalanta was a fierce heroine and helped on the quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece, but does anyone think to mention her? Anyway, as thanks for your support we would love to film a personalised Tik Tok video for you!

£35 or more

£35 - Sappho

Sappho was not a mythological figure, so possibly even cooler? She was a Greek poet, whose poetry was usually performed with music. In recognition of your support, we will send you a digital copy of the FULL Persephone album to say thank you!

£50 or more

£50 - Arachne

You have skills beyond compare and you should be appreciated for them! In appreciation of your support, we will send you a Persephone T-shirt, a signed poster AND create a personalised Tik Tok video for you!

£75 or more

£75 - Ariadne

Ariadne was extremely clever and practically worked out the Labyrinth for Theseus... he should be very grateful! We are very grateful too and we would love to give you 2 free tickets to any of our shows, a backstage tour and a signed poster!

£100 or more

£100 - Medea

Did anyone say badass? Medea was a sorceress with a key part to play in Jason's quest for the Golden Fleece (and another cool play...), yet all that everyone remembers is the unfortunate revenge bit. We will remember your help, and we would love to give you all of the merchandise: a Persephone tote bag, a T-shirt, a signed poster, a thank you card AND our album!

£250 or more

£250 - Cassandra

Cassandra could see the future! Not bad... not bad at all! You too can get a glimpse into the future of the show with an invitation to attend some of our rehearsal, and exclusive brunch with the cast in Oxford, and 2 tickets to any show with a backstage tour!

£500 or more

£500 - Pandora

No points for guessing how we came up with the name for this one. Our Pandora's box includes: merchandise (Persephone tote bag and T-shirt, a digital copy of our album and a signed poster), 2 tickets to any of our shows, and an opportunity to have a backstage tour and meet the cast!

£1,000 or more

£1000 - Helen of Troy

The face that raised a thousand quid? THANK YOU!! We could not be more grateful for your support! You get ALL OF THE ABOVE, and in addition you are now part of the Persephone family - we will send you regular production updates, a standing invitation to attend any show and go backstage, and you will have a named mention on the Jazz Hands website!

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