Vinland is inspired by the Viking sagas of Erik the Red and his family. Young audiences will set sail with Freydis and her son Snorri on a Viking adventure that’s fun for all the family. They will join her crew of explorers as they find out they’re not alone in this strange new land and follow Snorri as he confronts an ancient spirit set on revenge, while learning the truth about himself. We spoke to Jack Dean, the founder of Jack Dean & Company, about what inspired him to write this story where Viking myth and history collide.
Can you tell us what your show Vinland is about?
It’s a part-historical, part-fantastical story about the last Viking expedition into North America, where ancient curses and mystical monsters pursue an unlucky group of settlers as they try and make it through the winter, and one plucky boy who finds a cunning solution to their problem.
What inspired you to write Vinland?
I was shocked when I found out a few years ago that the Vikings were the first Europeans to sail to North America, about five hundred years before Christopher Columbus. Reading the two main accounts of the expeditions, the Saga of Erik the Red and the Saga of the Greenlanders, I was struck by how historical account was blended with what we would call the paranormal: eerie doppelgangers, demonic possessions, and massive sea-beasts. For the Vikings, these two worlds were inseparable: monsters and witches were as real as kings and battles. I wanted to bring that to life with the show.
What will kids enjoy about the show?
Same thing as adults: there’s lots of cool animations, cartoony violence, raucous live music and a spooky, epic story.
Who’s your favourite character that you’ve created?
There’s a bit part character called Kolli the Cowherd, who, in contrast to the rest of the adventurers and warriors in the expedition, is outstandingly boring and mundane and just wants to do agriculture in peace. I have a secret soft spot for him. Not so secret now I guess.
What’s the best thing you’ve learned researching the show?
There’s one historian who theorised that the first conflict between native americans and the vikings happened because of indigestion from some dodgy cheese.
What’s next for Jack Dean & Company?
We’re touring another historical show in May. Dates for that will go out soon. Keep an eye on our website or socials for that. We’re also making a weekly podcast called Fogland Lighthouse that’s also chock full of historical stories.
Vinland is starting its tour on Friday 18th February at artsdepot in London before heading to Cornwall and Devon 20th February – 29th March at various venues. For tickets please visit the website