World premiere of SONG OF THE SEAGULL heads to The Menier Gallery


As Russia’s “brightest young stars” gather on the banks of the Volga one sultry summer’s evening in 1886, the death of a seagull changes all of their lives forever.

Young Anton Pavlovich Chekhov, surrounded by Bohemian artists, writers and musicians, is lured away from the medical profession and begins to take his writing seriously. But his involvement with a young gypsy singer, and his relationship with landscape artist Isaac Levitan lead to a life-changing painting excursion to the Volga. Tragedy and disillusion inevitably follow the young, impetuous passion.

Based on real events and real characters, the fictional musical drama Song of the Seagull, adapted and directed by Linnie Reedman, with original music by Joe Evans, will get its world premiere in a new site specific production at The Menier Gallery (adjacent to and in the same building as The Menier Chocolate Factory) from Thursday March 15 - Saturday March 31. It will play out around the art installation in the gallery, an event titled Water From The Moon.

The extraordinary events of that summer will eventually shape Chekov’s  most famous writing - The Seagull. As his friends pull him in different directions, his loyalties are torn. Isaac Levitan, the renowned landscape painter whose letters to and from Chekhov were destroyed at his request, shares Chekhov’s passion for nature and enjoyment of dirty jokes. But he is later dismayed to find himself in one of Chekhov’s stories, and considers this a gross betrayal. Vera Kommisarevskaya -  the first actress to play Nina in The Seagull and mentor of Stanislavski -  is desperate to be immortalised in a play and intermittently tells Chekhov deep secrets about herself; of her grief when her brother Grisha drowned and of her anguished mother wailing in the cherry orchard; her sexual betrayal by her husband which caused her deep hurt; anecdotes which inspire character back stories for The Cherry Orchard and The Seagull. 

Vasily Kalinnikov, a friend of Tchaikovsky and ground breaking composer, provides inspiration for the music of the piece. 

When Isaac shoots a seagull events begin to escalate towards a tragic conclusion.

Tragically, along with Chekhov himself, all of these artists are destined to die young at the height of their fame. But their quest for “immortality” has been realised in their respective achievements.

Adapted and directed by critically acclaimed Young Vic Genesis director, Linnie Reedman, Song of the Seagull remains true to her ethos of exploring dark, intricate relationships through merging new writing with the original concept. Also a classically-trained actress, Reedman has performed nationally in an eclectic range of theatre, and has worked alongside directors such as Alan Rickman (The Winter’s Guest) and Tim Supple (Spring Awakening). Her previous directing credits include Miracle, starring Susannah York and Tim Woodward (set in a crypt), Dorian Gray and Romeo and Juliet, all staged at Leicester Square Theatre. She recently adapted and directed Maupassant’s Bel Ami.

The performance will be accompanied by original music by award winning composer Joe Evans and is performed live, forming and integral part of the script.

Casting to be announced.

Produced by Ruby in the Dust 

Adapted and Directed by Linnie Reedman

Original Music by Joe Evans

Water From The Moon features work from young artists exploring the mediums of collage, paint, feathers, taxidermy, new sculptural works. and video; mostly revolving around the themes of death, loss and memory; creating a personal world where beauty, death and the promise of immortality collide.Some material may shock and disturb.

Listings information

Song of the Seagull
Adapted and Directed by Linnie Reedman
Original Music by Joe Evans

The Menier Gallery
Adjacent to the Menier 
Chocolate Factory
51 Southwark Street
SE1 1RU 
Box Office: 08444 771000

Thursday March 15 - 
Saturday March 31

press night: 
Thursday March 15
at 7.30pm

Thursday - Saturday 
at 7.30pm 

Matinees: Thursday & Saturday
at 3.00pm

Tickets: £15.00