The White Whale by James Phillips

4-14th September 2014 8.30pm: Leeds Dock, by the Royal Armouries, LS10 1LT

Slung Low’s new version of Melville’s Moby Dick. You are given a set of headphones. When you put them on you can hear all the actors like they’re whispering in your ear. There’s music too, a soundtrack. You take your place by the side of the canal and get ready to watch the action. It’s not just a play, it’s an adventure: and it’s happening right in front of you. Live.

You remember when we started to hunt whales again?
We fought monsters and we killed them and wrestled the oil from their dead bodies and we sold it.

In the future we hunt whales for the oil in their bodies. Just like they did in centuries past. The oil of a single whale can run an army for a week. This is new science. This is our future.  So we send gangs of men out onto the dark, cold sea to bring back the things we need.

The crew of the Pequod are going to sea because it’s their job.  But Ahab, captain of the Pequod, is not going to sea for the oil or for the money. Ahab is going for revenge. Revenge on the vast whale that took him down into the black depths of the ocean. Revenge on the greatest whale in all the oceans: a perfectly white whale.  And Ishmael, a young man new to whaling, he’s going to sea seeking a hunter’s violence.

And we are all going with them.

Mayday mayday mayday.. This is HMS Montrose Search and Rescue on channel 19… Survivor in the water, survivor in the water, rescue swimmer standby


The White Whale by James Phillips. Made by Slung Low. Designed by David Farley. Engineering by Pete Gunson. Music by Heather Fenoughty. Movement by Lucy Hind. Sound by Matt Angove. Lighting by Ric Mountjoy.

Commissioned by Leeds Inspired. Developed in association with Opera North Projects.


Cast and Crew biographies can be found here


A review of the White Whale from the Guardian can be found here


A review from Exeunt Magazine  can be found here


Production shots can be viewed here


Rehearsal shots can be viewed here