12 Dancers / Deliberance is dance piece based on Twelve Angry Men

Choreographer Andy Howitt, composer Stephen Deazley and young dance talent

Twelve men, one room, two possible outcomes. In 1957, Henry Fonda delivered a stunning performance as a man determined to make his fellow jury members think twice about their guilty verdict.

Over 50 years later, choreographer Andy Howitt and composer Stephen Deazley saw the potential of adapting Twelve Angry Men into a piece of dance. ‘Both Stephen and I loved the film,’ says Howitt. ‘The look of it, the fact that it has big themes like guilty and not guilty, the father/son relationship – all of that appealed to us.’

Originally based on a play by Reginald Rose, the film is a powerhouse of taut emotion, all of which Howitt has tried to inject into his choreography and Deazley into his music, which will be performed live.

‘We’ve attempted to get across the difficulties of making a decision that affects another person’s life,’ explains Howitt. ‘How every member of a jury will bring their own history and relationships to that kind of decision-making, and how difficult it is to stand by your convictions in the face of opposition.’

For 12 Dancers / Deliberance, Howitt has recruited some of Scotland’s finest male dance talent, aged between 27-65. Member of the ‘jury’ include hip hop dancers Daniel Aing, Tony Mills and Allan Irvine, and stalwarts of the contemporary dance scene Matthew Hawkins, Norman Douglas and Ian Spink.

‘I wrote down a wish list of people who inspired me, I had worked with in the past or would like to work with,’ says Howitt. ‘I wanted all the artists to be Scottish or living or working in Scotland, and to have a real mix of ages to reflect the natural mix of a jury. But above all I wanted 12 great performers, and we’ve certainly achieved that.’

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 21 Nov

Join our newsletter