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12th November 2023

The Mongol Khan: London Coliseum hosts a Mongolian succession

The Mongol Khan is the first Mongolian play ever presented to a European audience
The Mongol Khan: London Coliseum hosts a Mongolian succession
Photo: The Mongol Khan Press

Greed, deceit, betrayal – an Empire on the brink of collapse. Don’t miss this epic Mongolian spectacle with a haunting original score, dance and puppetry inspired by the nomadic traditions of the steppe.

Mongolia’s leading theatre company comes to the UK for the very first time with a lavish production which explores the evolution of ancient Mongolian culture and features an ensemble of over 70, led by seven multi-award-winning artists.

This spectacular production celebrates 60 years of Anglo-Mongolian relations and cultural exchange. Bordered by China and Russia, Mongolia is one of the world’s best-kept secrets as a travel destination for adventure-fuelled people and lovers of luxury alike. Captivating, rugged expanses, stunningly beautiful landscapes, a vast unspoilt wilderness, extremely welcoming people and nomadic tribes with rich traditions, Mongolia has it all.

The Mongol Khan serves as an introduction to this country and its history to give would-be travellers a taste of the culture and history. It is the first Mongolian play ever presented to a European audience.

The play is set in Mongolia 2000 years ago. A brutal succession battle threatens the very stability of the Empire. As the great Khan struggles to maintain his supremacy, a plot hatches that will forever alter the balance of power.

Based on historical events, the gripping story explores Mongolian culture and history through music, dance, dialogue and puppetry, with elaborate sets and costumes, all inspired by the traditional nomadic culture and traditions of the Hunnic Empire.

The Mongol Khan has all the ingredients of a classic tragedy. Jealousy, mistaken identity, adultery, rivalry, sacrifice, succession and the power struggle. The stability of an Empire is at stake and the story culminates in an epic battle. It’s a multi-sensory feast, the like of which audiences will never have experienced before. The production has taken inspiration from historical events, archaeological findings, traditional nomadic dances, and the music of the ancient Hun culture of Central Asia from the Hunnu Empire period.

Originally called Тамгагүй төр, or Tamgagui tur (The State/Throne without a Seal), it was written by Bavuu Lkhagvasuren, the ‘People’s Writer of Mongolia’. It was recently restaged in Mongolia by director Hero Baatar.

It has been renamed for the London run, with an English adaptation by Timberlake Wertenbaker and an English translation by John Man. There had been an English-language performance in Mongolia, and originally 30% of the English production’s performances were going to be performed in English, but instead, they are all being performed in Mongolian with English subtitles.

Hero Baatar said, “It’s fascinating to learn about the historical influence of drama in Mongolian culture and the notable figure of Danzanravjaa who created theatrical dramas in the 19th century in Mongolia. The tradition of families singing epics in the evenings also highlights the rich theatrical culture in Mongolia.

“Indeed, presenting a Mongolian drama in England, the birthplace of William Shakespeare, can be seen as a significant historical event and a unique cultural exchange. The fact that this event is only a month away is incredibly exciting, and it’s an opportunity to bridge cultural gaps and share the beauty of Mongolian theatre with an international audience.

I”t’s a testament to the power of theatre and storytelling to transcend borders and bring people from different cultures together. I hope this play leaves a lasting impression on all those who have the chance to experience it.”

The Mongol Khan runs at the London Coliseum from November 17 to December 2 2023.

Jay Darcy

Jay Darcy

Theatre Editor. Instagram & Twitter: @jaydarcy7. Email: [email protected].

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