Outwitting the Devil

Akram Khan Company

World Premiere 13.7.2019, COLOURS International Dance Festival, Stuttgart

Choreographer Akram Khan has conducted extensive research on old myths and interprets them from a contemporary perspective. In “Outwitting the Devil”, he once again explores traditional customs, creating an epic work on ritual and memory.

Outwitting the Devil

Outwitting the Devil. Video Trailer

© Akram Khan Company

  • 1 h 20 min, without interval

Advance ticket sales are expected to start in February 2021.

The piece “Outwitting the Devil”, by choreographer Akram Khan, was inspired by a newly discovered fragment of the Babylonian epos of Gilgamesh, one of the earliest surviving pieces of world literature. It describes a violent chapter in the life of young Gilgamesh, read and recalled by his older, dying self. The story focuses on Gilgamesh’s domestication by the wild man Enkidu and their friendship, their journey to the forest of giant cedars, the home of wild creatures and spirits, and the slaughter of Humbaba, its keeper. Confronted with the truth and the suffering of mortality, Gilgamesh turns into a figure of history, and becomes another narrative fragment among the broken remains of human culture and memory.

In a landscape of fragmented clay tablets and fallen idols, six dancers set out to follow Gilgamesh’s traces in the form of gods, human beings and animals. They exchange their remaining possessions and their stories in order to reunify the fragments of long lost knowledge.


Artistic Direction / Choreography Akram Khan
Dramaturgy Ruth Little
Lighting Design Aideen Malone
Visual Design Tom Scutt
Original Music Score and Sound Design Vincenzo Lamagna
Costume Design Kimie Nakano
Text Jordan Tannahill
Rehearsal Director and Coach Mavin Khoo
Material devised and performed by Ching-Ying Chien, Jasper Narvaez, Dominique Petit, Mythili Prakash, Sam Asa Pratt, James Vu Anh Pham
Executive Producer Farooq Chaudhry
Technical Management Tina Fagan
Production Management Rich Fagan
Stage Management Lars Davidson
Lighting Engineering Stéphane Déjours
Sound Engineering Phil Wood
Project / Tour Management Mashitah Omar
LED Light Tube manufactured and supplied by Light Contrast Ltd

Co-produced by Théâtre de Namur, CENTRAL – Centre Culturel de La Louvière, Festival d’Avignon, Théâtre de la Ville, Paris, Sadler’s Wells, London, La Comédie de Clermont-Ferrand, COLOURS International Dance Festival 2019, Stuttgart
Supported by Arts Council England

Produced during residency at CENTRAL – Centre Culturel de La Louvière, Théâtre de Namur and Festival d’Avignon. Akram Khan is an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells and Mountview in London and Curve Leicester.

Special thanks to Alistair Spalding, Vincent Thirion and Mélanie Dumoulin, Patrick Colpé, Meinrad Huber and Éric Gauthier, Olivier Py and Agnès Troly, and the teams at Sadler’s Wells, CENTRAL – Centre Culturel de La Louvière, Théâtre de Namur, COLOURS International Dance Festival Stuttgart and Festival d’Avignon, Tamas Detrich and the team at Stuttgart Ballet, Mr. & Mrs. Khan, Yuko Khan, Aharya Dresses for Mythili Prakash’s costume and all the collaborators and technicians who have worked on the project.

The Berlin performance is made possible by Inga Maren Otto.

Logo Inga Maren Otto