Morpheus is an interactive storytelling website. The story is created and told by the students of The Will Adams Centre in their voice, with their art and creations.
It was made remotely during lockdown and premiered as part of Art31‘s BounceBack Festival in June 2021. Morpheus was also showcased as part of Electric Medway – Medway’s digital arts festival – in August 2021.
“It’s different! It was an experience we’d never had before. It has strongly changed our confidence in a way. It’s made us put ourselves out there. It’s like we are stepping into each other’s shoes when we haven’t done it before.”
Will Adams Centre student who took part in Morpheus
It was commissioned by Theatre 31, and directed by Marie Horner and James Baldwin for Dante or Die.
“It has changed our lives for the better as well. If we didn’t do this, I think we would all still be the shy kids we were, not really putting ourselves out there.”
another Will Adams Centre student who took part in the Morpheus project
How to have the best Morpheus experience:
- Morpheus lasts about 30 minutes/half an hour.
- If you want to experience the story several times this may take you longer.
- The videos are subtitled and most have audio.
- Visit the Morpheus website – www.themorpheus.co.uk
- You’ll need an 8 sided dice or you can pick each number at random.
- Each number will let you choose your character, a postcard, a map, or a choice in the story.
- At the end of Morpheus you’ll be able to send a letter to ‘Charlie’ to say what you thought of the story.
Morpheus contains mild expletives and references to fictional traumatic events. May not be suitable for young children under 12.
“It’s built up all of our relationships. It’s brought us all together. Before, we were all friends but we were separate friends. Then we did this Morpheus thing and it has brought us all closer.”
Shane, Will Adams Centre student who took part in Morpheus
Morpheus is an innovative approach to get young people to get involved in theatre, creating characters and developing stories in really unique ways.
We’ve been working with theatre company Dante or Die and the pupils and teachers at The Will Adams Centre in Gillingham on this new project, commissioned as part of Theatre 31.
Sarah Davies, Ideas Test’s Producer;
‘Morpheus really prioritizes young people’s voices, and helps give them a sense of confidence to express ideas and to create amazing things!’.
The students have undertaken tasks that include creating characters, monologues, audio recordings and soundscapes.
“Morpheus is really fun and I have enjoyed creating my character Orla. She is like my little doppelganger that I can take anywhere around the world and do things with”
Daizie Conlon, Year 11
“Makes me use my imagination”
Levi, Year 11
“It is fun and it has helped with my confidence.
I enjoyed the part where we made WhatsApp texts”
Kirsty, Year 11
Dante or Die are renowned in the UK and abroad for their exciting site-specific and immersive theatre pieces.
We worked with them in 2018 to create Take On Me, a play set in the 1980s, performed at Hoo Leisure Centre.
Terry O’Donovan, co-founder of Dante or Die, said;
“Working on this project has been a real highlight over the last couple of months. Seeing how the students have been creating really unique characters and stories has been an absolute inspiration. Their creations are constantly reminding us about the power and importance of performance and storytelling to create connections and get people thinking.”
We were commissioned by Theatre31, which is managed by Icon Theatre, to create and run Morpheus with Dante or Die and The Will Adams Centre. Morpheus is led by Dante or Die artists, James Baldwin and Marie Horner.
Tammy Rodden, Art and Design Teacher, The Will Adams Centre.
“The initial tasks set by James and Marie [from Dante or Die] have ranged from being hilarious to thought-provoking. As they have begun building each of their characters and their personalities, it has been a joy to see the students exploring different thoughts, feelings and emotions which they may not always get the opportunity to do in this current climate.”
Morpheus marks one of the range of projects that Theatre31, which is funded by Arts Council England and overseen by Medway Council with project delivery is managed by Icon Theatre.
Project partners include Royal Opera House Bridge and Medway and Sheppey Local Cultural Education Partnerships
Morpheus School Case Study
Find out more about Morpheus in this case study by Theatre31: Theatre31 – Morpheus – case study.pdf (2mb)
Theatre for young people, by young people
Theatre31 is an exciting new programme, inspiring young people to be involved in theatre and putting them directly in the driving seat. Taking place across Medway and Sheppey, this youth-led programme supports young people make decisions and call the shots on everything that happens – from deciding which artists to work with to designing the logo.
All the activities are free to access and there are many opportunities for young people to get involved!
Theatre31 is managed by Icon Theatre, based at the Brook Theatre in Chatham, who have been co-creating original performances with communities and young people since 2002. Funded by Arts Council England, Theatre31 is supported by Medway Council.
Theatre31 is an arts programme with no walls, which means all activities can be flexibly and quickly adapted to enable safe and creative delivery in a Covid world.
In 2019/20, Ideas Test and Icon Theatre set up two youth panels, one on the Isle of Sheppey (Ideas Test) and one in Medway (Icon Theatre).
The youth panels were run by young people, for young people.
This meant that they had a direct say in shaping and influencing the Theatre31 programme.
About Dante or Die
“One of the things I love about the work made by Dante or Die is that every project is so different, so surprising and that’s rare.”
– Lyn Gardner
Dante or Die makes bold and ambitious site-specific performances that tour across the UK and internationally. Their productions gently transform ordinary spaces to create unique and intimate theatrical experiences.
Led by co-founders Daphna Attias and Terry O’Donovan, their original productions and engagement projects interrogate and celebrate contemporary human stories that take place in everyday spaces – from hotel rooms to swimming pools to cafés. Over recent years they have been experimenting with digital storytelling, including celebrated video podcast User Not Found in partnership with The Guardian.
An independent arts charity, they regularly collaborate with leading arts venues across the UK and internationally including Traverse Theatre, The Lowry and BAM New York alongside grassroots organisations in the localities in which they make work. Dante or Die are SITELINES Associate Artists at South Street Reading, which champions performances in unusual spaces.