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Volcano building front elevation in black and white, Swansea High Street


As we get ready to open the doors again, Paul Davies takes a moment in our empty Bunker Theatre to revisit the words of Peter Brook and to consider the place of performance in our city and beyond...

"A city needs many spaces for a culture to flourish. These smaller spaces are the earthworks of citizenship and democracy. They are where we learn the language of performance and participation. We can fall in love in these small spaces with all kinds of performances but we are unlikely to fall for a spectacle of obedience and authority. A citizenship armed with the capacity for critical thinking is what a successful democratic city needs. Whether it is at Volcano or at Clwyd, in Cardiff or Formentera, in Berlin or Brazil there are spaces that are zinging with the memories of past performances and dynamic, critical futures. They come into my mind and I look forward to returning to them."

Watch the new video here, and download the piece as a pdf in Welsh or English.

Detail of the paintin 'Future?' by Alison Lochhead


New Paintings by Alison Lochhead
27 July - 04 September

We're delighted to be OPENING THE GALLERY for the first time after lockdown with a brand new exhibition from Alison Lochhead! It's her third show at Volcano and the first to feature paintings exclusively (visit her website for a glimpse of her sculpture and other work). What's Happening will feature work which she has been doing over the past four months. The paintings are about refugees, war, conflicts, bombed libraries and threatened identities.

The exhibition will be open weekdays 10am to 4pm. Please note that social distancing and other Covid-19 safety measures are in place for the exhibition - there is no need to book but please take a moment to read the information on the website before travelling to visit!

Close-up of 'Missing Live Theatre' ribbon installation under the Volcano canopy. Buildings opposite seen in distance.

Are you #MissingLiveTheatre? You are not alone. Earlier this week we joined the #SceneChange campaign, an initiative by a community of designers to highlight and celebrate the role of theatres of all shapes and sizes across the UK as places for creativity, productivity and conviviality in their communities. The campaign responded to the sadness around closed buildings, abandoned stages and threatened livelihoods by 'wrapping them in a message of hope' and reminding us that while the impact on so many theatres is real and in some cases devastating, the people who bring them to life are still here, and live performance is coming back. The challenge is to come back better, in the perpetually unfinished business of making fresh and beautiful sense of what we have been through.

We teamed up with Swansea-based artist Philip Cheater for our installation. You can check it out, along with those of our friends and colleagues at Theatr Clywd, Sherman and other theatres across the UK, at SceneChange on Instagram. For more info about the campaign, see here.
A still from Volcano's 2019 production Hamletmachine, showing Ophelia waiting in an illuminated red doorway. Passer-by in foreground.

We're taking shameful advantage of the indeterminate promise in the famous Welsh formulation, but we are beating a path towards real live post-lockdown performance in our High Street venue. Expect more news soon. In the meantime, did you know that you can now watch all the videos from NOTES FROM THE INTERIOR on our Vimeo channel, and can download the whole series of performance tasks as a pdf? Thanks again to the brilliant actors who kept meeting our sometimes absurd provocations with such humour, honesty and originality: Christopher Elson; Neal McWilliams; Mairi Phillips; Rebecca Smith-Willams and Manon Wilkinson.

If you can't get enough of these glimpses into Volcano methodology, you might be interested in having a look at the MOOCs we made for the Erasmus+ project POLART CIRCLE. We look at devising for performance (#5), performing in a minority language (#12) and performing politics without talking politics (#17). Or give yourself a break from us talking about anything, and check out some of the MOOCs by our project partners from across Europe - including ODC Ensemble from Greece, the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre,
La Transplanisphère from France and ExQuorum from Portugal.

THE MIGHTY NEW, Volcano's youngest wing, have kept one another busy over lockdown with all sorts of tasks, games and challenges. Every now and again they share some of the fun with a short video where they throw shapes to inspirational tracks or tricky challenges from their living rooms, gardens, staircases or the road outside. Check out their videos on the Vimeo showcase.
Mark Thomas leaning in to camera, wearing glasses.

We'll be presenting another livestream from the brilliant MARK THOMAS this month. It'll be the fourth in the series, which Mark is presenting in collaboration with a network of regional venues. Tickets are a fiver, and a portion of the ticket sales goes to the partner venues. Featuring live intros and a Q&A afterwards, these are a great evening in, and buying a ticket supports Mark's work, your local venue, and often a partner charity or campaign organisation as well. It's all good! More on the August edition soon!
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