Moby Dick on the Newport Transporter Bridge

Since dropping an unintentionally cryptic message online a few months back we’ve been dying to put something out into the ether and let you all know about a huge project we’ve got coming up this Oct. Those who are on the mailing list, and some other more eager eyed, astute on-liners might have a clue as to what I’m talking about here, but instead of code and guesswork we thought we’d finally announce whus going on.

So here goes…

Tin Shed Theatre Co. in partnership with First Campus, funded by Arts Council Wales and Heritage Lottery, with support from Gwent Living Levels, Newport Live, Newport City Council and The Riverfront, will be staging an interpretation of Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, on the floating platform of the Newport Transporter Bridge for 12 nights this October, with our four Access Nights being on the 11, 12, 13 & 14 of October.

This performance is the culmination of over 4 years of work, in and out of Pillgwenlly and other locations within Newport, and recently the work has become about bringing together a creative team of professionals and non-professionals (mainly based in Newport), to finally see this work coming to fruition.

By creating this work on the Transporter Bridge we want to highlight an iconic part of Newport’s heritage, momentarily repurposing it as a floating theatre that has the power to bring people together and share an experience. Built as a mode of transport for the steelworkers and dockworkers of Pillgwenlly, the bridge notionally belongs to Pill, and as such we wanted to root ourselves here and place the people in this community at the forefront of what we’re doing. Inspired by the thoughts and ideas of the late but so amazingly GREAT Lynette Webbe, we have not only created performance roles for local people, but have a whole host of paid skill sharing roles in Production, Design, Tech and Management, linking non-professionals with established professionals so that we may inspire the makers and doers of the future.

We’re also really excited to say that for the first time ever we have managed to realise a long held ambition to create a piece of work that is completely FREE for audiences who need it to be. There will be no ticket cost to come and see this work, just an agreement between you and us that you’ll actually show up! Removing this obvious access barrier has always been something we’ve wanted to do and to be able to do it here with our biggest piece of work to date feels amazing.

However, just because we have a local focus doesn’t mean we don’t want to bring audiences from far and wide to Newport to celebrate this city with us! So no matter where you’re from, if this work sounds good to you, get along and share it with us. We have 70 people a night able to clamber onto the gondola, and we hope to create a vibrant pocket of activity and adventure once a night for twelve nights in October.

Our version of Moby Dick looks at finding links between the original novel and the history of the steel workers and dockworkers here in Pill. These hardworking working class men sent out to toil in hazardous forms of employment in order to make ends meet, to live, prosper and survive. It explores what happens when these invaluable forms of security and prosperity disappear, and it seeks to use a classical text as the conduit for a modern story about male mental health, isolation and masculine crisis in places like Newport and Pill.

Phew. That’s it. Almost. I think. Most of what we want to tell you about right now anyway. As a company ran by two people, this is a lot of stuff, and as such we have managed to recruit an AMAZING TEAM of creative, passionate, thoughtful, talented and hard working individuals who are absolutely vital in making this project a success, as well as these there is a core group of community members who have formed a company called The Public Theatre, and they yet to cease amazing us with there passion and commitment for this work. So first and foremost, we wanna thank all of these people right here, whilst letting you know WE’VE STILL GOT ROLES AVAILABLE! Check out our social medias and our website for more info!

Now we’re almost in full swing of the work, and with only 5 weeks to go before show time, we’ll be releasing more info on a daily basis, so we invite you to join our mailing list (by emailing mobydicktst@gmx.com with the subject heading Mailing List) and keep an eye on our social medias, so as you can watch the work grow before coming to take your seat and float off over the river Usk us with us.


Tin Shed Theatre Co.