“The idea for The End Of History was sparked by an invitation from the rector of St Giles-in-the-Fields, Alan Carr. He asked me to create a piece of theatre in the church which not only spoke of its past but also, as importantly, its present.
“Eclipsed by the nearby Google offices and close to the Crossrail development, St Giles feels very much at a junction in its own history. Once the centre of a busy high street, it feels a little stranded. It has a strange ability to recede from view. Set slightly back from the road, it’s easy to miss despite its imposing and handsome Georgian façade. But perhaps because of this it feels incredibly tranquil. The church is a still point in a non-stop city. It’s also a great source of inspiration for us as a company.
“High Hearted Theatre specialise in making site-responsive shows. We’ve made work on beaches in Brighton and the streets of Southwark, as well as backstage at Liverpool Playhouse. We make work that’s inspired by the history of different places and communities.
“As well as drawing from social history, The End Of History is also inspired by the atmosphere of the church’s location and the political moment in which we currently find ourselves.
“We started developing the show just after the 2015 general election. This was a time when it felt like politics was becoming increasingly polarised and tribal. Dividing lines were everywhere, between classes and between generations, as well as genders.
“Coming to a place like St Giles in Soho, which was famously working-class but is now being redeveloped for corporations and high-end residential real estate, we felt it apt to not only try and bottle that sense of division but also to interrogate it.
“The piece isn’t about regeneration, as much as it’s about where we find community when everything is constantly changing. And it’s also about how easy it is to feel isolated and estranged from each other.
“The show imagines a chance encounter between two seemingly opposite types of Londoner on a summer day in St Giles-in-the-Field. It unpacks their perceptions of each other. We hope to create sympathetic, touching and funny portraits of two individuals which speak to a wider political moment and paint a broader picture of the city.
“For the first time, we are working with a sound designer and composer. Edward Lewis, who is also currently working on the sound design for Killer Joe in the West End, will create songs for the production. The decision to use music partly came from a desire to keep challenging ourselves formally as a company. But there was also a mischievous part of us that wanted to create an alternative musical in the West End.
“As a company, we’ve always been interested in making work which recalls the psychogeography of an area. By that I mean shows that place human stories and memories alongside bigger historical or political moments. It makes for emotionally affecting theatre, but it’s also a way of allowing an audience to engage differently with a familiar space.
“By taking theatre outside of theatres, we like to think we can make little pockets of communities with our audiences. We’re delighted that people can finally see this piece, but we’re also excited to introduce people to St Giles and this fascinating corner of London, where history and modernity meet in a very special way.