Royal Opera House to Stream ZooNation’s ‘The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party’

By Chris Ruel

The Royal Opera House continues its #OurHouseToYourHouse program with a screening of ZooNation’s family-friendly “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” on Friday, July 31 at 7:00 p.m. BST.

ZooNation: The Kate Prince Company, a British hip-hop influenced dance company, reimagines Lewis Carroll’s classic tale with a 21st-century twist, zeroing in on perceptions of mental illness and the concept of “normality.”

ZooNation made its ROH debut in 2014 at the Linbury Theatre with the same show produced by The Royal Ballet. In 2016, the production was restaged for the Roundhouse, a versatile space used for live music, circus, cabaret, theater, spoken word, and opera.

“The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” features a cast of body-popping and break-dancing characters with live music composed by Josh Cohen and DJ Walde.

The work tells the story of Ernest, a young psychotherapist starting a new job at the Institute for Extremely Normal Behaviour. The problem is that all the patients are quite far from “normal.” Alice is confused as to what size her body should be; White Rabbit’s OCD is the cause of his perpetual tardiness, and, of course, the Queen of Hearts has anger issues. Ernest soon questions what makes “normal” a desirable state of being. The psychotherapist sheds his “normality,” embracing his own quirks and celebrating with his new friends the things that make us unique as people.

In addition to “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party,” the company will also present a number of other major spectacles.

Beginning on July 26th, The Royal Opera House and The Luna Drive In Cinema team up to broadcast four Royal Opera House favorites at iconic venues around the country. “La bohème,” “La traviata,” and The Royal Ballet’s performances of “Swan Lake” and “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” will be shown at outdoor locations including Blenheim Palace, Warwick Castle, Allianz Park, Knebworth House, Tatton Park, and Harewood House.

The company will also continue streaming on-demand performances of ROH productions of Szymanowski’s “King Roger” (2015); Dvořák’s “Rusalka” (2012); Tchaikovsky’s “Eugene Onegin” (2013); Wagner’s “Tristan und Isolde” (2014); Strauss’ “Elektra” (2013); and Rossini’s “Il barbiere di Seviglia” (2016).

Finally, on BBC iPlayer, BBC Four is currently screening “Royal Opera House: The Reopening” a 90-minute program that features Anita Rani, Katie Derham, and Antonio Pappano introducing three “Live from Covent Garden” concerts. Classic opera arias and songs by Gerald Finley, Louise Alder, Toby Spence, David Butt Philip, Sarah Connolly, and the Royal Opera House’s Jette Parker Young Artists, alongside musicians from the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House.