Encounters Unknown

is our programme of creative work during the COVID-19 crisis 2020.

We can't be together in the studio, but we can stay connected, creative and (importantly in this uncertain world) gainfully employed.

This is what we're doing...

Thoughts from a deserted theatre, by our Artistic Director Paul Davies.

We’ve enlisted the help of some brilliant actors to keep ideas, improvisation and inspiration pinging around the virtual studio, in a format designed for theatre and drama students (and anyone else who wants to) to join in and get creating some encounters as yet unknown. Director Paul Davies will set a weekly challenge based on a passage of text or other stimulus, experienced devising performers such as Mairi Phillips, Neal McWilliams, Christopher Elson and Rebecca Smith-Williams will self-tape a short (up to 2-minute) response to the challenge, and then the floor is open. Play just to challenge yourself, or send us your responses. Be silly, be serious, be spontaneous, be fearless, be imaginative – be there! Challenge released Mondays, here and on Volcano’s social media channels.

THE MIGHTY NEW is our regular group of young people aged 9-14, who meet every week to create brand new theatre and dance of their own making. We were lucky enough to be able to get going for the season before total shutdown, so we have a fantastic new group fizzing with energy and ideas. Whilst children thankfully seem to be resilient towards the virus itself, they are clearly very alert to the sudden changes in our lives and in the atmosphere, and it seems to us that there is an opportunity to unleash their curiosity, imagination and honesty in such a way that can we can all learn from it. For our first session the situation itself became the subject. We moved the class outdoors and the children responded to a five-part social distancing challenge which we’ve called ‘You Can See Us’. Post-lockdown, we have built a special website where the group will set tasks, share ideas, try out their moves and give each other comments and feedback. This is not visible to the general public, as it aims to replicate the space of the rehearsal room where all ideas can be tested and explored without fear. However, we’ll be sharing the work made the young people when they’ve had a chance to figure out for themselves what works and what they want to put out there…

VOLCANO YOUTH COMPANY were also just beginning a new season when lockdown kicked in. Director Paul Davies has set them a challenge to 'Cindy Sherman' themselves - an exercise in disguise and deceipt, inspired by an artist famous for creating images of herself in the guise of others. More news from this project to follow.


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