Akram Khan's Jungle Book retold as climate change stage show

By Elise Chamberlain & Jennifer Harby
BBC News

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Image caption,
Akram Khan said he had loved the story since he was a child

A new stage version of the Jungle Book, which has climate change at its heart, is set to premiere.

Jungle Book: Reimagined, directed by the new chancellor of De Montfort University Akram Khan, reinvents the story of Mowgli through the eyes of a climate refugee.

A dancer and choreographer, Mr Khan created part of the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony.

The show will run at Leicester's Curve Theatre from 2 to 9 April.

'Daunting'

The production shows a family torn apart as they escape a homeland ravaged by climate change, where wild animals have claimed deserted city streets as their own.

Mr Khan said: "I wanted to relook at Jungle Book because of the relationship between humans and animals - humans and nature.

"It's a really daunting task to reimagine anything that is a classic.

"First of all, you have to have a huge amount of love for it as a classic but, at the same time, it's important to re-evaluate what your relationship with that classic is."

Image source, Curve
Image caption,
The production depicts a family torn apart by climate change

He said the Disney version of the story was just one retelling of the book Rudyard Kipling wrote.

Mr Khan said he had loved the story since childhood.

"I was in it at the age of 10 - we did an Indian classical dance drama version of it - and I played Mowgli then. I loved the narrative of the story - a child and animals," he said.

"Then when my daughter was born, nine years ago, she was drawn to anything to do with animation of animals."

Image source, Curve Theatre
Image caption,
Mr Khan said it was daunting to reimagine a classic

During his career, Mr Khan has collaborated with numerous artists, from actress Juliette Binoche and singer Kylie Minogue to rock band Florence + the Machine and artists Sir Anish Kapoor and Sir Antony Gormley.

He was appointed MBE for his services to dance in 2005.

Earlier this year, he was announced as the new chancellor of De Montfort University.

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