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.