Blodlina: The Viking Musical is a new musical theatre production premiering at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Thrilling sword fights and a pulsating score of folk, heavy metal and musical theatre are key to this powerful story of two sisters fighting for leadership over their late father’s rule. The audience is taken back to 900AD and a tiny Viking community under the threat of a neighbouring dictator.
Blodlina’s creators, Nathan Rees, Marcus Wood and Vicky Clubb were brought together by a love of Vikings, heavy metal and other music, innovative theatre and a passion for authentic and thrilling stage combat. Blodlina’s catalyst was Vicky’s meticulous and painstaking research into the history of female fighters, along with her real-life love of sword-fighting. In fact, she spends her Sundays practising the art, takes part in tournaments, has a collection of weaponry and is one of the few females in the sport. Vicky is also a composer, pianist and teacher, so she is in perfect territory combining her musical background with sword-fighting in this new musical.
Set against the gathering storm clouds of imminent invasion, broken hearts and broken swords, romance and rebellion, Blodina’s story unfolds with deliciously brutal sword fighting under the watchful eyes of two mischievous, interfering teenage Norse gods. Inspired by ancient Viking sagas, Blodlina is a tale of leadership, loss, patriarchy, feudalism and family. It’s about stubbornness and love, rivalry and friendship. A large-scale musical extravaganza, Blodlina is adapted and downsized specifically for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and features a versatile cast of eleven performers/musicians.
In a ground-breaking move, the production is being funded through the issue of a series of Viking Sword NFTs (Non-Fungible Tokens). Associate producers, Graham & Townley Productions, are launching The Viking NFT, a series of 500 beautifully-crafted digital Viking sword artworks created by the acclaimed digital artist Lawrence Mann and based on meticulous historical research, to fund Blodlina. Any success of the production will increase the value of the NFTs and the NFT holders will become patrons of the show and be associated with the it in various ways throughout its developmental journey. They’ll also be offered exclusive benefits only possible through the purchase of a Viking Sword NFT, including exclusive previews, interaction with the creative team, access to additional NFT drops and priority access to associated projects. This whole tie-up will allow the team behind the production to retain ownership of the show.
Theatre funding is in crisis, but sales of NFTs are booming. NFT investors, though, are more than ever before looking for projects with real-world applications and additional benefits. So the producers of the show created the Viking NFT as a brand new model of theatre investment, with the potential to democratise funding and forge a new relationship between theatre and investors.
Says Hilary Townley from Graham & Townley Productions; ‘We know how hard it is for theatre companies producing new work to get funding and we’re always on the lookout for creative and innovative ways to excite people into investing in such projects. NFTs seemed a potentially good fit. More and more NFTs are being used to raise funding for the arts but not yet live theatre. Blodina seems to be the first to be embarking on this form of funding. In addition, we’re offering the experience of rewards for NFT holders and we seem to be ahead of the game in this too. Corporations or high-net individuals (Theatre Angels) are not normally attracted to funding smaller theatre companies, new or riskier projects so NFTs seemed a perfect alternative, given what we know. Who knows where this collaboration could lead – perhaps it could revolutionise the way live performance and theatre is funded at a time when the arts have suffered so much!’