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07 July 2022

Dido’s Bar

Let us tempt you to the edge of town for a night of theatre, music and myth at Dido’s Bar.

We’re thrilled to be hosting Dido’s Bar, produced by Dash Arts, as part of the national UK tour this autumn. Set in a music club teetering on the edge of belonging, Dido’s Bar is a new immersive theatre production premiering in London this September. 

We’ll be teaming up with local venues in Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth to bring this incredible experience to some of Journeys Festival International’s favourite cities. We’ve hosted festivals in Leicester since 2013 and Manchester and Portsmouth since 2016 and we can’t wait to share this impressive performance with audiences later this year.

Dido’s Bar is a new immersive theatre and music production opening at The Factory in London’s historic Royal Docks on 23 September (Press Night 28 September) before touring to Manchester, Leicester, Portsmouth and Oxford.

Dido’s Bar is an epic retelling of Virgil’s Aeneid, created and performed by a multilingual international ensemble of actor-musicians, bringing to life the classic myth of migration, love and assimilation through the eyes of refugees today. Nightly divine bar managers Juno and Venus welcome world-class artists onto their stage and around their performances as the drama unfolds. The work is inspired by director Josephine Burton’s encounter with Kurdish Iranian refugee and now Finnish resident, composer Marouf Majidi and is written by Hattie Naylor.

Based on an ancient myth about migration, this performance is a perfect fit for our festival which offers a platform to artists with sanctuary seeking experiences. Director Josephine Burton, Artistic Director of Dash Arts said, ‘The ancient myth of Aeneas, a refugee from the war-torn East who travels across the Mediterranean to seek sanctuary and build a new home in Europe, is truly a tale for our time. We are bringing it hurtling into the present – setting the drama in a music club on the edge of town, where the heroes of old are now the great music stars of today, with a little jazz and world music thrown in!”

With Journeys Festival International exploring journeys, migration and the world around us, bringing Dido’s Bar to our audiences in Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth seems only natural.

Lorna Fulton, Creative Director at Art Reach, explained further: “Having been key in the process of Portsmouth becoming a City of Sanctuary, working with partners on refugee engagement in Manchester and with our Journeys Festival International being awarded the UK’s first Festival of Sanctuary Award since it began in Leicester, it’s important that we continue discussions around migration at the top of people’s agendas. Dido’s Bar will be an epic experience for audience members with every night being unique and different as these incredible performers take us on a twilight adventure steeped in music, myth and marvellous moments. We’re really looking forward to being part of the national tour and can’t wait to share this experience with people in Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth this October.”

Tickets will be released soon for performances in Leicester, Manchester and Portsmouth.

Director Josephine Burton is an artist and director of over 80 new pieces of award-winning cross art-form work nationally and internationally over the last 18 years.

Playwright and Librettist Hattie Naylor’s UK credits include The Night Watch (Manchester Royal Exchange) and Going Dark with Sound&Fury (Fuel/Young Vic). Ivan and the Dogs (Soho Theatre/ATC) was nominated in the Olivier Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Theatre and won the Tinniswood Award in 2010.

Composer Marouf Majidi is a Persian classical musician and composer, now being based in Finland. He studied Persian Classical music at the Tehran Sureh University in 2000 and Turkish Folk Music in Isparta, Turkey.

Dido’s Bar is produced by Dash Arts with imPOSSIBLE Producing.


Dido’s Bar is co-produced in the UK with the Royal Docks Team, OCM (Oxford Contemporary Music) and Journeys Festival International and co-commissioned by OCM, with additional support from Arts Council England, Backstage Trust, The Foyle Foundation, Projekt, Cockayne – Grants for the Arts, The London Community Foundation, Genesis Foundation, Finnish Institute in the UK and Ireland, The Marchus Trust, TINFO – Theatre Info Finland, Austin and Hope Pilkington, Royal Victoria Hall Foundation, The Leche Trust and individual donors.