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Signal Fires

Written by
Kiki Katese, Alice Oswald, Hema Palani, Will Power, Kim Scott, Sara Sharaawi
Rehearsal Director
Adura Onashile
28 Oct - 7 Nov 2020

Signal Fire (n): a fire or light set up in a prominent position as a warning, signal, or celebration.


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

Co-Produced by Fuel and Coombe Farm Studios and Eden Court Highlands in collaboration with The Woodland Presents Signal Fires.

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.


Other Fuel locations

Eden Court, Highlands

Monday 2 November – by phone

Inverness, Scotland

Monday 2 November – Saturday 7 November – by phone

Dartington Hall Estate

The performance site was The Glade, The Woodland Presents, situated in North Woods, on the edge of the Dartington Hall Estate, South Devon. To be specific it is in Personage Copse, sandwiched between the back of Woodland Yard and the back of the Old Postern at Schumacher College. The car park is located down the lane in-between Schumacher College and Dartington Dairy. The closest village is Dartington, the closest town is Totnes.

See map here.


Age Appropriateness

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.