Director, performer and theatre-maker Phelim McDermott has directed three of Philip Glass’s operas, including the epic Akhnatenwhich enjoyed a sold-out season at New York’s Metropolitan Opera last year. The production, originally created for the English National Opera in 2016, brings Glass’s hypnotic music to life with a cast of jugglers in a lavish spectacle inspired by the grandeur of the Egyptian pharaoh’s kingdom.

Tao of Glass. Photo © Tristram Kenton

Tao of Glass, a new show created by McDermott and Glass which premiered at the Manchester International Festival in 2019, a co-commission with Perth Festival, is a much more intimate affair – though there is a similar sense of playful whimsy.

The show opens with McDermott shuffling onto a mostly bare stage to share with the audience his love of the theatre – he recalls formative childhood experiences seeing the likes of Laurence Olivier, Helen Mirren, Bob Hoskins and Patricia Routledge – as well as his passion for Glass’s music, which has been “a river through my life.” He recalls, for instance, driving his parents crazy by lying on the floor in the dark listening to the 1982 album Glassworks– on repeat.

McDermott is a warm,...

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