A collaboration with band The Cabinet of Living Cinema and illustrator James Edwards, Theatre of the Wandering West is a graphic novel presented onstage with live klezmer and foley effects. The Arts Council England-funded project is the result of a year of performance and development, and explores Franz Kafka’s encounters with a troupe of Yiddish theatre actors during the monumental period of social change and migration around the turn of the last century.

Working from a script written by The Cabinet’s Kieron Maguire, I worked closely with both he and James to bring a traditionally still medium to life. The illustrations were sequenced and dialogue added in the form of speech bubbles, with rigorous testing to ensure a smooth journey for the audience in a forty-minute show that seamlessly combined illustration with excerpts from Russian animator Ivan Ivanov-Vano’s classic stop-motion film Seasons and Michal Waszinski’s 1937 film The Dybbuk.

Theatre of the Wandering West has since toured extensively with performances at venues including London’s Rich Mix and JW3, Salisbury Arts Centre, Shelley Theatre in Boscombe, and Shambala and Wilderness Festivals.

Written & Directed by Kieron Maguire Animation Tom Brown Illustration James Edwards