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The Events

by David Greig

Screams echo through corridors. A forest echoes with the sound of gunfire. At Claires choir rehearsal, something terrible happens.

David Greigs daring new play asks how far forgiveness will stretch in the face of atrocity. Featuring local choirs and a soaring soundtrack, The Events tells of tragedy, obsession and our destructive desire to fathom the unfathomable.

Claire, a priest, is a left-leaning community worker dealing with immigrants and community integration. One of the things she does to promote this is run a choir that anyone can join. A boy comes to the choir but doesnt join in. She thinks nothing of it, everyone is welcome. When he comes back, he pulls out a gun and starts firing at people.

Shocked and bereft, Claire starts to seek out how someone could do such a terrible thing a quest for understanding that tears her own life apart. It is a play about community healing, the limits of empathy, and how to move on if you have been involved in something truly life changing.

The Events is a brand new play by renowned Scottish writer, David Greig. Commissioned by Actors Touring Company and directed by its artistic director Ramin Grey, this is a major new work exploring themes of community and its ability to adjust. Featuring a local community choir at every performance, this is a play with music rather than a musical itself.

The production will premiere at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh during the 2013 Edinburgh Festival Fringe before touring around the UK.

Production Credits:

WriterDavid Greig

Director Ramin Gray

Composer John Browne

Designer Chloe Lamford

Lighting Charles Balfour

SoundAlex Caplen

Produced for Actors Touring Company by Nick Williams

The Events was commissioned by Actors Touring Company and Drammatikkenshus, Oslo.

Actors Touring Company

ATC presents the best in international contemporary theatre. We tell stories from different perspectives on the world through the theatre, finding and translating the best international drama from around the world, commissioning the most exciting writers, and collaborating with some of the finest artists in world theatre. Recent productions have included The Golden Dragon by Roland Schimmelpfennig (English language premiere, and UK and International tour playing for 110 performances on three continents), the first major revival of Sarah Kanes Crave, the UK premiere of Illusions by Ivan Viripaev and the world premiere production of the first stage adaptation of Jung Changs Wild Swans.

Future projects include a trio of Russian plays exploring the immigrant world of Brighton Beach in Brooklyn, commissioned and developed by the company; a dance/theatre hybrid made collaboratively with Hofesh Shechtar and Simon Stephens; a new play from Iranian writer Nassim Soleimanpour which will be our first ever digital production as well as productions of major works from the very best international writers.

Community Choir Programme

The production features a new community choir at each performance. They play the choir, the community, and a Greek Chorus questioning Claires actions and warning her about her destructive pathway. The Events is a daring and ambitious project. ATC, in partnership with their tour venues, will meet the challenge of finding a different choir for every night the play is performed.

Every choir taking part in the project will be unique and each will have their own individual style. Although the choirs we work with will be incredibly varied (in size, in gender split, in repertoire, in age range etc.) all will be united through their love for singing! Willing to be a part of something extraordinary, bringing with them that community spirit that is found within all choirs.

In total we expect to work with over eighty choirs, approximately two thousand singers at ten different locations around the UK and we want your choir to a part of this incredibly exciting project

What we are looking for

We are looking for committed, enthusiastic and dedicated choirs who will view this project as an exciting opportunity for all its members. The Events is a ground breaking piece of theatre and it asks much of the choir who is central to the performance.

We hope the choirs we work with will rise to this challenge and fully engage with the content of the play, the cast members and audience. We would like to work with choirs who will embark with us on this journey of exploration and help shape the unique theatrical event which will be The Events.

A few requirements

The choir size can range between 17 and 30 people. Larger choirs may wish to put forward a smaller group as a representative

Members of the choir must be over the age of 16

The choir will need to have been together for a minimum of three months

The choir will need to have a vocal leader who will champion and lead on learning of material

The choir will need to commit to the performance date at least two months prior to performance date

The choir will need to commit to at least 6-8 weeks of rehearsal time. This can of course be combined with the choirs weekly rehearsals for other performances. It is thought 20 minutes additional learning over 6-8 weeks will suffice

The choir will need to nominate a group contact leader (perhaps a Choir Secretary) who will liaise with ATC and the venue regarding any choir concerns and questions

Choir members will need to agree to being filmed and photographed

The Choir will be asked to take part in ATCs evaluation process


The Music

There are six new songs written by Composer John Browne for which we have full scores for each. John has written the pieces with every standard and style of choir in mind and hopes to have presented work which will be representative of all the choirs we work with. Please also see Johns notes for choirs which provides you with more detailed thoughts on each piece.


We have full recordings of each of the songs with full choir, broken down part by part and with just piano. We can send these to you as soundfiles or we can prepare CDs and sent them to you.

Choirs own song

We ask that the choir also prepare one song from their own repertoire which will feature at the start of the show. This song should be bright and bold, offering a strong sense of your choirs identity a real signature tune. It should be typical of the work you usually perform and a good way of introducing the choir to the audience at the start of the play. We ask that you send the Choirs Coordinator for The Events the sheet music for this (if accompanied) as soon as possible in order for the shows pianist to prepare.

If possible, we would like the Choirs own song to be able to be sung off book as it enables the audience to connect with the choir a little bit more. However, if the choir feels uncomfortable with this then we can simply slip your choirs sheet music into the choir folders (which we will provide).

We also ask that the MD chooses a choir member who will be happy to hum a solo lullaby on stage as one of the actors talks. This can be any song of your choice but we would like it to be plaintive and soft.

The rehearsal process

The rehearsal process for the music for The Events can be flexible to suit each choir and their timeframe. It can be learnt on a weekly basis as an addition to the choirs regular, in a week long workshop session with two hours a day or perhaps over an intensive workshop weekend. We have worked with choirs in each of these ways and they have each learnt the music effectively.

The choirs MD

The choirs MD will play a very integral role in the rehearsal process and on stage. We ask that the MD not only prepare the choir ready for performance but that they encourage debate about the play and its themes and that they reassure the choir as they always do. On stage we would like the choirs MD to conduct the first song and then to join the choir on stage to sing with the choir for the duration of the performance.

Preparation during Performance week

Super Mondays

Every Monday throughout Edinburgh and on tour ATC host a Super Monday where we invite all the choirs who are performing during the week to join us for a choir rehearsal. This will be a brilliant opportunity for you to meet other choirs who will be performing and the key Artistic Staff who will guide you through the week right up to when you walk on stage! This is a three hour rehearsal and you will work with one of our fantastic Vocal Animateurs who will go through all the songs in detail, our brilliant Assistant Director Polina who will guide you through the context of the play, introduce you to the running order and discuss some of the staging. You will also meet one of our incredible pianists who will be accompanying you on your performance night and they are on stage with you for the whole time as well guiding you through the plays. These rehearsals are when we really start to shape the music and really begin to learn more about each of the choirs we will be working with theyre really exciting and its very important that every choir member who will be onstage attends the rehearsal.

The evening of the performance

We will call the choir 90 minutes before the adverstised performance time. We appreciate many choir members are coming from work, busy family lives, studying etc and we want this to a fantastic experience for everyone involved but we do have a lot to cover so we must be prompt and start on time. We ask everyone is ready to start rehearsing at the call time so we


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