Born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother against a backdrop of sectarian violence, Inua Ellams left Nigeria for England in 1996 aged 12, moved to Ireland for three years, before returning to London. An award-winning poet, performer, playwright, graphic artist, and designer, Inua returns to the theme of migration in his work, exploring his own life experiences and wider global and political questions. Borders & Crossings is an opportunity to get to know Inua and hear some of his poetic and dramatic work on this theme, live and online from London.
Inua Ellams started performing in cafes in 2003 and has since worked in venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House, Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and Glastonbury Music Festival. He is the recipient of an Edinburgh Fringe First Artist Award for his autobiographical winning play The 14th Tale. He has also undertaken several commissions, including those for Louis Vuitton and Soho Theatre. Following two sell-out runs at the National Theatre and a world tour, his play Barber Shop Chronicles (A Fuel, National Theatre, and Leeds Playhouse co-production) also ran at the Roundhouse in 2019. His adaptation of Three Sisters was co-produced by the National Theatre and Fuel in 2019-2020.
To kick off 2021 we are very excited to be showcasing Borders & Crossings as part of Under The Radar, the NYC based Public Theater’s annual festival celebrating new theatre and performance.
For the first time in its history, the festival is taking place online and for free from 6-17 January. For more information, and to book your free ticket for Borders & Crossings, click here.
The performances of Borders & Crossings are supported by Arts Council England, working in partnership with Manchester International Festival to support England based artists to appear at Under the Radar.
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THIRST TRAP is a sound and instruction-led theatre experience, delivered to your home by bicycle, for you to experience in your own bath, in your own time.
This is a new project commissioned by Fuel, with the support of Help Musicians, the Sura Medura Residency, and LIFT. A collaboration between Rachael Young, composer Alicia Jane Turner, dramaturg Season Butler, and a cohort of researchers and real people who are affected by climate change in 2020.
Part-narrative and part-meditation, THIRST TRAP is a 30 min sound piece for audiences to listen to in the bath along with an experience pack of resources to change their physical environment, connecting closely with their personal environment and relationship with their bodies.
THIRST TRAP delves into our fear surrounding the possible outcomes of rising temperatures and our feelings of powerlessness against a capitalist government that continually fail to act quickly enough on matters concerning the climate. Rachael is exploring our relationship to water, its peaceful and calming property, and its ability to destroy and wipe out and draw parallels with man’s ability to do the same.
1x hour on your own time
1x bath towel
1x sound device (ideally this would be a phone, an iPad, or tablet)
Wifi to connect to a digital audience file
1x cup of water (optional depends on your thirst levels)
You can experience the London premiere of THIRST TRAP by booking a delivery date that corresponds with your home address.
On the day of the delivery, you will receive a small package from a cyclist as well as a link to a digital audio file. You will have 2 weeks to access the digital audio file – the rest is yours to keep.
Writer and Creator: Rachael Young
Sound Designer: Alicia Jane Turner
Designer: Rosie Elnile
Dramaturg: Season Butler
Narrator: Doña Croll
Climate Justice Consultant: Suzanne Dhaliwal
Access Assistant: Kaleya Baxe
Animation and Artwork: Nick Cobby
The Body Remembers is a solo performance that uses movement, projection, and a series of audio testimonies created and performed by Heather Agyepong, co-created by Imogen Knight (movement) and Gail Babb (dramaturgy).
The technique of Authentic Movement has allowed Heather to process what her body has been trying to communicate for years and most importantly brought gentle attention to the self. Authentic Movement consists of the mover and the witness. The mover without restriction, through impulse, reclaims space. The witness observes, reflects, and notes what is happening in their own bodies.
The Body Remembers creates a space for audience and artist to attend to themselves and each other through authentic movement, testimonies from 20 Black women living in the UK, soundscapes, and projections. The piece focuses on the six parts of her body that speak the loudest; head, throat, heart, stomach, womb, and hands.
Solo performance for a socially distanced audience in a theatre in Bristol / London.
The Body Remembers is produced by Fuel, with support from Arts Council England, Wellcome Trust, and the Jerwood New Work Fund.
In the week of the 26 October, fires lit up across the UK with storytellers and audiences sharing in one of the original forms of theatre. From spectacular bonfires to digital blazes; the nation’s leading touring theatre companies presented a series of theatrical events at locations across the UK in celebration of our fundamental need to tell stories.
Other companies involved in Signal Fires: 45North, Actors Touring Company, ALP Musical, balletLORENT, Beyond Face, Big Telly, Boundless, Diverse City and Extraordinary Bodies, Eastern Angles, English Touring Theatre, fEAST, Fio in association with Tara Arts, Fen in association with Out of Joint, Fuel, Graeae, Headlong, High Tide, Highly Suspect, Kestrel Theatre Company, Kneehigh, Luxi in association with Hannah Bruce & Co, and Northern Rail, Middle Child, National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, National Youth Theatre of Wales, New Perspectives, Pentabus, Pilot, Paines Plough, Potential Difference, Proteus, SBC Theatre, Scottish International Storytelling Festival, Slung Low, Spare Tyre, The Wardrobe Ensemble, This is My Theatre, Told by an Idiot, Wildcard and Yellow Earth Theatre.
The touring organisations listed above worked with hundreds of UK freelancers. Each fire spanned different disciplines which reflected the breadth and diversity of the touring circuit. All fires were presented outdoors in front of socially distanced live audiences, or digitally for those who were shielding or unable to travel.
Fuel’s Signal Fires project reached audiences in South Devon and in the Highlands. From 28-30 October, audiences heard stories from around the world, around campfires in the beautiful woods at Dartington. Performed by actors around socially distanced fires, audiences were taken on a journey around the world from the safety and warmth of a blanket and a hot drink. From 2-7 November, audiences in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, where live outdoor performances were not permitted under Covid-19 guidelines, heard stories told to them over the phone, live and in person.
Fuel commissioned international and local writers, Devon’s own Alice Oswald alongside Kim Scott from Australia, Kiki Katese from Rwanda, and Will Power from the USA – to respond to the duality of fire, creating warmth and community as well as danger and destruction, as a symbol for this time.
Monday 2 November – by phone
Monday 2 November – Saturday 7 November – by phone
Signal Fires did not contain overtly adult themes i.e. no direct themes of violence, sex or adult language, however, it was not a family-focused performance.
Ahoy there, land-lubbers and-legend lovers of Hartlepool!
In 2017, Gyre & Gimble and Fuel created a hit stage show based on The Hartlepool Monkey, a legend that has survived the test of time and captured imaginations for over 200 years.
In 2020, we collaborated with people across Hartlepool to explore the myth and mystery (or the facts and history!) of the monkey who came to town.
Curated by Gyre & Gimble and local theatre maker Ruth Mary Johnson, we delivered a programme of analogue and digital community activities exploring myth, identity, and what it means to live in Hartlepool town today.
Community stories, ideas, and imaginations were celebrated during BloomInArt’s Wintertide Festival with a digital parade and a series of original puppetry films created by students at the Northern School of Art.
You can still join in with some monkey mischief as we mark the legacy of The Hartlepool Monkey in today’s modern world, you can share your stories and ideas about the myth through our online survey. Or get creative by making your own monkey puppet by downloading the template with the instructions or watching the film of how to make it on Youtube.
Supported by Arts Council England, Great Place Tees Valley, Hartlepool Town Council, County Durham Community Fund, The Wellcome Trust, The Royal Victoria Hall Foundation, and The Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation.
Great Place Tees Valley is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England and delivered via the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority.
"An earnest and brilliant thing to watch"
"A tale bursting with vibrant comedy and tender tragedy suitable for all ages"
The Kids Are Alright explored the extraordinary grief of losing a child.
When a day trip to the Natural History Museum turns to tragedy, Karen and Keith return home alone. Behind their four walls they attempt to make sense of the unimaginable in ways as unpredictable as the incident itself. But how do you rebuild a family when a whole life has been sucked out of it? Dismantle a dog? Cruise the Algarve? Or fight to the death yourselves?
This film was the third act of The Kids Are Alright under lockdown restrictions. From open performances across council estates in London and Newcastle to adapting the show for both live and digital audiences, The Kids Are Alright was streamed to all in full HD on YouTube.
On what would have been our opening night in Deptford – the last day before the second national lockdown – we ran the show on the Evelyn Estate and filmed in one take. The result intimately captured how, for a single hour, characters and residents co-existed as the performance became part of the place.
Co-created by director & choreographer Jen Malarkey and writer Lee Mattinson.
Co-commissioned by Fuel and The Place. In partnership with The Albany, Lewisham Homes, Camden People’s Theatre, Northern Stage, and Byker Community Trust. The project is funded by Arts Council England, Wellcome Trust, and the Peggy Ramsay Foundation.
The Kids Are Alright were streamed via YouTube on the following dates:
27th November 2020, 9pm – with The Albany and Lewisham Homes
28th November 2020, 9pm – with Camden People’s Theatre
29th November 2020, 3pm – hosted by Fuel
30th November 2020, 8pm – with Northern Stage and Byker Community Trust
1st December 2020, 5pm & 8pm – with Northern Stage and Byker Community Trust
2nd December 2020, 5pm & 8pm – with Northern Stage and Byker Community Trust
"It’s ridiculous, absurd, infuriating and, at points, very, very sad. Which makes it an almost perfect portrayal of an attempt to navigate loss in the aftermath of an utterly unfathomable event. ★★★★ "