A live version of Derek Jarman's film Blue, entitled Blue Now, is set to play single evenings at Brighton’s Theatre Royal during the Brighton Festival, Margate's Turner Contemporary, Manchester's HOME, and London's Tate Modern. The four performances, presented by WeTransfer in association with Fuel and Basilisk Communications, will be held May 7 in Brighton, May 13 in Margate, May 21 in Manchester, and May 27 in London.
Bringing the documentary about the late Jarman's battle with HIV to the stage will be Russell Tovey (Years and Years, The History Boys, Angels in America), Travis Alabanza (Sound of the Underground, Burgerz, Overflow), Jay Bernard (Surge: Side A, Poet Slash Artist, Joint), and poet and spoken word performer Joelle Taylor (C+nto and othered poems).
Neil Bartlett will direct the performances, which will also feature live music accompaniment by the film's composer, Simon Fisher Turner. The live rendition of the film will explore Blue's message of compassion and dignity as it reflects on the past 30 years of contributions from the LGBTQIA+ community and how generations have dealt with the collective trauma of the AIDS epidemic.
Director Bartlett shared in a statement, “I was lucky enough to know Derek Jarman. He was—and is—an inspiration, not just to me but to people around the world.”
“Derek Jarman is my hero, and I feel the power of his work more so than ever today. Blue Now will be a gift from Derek, to us, and I cannot wait for it to happen,” added Tovey.
The film celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. It was completed only months before Jarman died in May 1993 and features fragments from the filmmaker's diary narrated over a single static shot of the color blue. As it gives voice to Jarman's experiences, the film also gives voice to the anger and loss of an entire generation.
Produced by Fuel, Blue Now will also have a digital iteration, which will appear on the arts platform WePresent.