Author Archives: cbulford

  1. Exeter Phoenix turns 25 in 2024. Help us celebrate!

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    In 1999 Exeter Phoenix landed: A multi-arts venue dedicated to bringing the best cultural experiences to the people of Exeter and the South-West. For 25 years we have championed the weird and the wonderful, the visionaries and the risk-takers, offering a safe space for our community to be who they want to be.

    During these 25 years we have grown and spread our wings, allowing us to platform thousands of bands, artists and performers. The support from our communities saw us expand our auditorium, build a solar-powered cinema (Studio 74) and make new spaces to create from store cupboards and empty walls. Not content to restrict creativity and growth to our own four walls, we have also reached out across the city, enabling and driving the creation of new cultural spaces, platforms and opportunities.

    Innumerable numbers of creative careers have launched here, their visions released out into the world to fly!

    Throughout 2024, look out for a fantastic range of special events, stories and opportunities marking this milestone. We want to celebrate with all of you - because we wouldn’t be where we are today without you!

    Together, let’s look forward to the years ahead, what would YOU like to see from us next?

    How can you get involved?

    There will be opportunities throughout the year ahead to share your stories and memories and we can’t wait to hear from you!

    This month…

    Tell us about a theatre or dance show that matters to you on our social media via Instagram or Facebook.
    Send us a birthday message. If Exeter Phoenix means something to you, perhaps you would like to share something with us?

    Your birthday message can be:

    - Recorded as a video (portrait please)

    - Captured as a voice message

    - Or written words...

    All birthday wishes can be emailed here or you can submit a message via our form, here.

    Inspiration:

    Not sure what to say? Take inspiration from these ideas.

    “Happy Birthday Exeter Phoenix. Here’s to another great 25 years.”

    “Happy Birthday Exeter Phoenix, the place I enjoyed…/ learned to…/ met my…”

    We will share your messages on the Exeter Phoenix social channels, on our website and newsletters and on the big screen in Studio 74.

    You can also celebrate with us at any one of our events! Keep your eyes peeled for some special ones, dates to be announced soon!

    Finally, you can help keep Exeter Phoenix flying in 2024 and beyond by giving us a birthday gift!

    Support Us Here >>>>

     

  2. The Red Shoes: Beyond the Mirror, Behind the Scenes

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    Limited tickets are available to catch The Red Shoes at Exeter Cathedral this Tuesday 28 November

     

    The more ballet TV shows and films one watches, the more red pointe shoes one is likely to see. I thought painting ballet shoes red was a good ole dramatic device used to represent the classics: anger, passion, temptation, rebellion etc. That, however, changed when I watched Powell and Pressburger’s The Red Shoes (1948). Seeing Victoria Page (Moira Shearer) battle between her love for a young composer, Julian, and her passion for dance opened the catalogue of dance films that had been locked away in the back of my mind for years. Suddenly, one of the best scenes in one of my favourite ballet movies, Centre Stage (2000), started to come to life. Torn between two desires, Jody (Amanda Schull) performs a passionate routine in none other than bright red pointe shoes— a now obvious homage to The Red Shoes.

     

    I cannot do a cabriole or grand jeté, but I love films about ballet because they are always about the pains and preciousness of dance, yes, but so much more too. Watching this classic film that inspired so many was nothing less than a treat, yet walking through an exhibition that transported you into the very world of The Red Shoes was something else entirely.

     

    I was given the opportunity by the Exeter Phoenix and Film Hub Southwest to attend the BFI’s opening reception and private view of their new exhibition The Red Shoes: Beyond the Mirror. The exhibition was an unforgettable experience to say the least. I entered the BFI building alone, unafraid but unsure. To tell the truth, I considered the films of the 60s and 70s I watched to be old. Sure, I had studied a few early-mid 20th century films, but I was not a ‘Classic movies’ aficionado. As I stood in the long queue to get my wristband (which was red, of course), I marvelled at the woman in front me, who I later learned was costume buyer Dorothy Sarafoglou. She caught my attention because she was donned in a floor-length 150-year-old red Ottoman coat. We got to chatting and she soon, rather fittingly, became my red-coat guide who walked through The Red Shoes exhibition with me.

     

    Much like The Red Shoes, the exhibition was a balance between fantasy and reality. At one point, I sat down at a recreation of protagonist Victoria Page’s dressing table from the film, decorated with period perfume bottles, hairbrushes and bouquets of red, hot pink and fuchsia flowers. I felt as if Julian and Lermontov themselves were about to pop out from behind a wall and make me decide between love or dance.

     

    As I continued to walk through the exhibition, it was as if the film had ended, the credits had rolled, and I was being let into to the life of The Red Shoes beyond the screen. I read letters from Michael Powell, glanced at pictures of Moira Shearer as Victoria preparing for the ‘Coppelia’ sequences in the film, gazed at velvet ballet costumes, and manoeuvred through real-life ballet dancers stretching in their crimson leg warmers.

    red shoes ex

    Though enjoying the experience, I had many questions about this crazy ballet film world I had just whirlwind-ed my way through. In a brilliant turn of events, I had the opportunity to have my questions answered when I spoke with the set designer of the exhibition, renowned art director and designer Simon Costin:

     

    Chloé: What from The Red Shoes inspired you the most when designing the exhibition?

    Simon: I can’t say there was one particular thing, it was more the overall tone of the film. I wanted visitors to leave their world behind them the moment they reached the top of the stairs to the mezzanine and stepped through the entrance into the draped hallway.

     

    Chloé: What was your favourite section of the exhibition to design and why?

    Simon: That’s impossible to say because the exhibition was designed as a whole experience. Some of my favourite elements would be the newspaper figure, glimpsed behind the two-way mirror in the rehearsal room and the Pepper’s Ghost effect which reveals the shoes momentarily before clips of the film obscure them. It’s an old theatrical device which seemed to make sense to use, given the otherworldly mood that the film has.

     

    Chloé: Which item was your favourite and why?

    Simon: I think the Newspaper Man. Phoebe McEllhatton, who painted him, made such a beautiful job. There are several moments within the exhibition where we have endeavoured to recreate settings from the film, such as Victoria Page’s dressing table. The sequence in the film with the Newspaper Man was one that I found so enchanting the first time I ever saw the film.

     

    Chloé: Why do you think the legacy of The Red Shoes has endured after so much time?

    Simon: I think the Archers films were so unique then and now. As pioneers of English Magical Realism, they have never been surpassed. The ballet sequence is also one of the most breathtakingly magical ever made of a dance piece on film.

     

    Chloé: And finally, how do you hope the exhibition impacts audiences, both long-time fans of The Red Shoes and first-time viewers?

    Simon: I hope that the environment that we created helps to add several layers of make-believe to what is already a fantastical film, and to give the dozens of archival paintings and drawings a suitable backdrop for visitors to immerse themselves in.

     

    Immersive, fantastical, playful; the team behind ‘The Red Shoes: Beyond the Mirror’ definitely delivered.

    After weaving my way through rich blue curtains and multicoloured lights, and passed through the room of red walls, red flowers… I wondered: where is it?

    Then… almost catching you by the surprise, the star of the exhibition appeared before my eyes: the sinister red shoes sat contained in glass box. Though paling with age, they still had their famous red pigment and stood erect as if Victoria’s feet were still stuck inside of them.

    Victoria Page’s exit from The Red Shoes was traumatic to put it lightly. The good news for me was, when the blue curtains, bright lights and red walls came to an end, I safely descended the metal stairs, and my hot pink heels obediently led me back towards reality.

    By Chloé Jarrett-Bell

     

  3. The Creative Influences of Powell and Pressburger

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    To celebrate our Powell and Pressburger season here at Exeter Phoenix, we asked some of the fantastic people involved about their experiences, memories and inspirations taken from the films.

    The videos below share how their films have influenced the creative practices of artists, researchers and film critics alike.

    Michelle Williams Gamaker
    Michelle Williams Gamaker is an artist working in moving image. She interrogates cinematic artifice, deploying characters as fictional activists to critique the imperialist storytelling in 20th-century British/Hollywood studio films. She is joint-winner of Film London’s Jarman Award 2020 and is the recipient of FLAMIN’s Production Award for Thieves (2023), her first film in Fictional Revenge, premieres at her exhibition Our Mountains Are Painted on Glass at South London Gallery.

    Michelle will be introducing Black Narcissus on Thursday 23 Nov. Her work ‘House of Women’ will be screened before the film.

    Pamela Hutchinson 

    Pamela Hutchinson is a freelance critic, curator and film historian. She is the author of BFI Film Classics on The Red Shoes and Pandora’s Box. Her curation projects include seasons on Marlene Dietrich and Asta Nielsen for BFI Southbank. She edits the Weekly Film Bulletin and she is a columnist for Sight and Sound, writes for The Guardian and her website, SilentLondon.co.uk, is devoted to silent cinema.

    Pamela will be hosting the introduction for our screening of The Red Shoes hosted at Exeter Cathedral.

    Phil Wickham

    Dr Phil Wickham is the curator of The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum. He acquires artefacts, oversees the operations of the museum, and works with students and academic staff to highlight the stories the collections can tell us about moving images and the people that made and viewed them. Phil also co-teaches the 3rd year module ‘British Screens’, which looks at the history of moving images in Britain through the holdings of the museum and includes an assessed exhibition.

    The Bill Douglas Cinema Museum will be hosting the pre-feature talk in Exeter Cathedral's Lady Chapel as part of our The Red Shoes Premier Package.

  4. Studio 74 Membership

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    We love having you around. We want to see more of you.  

    We are ready to take a big step in our relationship and make our home, your home. 

    Here is your key to Exeter's home of independent cinema...

    Studio 74 Membership! 


    Exeter Phoenix is excited to bring a new development to our growing cinema community. This September we are launching our first Studio 74 Membership scheme, giving audiences the opportunity to join our club, access discounts on every film we screen and receive exclusive offers at our café bar and with our partners. 

    Studio 74 is Exeter’s home of independent cinema. It’s the cinema you want and the cinema you need.

    Please note: The first membership options titled ‘Friends Scheme’ are not Studio74 Memberships.

    Find out more about our Friends Scheme here >>


    Individual membership

    Become a member for £39.99 and receive:

    • 4 free cinema tickets when you sign up
    • £1 off cinema tickets
    • No booking fee when purchasing over the phone or at the counter
    • Priority booking for special cinema events
    • Special rates at Exeter Phoenix Café Bar
    • 10% off hot drinks
    • 5% discount on selected Exeter Phoenix courses & workshops
    • 10% off Exeter Phoenix Digital & Film equipment hire
    • Discounts on annual Exeter Phoenix cinema events & special screenings
    • Exclusive perks and offers to share with your friends

    Joint membership

    Join as a couple or buddy up with your favourite cinema friend for £74.00. Joint membership includes:

    • 6 free cinema tickets when sign up
    • £1 off cinema tickets
    • No booking fee when purchasing over the phone or at the counter
    • Priority booking for special cinema events
    • Special rates at Exeter Phoenix Café Bar
    • 10% off hot drinks
    • 5% discount on selected Exeter Phoenix courses & workshops
    • 10% off Exeter Phoenix Digital & Film equipment hire
    • Discounts on annual Exeter Phoenix cinema events & special screenings

    Under 25 and Student membership

    As a student or an under 25, you can join for FREE and receive:

    • £5 tickets on all screenings and some special events
    • No booking fee when purchasing over the phone or at the counter
    • Priority booking for special cinema events
    • 10% off hot drinks
    • 5% discount on selected Exeter Phoenix courses & workshops
    • 10% off Exeter Phoenix Digital & Film equipment hire
    • Discounts on annual Exeter Phoenix cinema events & special screenings

    Purchase your studio 74 membership below:

    Please note: The first membership options titled ‘Friends Scheme’ are not Studio74 Memberships.

    Studio 74 Membership FAQs >>

    Which films or events? How do I book?  

    Choose which film you’d like to see and book your ticket in your usual way; online, over the phone or via the Box Office. Any eligible discounts will be applied at checkout. Please note, only one ticket per screening will be discounted as part of your membership offer. If you are coming with another member holder, they will need to book separately. Studio 74 has unreserved seating, so you will still be able to sit with one another.  

    How many tickets can I book? 

    There is no limit to how often you can use your membership and you can book for more than one film at a time. Studio 74 screens films 7 days a week, up to 4 times a day and we are ready to welcome you however often you choose to join us.  

    How do I pay for membership online?

    • Head to the Studio 74 Membership page on our website.
    • Scroll down until you see a box with the yellow heading ‘Memberships’.
    • In that box, scroll to the bottom to see the Studio 74 Membership options (Joint/Individual/Student). Please note: The first membership options titled ‘Friends Scheme’ are not Studio74 Memberships.
    • Add your chosen membership to your basket and follow the pages through to the checkout.
    • You will need to login to your Exeter Phoenix account or register for one.

     

    Full terms and conditions apply to all membership. Details can be found below:

    Studio 74 Membership Terms and Conditions

  5. Year In Review 2021 – 2022

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    We are pleased to share Exeter Phoenix’s first ever Year in Review – a chance to share and celebrate the achievements of the last financial year (2021 - 2022).

    Our programme presented 222 live performances, shared 17 contemporary art exhibitions, screened 164 films, and delivered 312 creative courses and workshops for all ages!

    Below are some of our key achievements:

    Impact Report Print-12

    But Exeter Phoenix is more than just numbers. We aim to enable our visitors and audiences to view the world through a new lens, and develop creative connections between local people, communities and ideas.

    Over the course of the year we have supported nearly 900 artists through platforming work, sharing equipment, resources and spaces, offering commissions, running festivals and competitions, holding networking and socials, and providing employment as tutors and course leaders.

    Within the year we were able to award a series of artist commissions including our first ever theatre commission, and our artist moving image commission which was awarded to Dan Guthrie and went on to be screened at the Whitstable Biennial.

    Most importantly, none of this would have been possible without you! We rely on the generous support of individuals, groups, businesses and grant-makers to enable us to deliver a broad range of accessible creative and cultural opportunities and activities to our community. We count ourselves very lucky to have such kind and generous audiences, participants, customers and supporters. Thank You!

    To see the full report click here.

  6. A Tribute to Nick Keen

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    Nick Keen was powered by the magic of the moving image. His love of cinema brought him to programme and project hundreds of films at Exeter Phoenix bringing audiences together and establishing a cinematic culture which was rooted in wanting to share great films. One which still thrives today. 

     

    Nick’s knowledge of cinema spanned across decades, crossed continents and was loaded with facts and details of those in front and behind the camera. His work as a film editor, earlier in his career, and as a projectionist across the city embedded Nick well within the film industry and his warmth and generosity with his knowledge was immense. He was consistently willing to share it and help others learn and develop. Armed with a well thumbed A4 notebook, curling at the corners, sometimes dressed in a boilersuit, nearly always lugging a case loaded with film canisters, Nick's presence in Exeter Phoenix was always a welcome one.  

     

    Exeter Film Society bloomed under Nick’s care and attention where he would book and project weekly screenings in the main auditorium. Projecting the films on 35mm from his very own trusty projectors, Nick would illuminate the image to life. Watching Nick work was never dull. His skills in tinkering, fixing and problem solving made sure things were always alright on the night. Nick’s can-do attitude made everyone feel like we were working alongside a safe pair of hands. Without his expertise, skill and enthusiasm we would have been unable to do so many amazing things he made possible. With Nick, the show would always go on.  

     

    Nick’s romantic relationship with cinema inspired Exeter’s annual outdoor cinema screenings. With the help of his son, Alex, Nick would co-programme and deliver a magical week of films under the stars. Rain or moonshine, Nick would see the film through to the last credit, peeping through the tiny hatch in his homemade projection box. In 2010, a torrential downpour saw off hundreds of Big Screen audiences at a screening of SHUTTER ISLAND. Only one pair of well equipped viewers remained, tucked under a huge umbrella they stayed to see Leonardo DiCaprio’s character unravel in a scene set in a big coastal storm. While the rest of the Big Screen team sheltered in vans or accepted defeat and went home, Nick ploughed on. Energised by the pair’s stamina, remarking that "it was the ultimate sensory experience to view such a film in these conditions". 

     

    When Exeter Phoenix was offered the unique experience to convert the Black Box Studio into a dedicated screening space and run a full time cinema, Nick was there to support, advise and help tackle the shift to a new technology. A change which saw away with the romance and skill of 35mm yet Nick remained passionate about bringing films to Exeter’s audiences and found other ways to seek out the magic of projection and film exhibition. 

     

    Nick’s influence on film, cinema and people at Exeter Phoenix is remarkable. It will be cherished. Nick was our Alfredo in our very own Cinema Paradiso and in the worlds of Totò,

    “Thank you. For everything you have done…”

     

     

    Image: Photo of Nick Keen with his wife Linda taken at Exeter Phoenix. Credit: Rhodri Cooper

  7. An Interview with Anthony Clark: Playwright of SHE

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    Image Credit: Robert Day

    Accord Theatre presents: SHE

    Coming to Exeter Phoenix on the 28th February, Theatre Accord presents SHE. This enthralling new production is comprised of seven short plays, with two versatile actors who take on over fourteen characters.

    We asked playwright of SHE and founder of Accord Theatre Anthony Clark to give us an insight into the creation of the play and themes explored within it ahead of its arrival to Exeter:

     

    What are the themes in SHE? 

    There are seven plays that make up SHE, which are loosely inspired by The Seven Ages Of Man speech from Shakespeare’s As You Like It. From childhood to old age each narrative is told differently, and cover everything from looking after a child, to first love, to political awakening, and growing old. There are many other themes that SHE explores, and some intriguing twists too, which I will leave for you to discover!  

    As you’ve mentioned, the performance guides us through the different stages of life, but the characters are all young adults. Why did you pick this approach and what perspective do you think it brings to the play?

    I thought it would be interesting to explore the perspective of this age group, reflecting on their past, present and their future. It’s difficult to pinpoint an age that defines the trajectory of a person’s life, but I think for most people it’s probably their twenties.  

    The characters in the play experience a lot, what message do you think encompasses these learning curves in the play?   

    If there’s a message that emerges from watching all the plays, it’s to celebrate the tireless determination of the human spirit, despite everything that life throws at you.  

    SHE Play
    Image Credit: Robert Day

    ★★★★

    'She is a tableau of growth, of the knowledge that comes with age, and a fascinating analysis of the human condition.'

    THE GUARDIAN

    And what do you want the audience to leave feeling? 

    I hope that the audience relates in some way to the situations and themes presented in each play. Would they make the same choices the characters make? How would they have dealt with it differently? I hope the plays make people see the themes from different perspectives, and perhaps reflect upon the experiences they’ve had during their lives.   

     With so much theatre experienced online these days, I’d like people to have felt the intimate experience of being an audience member in a live show. I hope they felt a connection with the two actors, and the range of characters they play throughout the seven performances. 

    How did SHE come about?

    Alongside my directing career, running three theatres, and freelancing extensively I have always written. When I left Hampstead Theatre in 2010, I was invited to teach at E15, and then at Drama Centre at Central Saint Martins.  Whilst at Drama Centre running the MA Directing Course and MA Dramatic Writing Course, I was challenged to write a play for two talented directing students who wanted something to act as well as direct. In the end there was never the time or space to produce SHE at CSM. I thought nothing more about play until I showed a draft to Jatinder Verma (then Artistic Director at Tara Arts), who suggested that it would be interesting to see the play performed by actors who wouldn’t necessarily be offered the opportunity to play so many different parts in one play. It was then decided that perhaps it could tour with support from my company Theatre Accord, as PARADISE OF THE ASSASSINS had done in 2016. A tour was booked supported by the Arts Council, but then postponed, twice, because of Covid. After more redrafting, and a decision to offer the play to two young emerging directors, plus a wonderful couple of versatile actors, it’s now happening.

    What’s next for Theatre Accord? 

    We are a small theatre company relying on co-producers to develop and tour our work, however there are a number of projects we have in development at the moment. Top of the list is THE COUNTESS AND THE REVOLUTIONARY, a new play that tells the extraordinary story of Madame du Barry, Louis XV’s last mistress. This play is going to be directed by the talented emerging director Dewi Johnson. And then there’s a play called NO CASE, a thriller set in Singapore that explores the parameters of friendship and the ethics of the free market, which I’ll be directing.   

     

    Book your tickets now for SHE, Tue 28 Feb.

  8. Freefall +

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    Thank you for your interest in joining Freefall+ Youth Arts Group.

    Freefall+ (formed in 2018) is one of the ways Exeter Phoenix aims to support young people who are no longer in education and have complex support needs. The group meets regularly, offering an inclusive space to come together to explore the arts, to create and to access the networks of support that Exeter Phoenix facilitates through its role as a creative hub in the city. We work in partnership with The Pelican Project CIC, an Exeter based collective of artists, teachers, carers, families and students. The group collaborates with other arts organisations in Exeter as well as artists, designers and film makers to contribute to the creative output of Exeter Phoenix, recently this has included exhibitions, zines and public events.

    The group is led by George Barron and Charlie Robinson.

    Working across a range of artforms and activities Freefall+ sessions regularly explore ideas and events that connect with the wider programme of exhibitions, festivals and performances at Exeter Phoenix. We invite artists and creative practitioners to work with the group and often take part in projects that are happening outside Exeter Phoenix across the city.

    If you are interested in joining Freefall+ head over to The Pelican Project where you can sign up to become a Pelican.

    Become A Pelican >>

  9. TWO SHORT NIGHTS: CELEBRATING SHORT FILMS AND THE PEOPLE WHO MAKE THEM

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    TWO SHORT NIGHTS FILM FESTIVAL | THU 16 – FRI 17 FEB 2023

    Two Short Nights Film Festival, bringing film fans and film makers together for over two decades, returns to Exeter Phoenix this February.

    Fifty short films from around the world will be screened at the festival this year, showcasing filmmaking talent from the best international, national and regional filmmakers, over two engaging evenings.

    Thirty percent of the films in the 2023 programme represent the South West, six of which have been commissioned by Exeter Phoenix and will be receiving their premiere at the festival.

    Festival goers can pick from any of the eight short film screenings and industry events or go unlimited with a festival pass to guarantee entry to every event.

    A film maker-focussed social will be held at The Mermaid Gandy Street on Thursday 16th Feb, the perfect place to relax and enjoy the festival atmosphere alongside industry and film aficionados - co-hosted by festival sponsors for 2023, Devon Film Logistics. Booking is essential, but entry is free!

    Exeter Phoenix has been supporting local filmmaking talent as part of the festival since 2001. The annual film commission scheme has kickstarted creative careers and helped to develop new skills and talent for filmmakers, cast and crew and you can see their work programmed throughout the festival.

    The winner of the BFI Film Academy South West 19-25 Film Fund will also be decided at the festival, as shortlisted young film makers live-pitch for the opportunity to be granted £1000 in cash funding to support the production of a short film, of any genre, up to 12 minutes in length.

    The Two Short Nights 48 Hour Film Challenge is headlining the festival for another year in Exeter Phoenix’s main auditorium. Open to all filmmakers, the competition will see up to thirty teams create a 3-minute film to a secret brief, over the space of a weekend. It is the perfect embodiment of the festival’s ethos – film making is fun, and open to all!

    Shorts Screenings: £5
    Festival Pass £25 (£20 Concession available)

    Tickets & Info for All Festival Events >>>>>

    Watch Trailer >>>>>

    Download Programme >>>>>

    2SN 23 PROGRAMME UPDATED WEB
  10. INDEPENDENT VENUE WEEK

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    Independent Venue Week is 10 years old! And for most of those 10 years, we have been an Official Venue.

    Independent venues across the UK are getting involved 30th Jan - 5th Feb this year, and we’ve lined up a range of gigs to celebrate.  

    Independent Venue Week is a nationally celebrated week showcasing local music and arts venues and championing independent venues as the site for communities to come together and enjoy music. Independent music venues not only allow you to see your favourite bands in your local area, but they also support emerging talent, acting as a hub for the industry. In addition to providing spaces for emerging artists to perform (such as on our Bright Young Things and New Band Showcase nights!), we’re also helping the next generation of technicians through our Creative Venue Technician Apprenticeship, work experience and volunteering opportunities.  

    All of this couldn’t happen without the continuous support of our community of gig-goers, so thank you for choosing us as your music venue and for always being the best crowd! 

    For IVW 2023 we have a range of genres for you to explore, from rock to pop to skawith regionally and nationally acclaimed artists playing. Check it out!

    KULA SHAKER

    SOLD OUT

    MON 30 JAN | 7.30pm

    Kula Shaker, the last great heretics of British rock. Named after a 9th century South Indian King, the band’s esoteric mix of psychedelic riffs, mantras and rock and roll mysticism laughed in the face of Britpop orthodoxy in the 90’s.

    KRIS BARRAS BAND

    LIMITED TICKETS AVAILABLE

    WED 01 FEB | 7.30pm

    Kris Barras Band are set for an incredible 2023; they’ve just finished a sold-out UK tour with Kentucky’s favourite sons Black Stone Cherry, culminating with a show at the world-famous Royal Albert Hall.

    CUT CAPERS

    + DROP IN THE OCEAN

    FRI 03 FEB | 7.30pm

    Famed for their electric festival appearances, both in the UK and across Europe, Cut Capers are turning their attention to venue crowds in need of an injection of Glastonbury Festival-style energy and atmosphere. Following on from a string of gloriously sweaty, sellout shows on their 2021 Autumn Tour, they are getting set to once again break the ticketmaster website through sheer demand!

    THE EMBEZZLERS

    + THE REGGASKAS AND GLYNN WILCOX (THE SIMMERTONES)

    SAT 04 FEB | 7.30pm

    The Embezzlers are a 6 piece, 100% Live, ska band based in Exeter, Devon. Playing the best in ska and 2tone from Desmond Dekker, Toots and Jimmy Cliff to The Specials, The Selecter, Madness and The Beat, and there’s even a tiny little bit of The Clash thrown in for good measure!

    IVW 10 Years Logo Black
  11. 19-25 DEVON FILM FUND 2023 NOW OPEN FOR APPLICATIONS

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    Exeter Phoenix have partnered with BFI Film Academy South West to offer one Devon based filmmaker aged between 19 and 25 access to £1000 in cash funding to support the production of a short film, of any genre, which is up to 12 minutes in length.

    Four of the best ideas will be invited to pitch their ideas at Two Short Nights Film Festival, 16th Feb 2023, to win the chance to turn their ideas into a short film.

    WHO CAN APPLY?

    Exeter Phoenix 19-25 Devon Film Fund 2023 is open to:

    • Individuals who have a permanent address in Devon. Applicants must be able to prove their address.
    • Individuals aged between 19 - 25. Applicants must be 19 or over when applying. We will accept applications from those who turn 26 during the project timeline.
    • The fund is aimed at those who have a passion for making short films or those looking for funding to take their filmmaking to the next level.

    The selected filmmaker may be expected to make occasional visits to Exeter, therefore please consider this when applying.

    We recognise our work will be stronger with greater diversity and welcome applications by somebody with lived experience of a diverse background.

    If you would like support or assistance with your application, or would like these guidelines in a more accessible format, or you would like support with your application we would be pleased to help. Please request this by emailing Claire.Horrocks@exeterphoenix.org.uk

    TIMELINE 

    • Applications open Wednesday 11 January 2023
    • Applications close 5pm, Tuesday 31 January 2023
    • Decisions will be made by week commencing 6 February 2023

     

    Successful applicants must be available to pitch their ideas to an audience and panel of experts during TWO SHORT NIGHTS 2023 on Thursday 16 Feb at 4.00pm.

    Training and workshops will take place from spring 2023, dates TBC

    Projects are to be completed by December 2023.

     

    TO APPLY

    Please read the 19-25 Devon Film Fund Guidelines before applying here.

    Please apply via our online submission form.

    You will be asked to submit an original and concise proposal which outlines the tone, themes, genre and strategy of your ideas.

    Exeter Phoenix will accept ideas to be presented in written form (up to 400 words) or as a video (up to 3 minutes).

    When applying you will have the opportunity to include a link to a show reel and attach supporting material. This could be examples of previous work, stills, writing samples or visual aids.

    You will also be asked to complete a Diversity Standards form when applying.  The data submitted when applying and via the Diversity Standard form will be shared with BFI Film Academy South West / Watershed for reporting purposes.

     

    CONTACT US 

    If you have questions about the Exeter Phoenix 19-25 Devon Film Fund 2023, please feel free to get in touch with the team. We will be happy to chat through your ideas, talk about the process involved and answer any questions about the Pitch.

    Luke Hagan – Luke.Hagan@exeterphoenix.org.uk

    Claire Horrocks – claire.horrocks@exeterphoenix.org.uk

    Jonas Hawkins – Jonas.Hawkins@exeterphoenix.org.uk

     

    ABOUT BFI FILM ACADEMY

    BFI Film Academy offers opportunities for 16-25 year olds, anywhere in the UK, to get to know more about film and how to make a career in the screen industries. Managed in the South West by Watershed. This activity is part of the UK-wide BFI Film Academy programme and is supported using funds from the National Lottery.

    ABOUT EXETER PHOENIX

    Exeter Phoenix has awarded over 100 short film commissions. The process has helped establish film careers and played a vital role in building relationships within the creative industries.

     

    Image credit: Rhodri Cooper

  12. Mary the Pigeon – What is a Relaxed Performance?

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    Every year, we are proud to provide a relaxed performance for our annual co-production with Quirk Theatre. This year’s relaxed performance for ‘Mary, The Pigeon That Never Gave Up' will take place on Sunday 18th Dec (4.30pm).  Tap here for tickets >>>>

    We've put together a video where Producer Naomi explains a bit more about the relaxed performances - you can see the video here >>

    What is a relaxed performance, and who is it for?

    A relaxed performance is a show that's been slightly adapted to suit people that need a more relaxed environment when going to the theatre. People with learning difficulties, autism, or sensory communication disorders might benefit from attending this performance, as we've tried to reduce anything that might be a potential trigger. We’d also like to make it clear that this event is not exclusive to people mentioned previously; if you feel like you would benefit from coming to the relaxed performance, we’d love to have you. 

    What does a relaxed performance include?

    It includes adjustments like quieter music or reducing loud or surprising sound effects. We turn the house lights down but don’t turn them off, and there’s no expectation for people to sit quietly in their seats for the whole duration; if it helps you, we encourage you to get involved in the story! This is why it's our favourite performance of the year. 

    Why Simon loves the relaxed performance

    "The relaxed performance is always a high point in our run at Exeter Phoenix. We are delighted that the audience continues to grow year on year. We always pop out before the show starts and introduce ourselves, and then we all go backstage with the feeling that we are going to have a wonderful time. Personally, the knowledge that I am performing for people who otherwise might not come to see a show and who I have just said hello to, feels pretty special. I know that every performance is 'for the audience’, but the relaxed performance feels especially so. This one is for you, let’s have a party!"

    Our Box Office team will send out a visual story PDF before the relaxed performance to all ticket holders. These will also be available at the Box Office on request for any performance. On the day itself, before the relaxed performance show starts, the performers will come out to say hello. They’ll introduce themselves and make sure you know that everyone can feel free to go in and out of the auditorium, make noise or move around, and do whatever it is you need to do to relax. They’ll also let you know where the chill-out room is, if you need to relax for a bit. Then they’ll leave the stage and come back out in a few minutes to start the show in a whole variety of very ridiculous costumes. We hope everyone enjoys themselves!

    If you have any questions or worries about barriers to accessing the show, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with Lucy, our Box Office Manager at lucy.caine@exeterphoenix.org.uk or pop in to see us. 

  13. Apply for Exeter Phoenix Scratch Night: 10th Oct 2023

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    Deadline for Applications: 5pm, 15th September 

    Got an idea that needs a platform? Exeter Phoenix Scratch Night offers artists in need of an audience a chance to stretch their ideas and the opportunity to test their work in the Phoenix Auditorium, along with £150 to help develop their idea and a small amount of rehearsal space before the Scratch Night.

    Following the success of our Scratch Nights in 2022 , which has offered artists to test their earliest ideas in a low stakes environment, we'd like to offer artists the opportunity to take their new ideas a little bit further. In 2023 we will be delivering 3 x Scratch Night’s, the last of which will taking place on 10th October. Successful applicants will receive rehearsal space, the opportunity to perform their work in front of an audience and £150 to support their practice - which they can use however supports them best.

    Whether you're currently working on a show and there's a new bit you'd like to get in front of an audience, or you're looking to try something brand new for the first time – we'd like to invite you to apply to SCRATCH NIGHT, an opportunity to test up to 20 minutes of live work.

    SCRATCH NIGHT will take place on 10th October in the main auditorium, from 7.30pm - 9.30pm.Applications close at 5pm on 15th September and we will let you know if you have been successful the following week. You must be available for a technical rehearsal slot during the afternoon / early evening on Tuesday 10th October and for the SCRATCH NIGHT in the evening.  

    What you'll get: 

    £150 to support your practice. This can be used however you'd like, and you don't need to use it for this project. If you need to take a day off from work to rehearse, you'd like to buy some props or pay someone to help you out - that money is yours and has absolutely no strings attached.

    Rehearsal Space Use rehearsal space at Exeter Phoenix in the weeks leading up to SCRATCH NIGHT. We're not putting a time limit on this, but it will be subject to availability. Tech time and performance The SCRATCH NIGHT sharing will take place in the Exeter Phoenix auditorium, which is fully equipped with lighting, sound and a projector. Everyone will get an hour of tech time prior to the performance. Full tech spec of the auditorium available upon request.

    Please get in contact on scratch.night@exeterphoenix.org.uk if you have any questions.

  14. An Alternative Christmas Gift Guide

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    With Christmas just around the corner, we've gathered a selection of festive ideas for all your friends and family. An experience is the best gift because life is more about the moments you share with people, than it is about the stuff that you have.

    From theatre goers to film lovers, family favourites or inspiring art courses, we've got an array of choices for all interests, covering everyone in your life. What's more, you can provide someone with the opportunity to be part of our future (and our furniture) by adopting a seat or taking part in our membership schemes.

    Gift sustainably, support local - and give the gift of experience this Christmas.

     SUPPORT US, FOR THEM

    Do good. Donate on someone's behalf, and leave a tangible, positive impact behind in their name!

    Exeter Phoenix is a registered charity, so any money spent when you buy a ticket, eat a meal or give a donation goes back into bringing fun, creativity and culture into the city.

    Adopt A SEAT

    Celebrate their love of theatre, and Adopt a Seat in our auditorium. This also keeps creativity thriving in Exeter - let them be part of our future by giving much-needed funds which allow art and culture to continue changing lives. Plus, you'll get a plaque on the back of a seat saying whatever you want - as long as it's clean!

    Adopt a Seat today >>

    BE OUR FRIEND

    Know someone who loves visiting Exeter Phoenix? Let them peep behind the curtain with our memberships, and they'll receive a unique behind-the-scenes newsletter with exclusive features and project updates - not to mention an exclusive welcome pack with a limited edition pin badge and a specially designed set of postcards.

    Become a member >>

    LOCAL ARTY GIFTS

    Support local designer makers and purchase something in Maker Mart! It is a curated, unique place to shop, filled to the brim with some of the most wonderful creative offerings our community has to offer. Visit them on Gandy Street, or at the pop-up in Guildhall.

    Maker Mart is supported by Exeter Phoenix. Tap here to visit their website >>

    LET THEM DECIDE!

    Give them a gift voucher and let them decide! Our vouchers can be redeemed for anything in our programme, whether it’s a day exploring your creative side at a sculpting workshop, a training session with our filmmaking team, or a great night out at one of our events.

    Tap here to buy a gift voucher >>

    GIFT AN EXPERIENCE

    Because life is more about moments you share with people, than it is about the stuff that you have.

    A PAIR OF CINEMA TICKETS

    There's not a better place to spend your screentime - with a programme packed full of eye-opening documentaries, special screening events, groundbreaking new releases and unique film festivals - plus, Studio 74 is independent and solar-powered.

    Discover our film programme here >>

    GIG TICKETS FOR TWO

    We've got a music programme bursting at the seams with both international and home-grown talent. Bring your loved ones to see one of their favourites, or discover some brand new music. From folk to funk, we've got lots to choose from.

    Take a look at our programme here >>

    Go to the theatre

    Our performance programme is richly diverse and filled to the brim with cutting-edge drama, dance, poetry and family fun from award-winning directors, writers and theatre companies. Whether you want to laugh or cry, there really is something for everyone!

    See more here >>

    GET CREATIVE

    From Photoshop lessons to a day of experimental drawing, we've got a whole bunch of courses for anyone creative in your life! Or try them yourselves, and gift something homemade this Christmas.

    Take a look at the upcoming courses here >> 

    art-full

    DRINKS & LUNCH ON OUR TERRACE

    Come on over for a drink and bite to eat in our vibrant café bar! Our chefs regularly add new dishes to our menu, including our weekly curry specials, soups and seasonal favourites. With plenty of veggie, vegan and gluten-free options, and a kids menu, we cater for all.

    See the menu here >>

    GIFT IDEAS

    Feelgood festivity for everyone on your list

    BEST FOR FAMILY

    THE GREATEST MAGICIAN

    Thu 25 Jan | 8pm

    He's back - and this time for not one, but two nights! Second date added due to popular demand. A dazzling and enigmatic magic show, presented by James Phelan and directed by the great late Paul Daniels.

    WE ALL NEED A LAUGH

    ANIA MAGLIANO

    Sun 28 Jan | Doors 7pm

    To the hairdresser at [redacted] Salon: You can take my money. You can take my dignity. You can take too much off the ends. But you cannot take my right to talk about it on stage. This is a show about the worst haircut of Ania Magliano’s life.

    CHRISTMAS COMES EARLY

    FIVE CHILDREN & IT

    Sun 17 Dec - Wed 28 Dec

    Quirk Theatre return to Exeter Phoenix for their 20th show with a heartwarming and hilarious festive adventure all about ✨wishes✨.

    A GIGGLE FOR JANUARY

    DEGENERATE

    Sat 13 Jan | 7pm

    A dark comedy about a woman (sometimes funny), her vampire (kills every night) and the reality of ageing in a youth-obsessed culture.

    GARDEN LOVERS

    BOTANICAL ILLUSTRATION 5 WEEK COURSE

    Starts Mon 08 Jan | 7pm - 9pm

    In this course we will be taking a close look at the plants we use in our everyday lives, following the seasons.

    TECHY CHILDREN

    YOUNG & ANIMATED SATURDAY CLUB

    5 weeks | Starts Sat 06 Jan | 10am - 1pm

    Popular Saturday morning beginners group for young people looking to learn stop motion and digital animation.

    THE ONE WHO HAS IT ALL

    CONCERTINA SKETCHBOOKS 5 WEEKS

    Starts Fri 12 Jan | 10.30am - 1pm

    Concertina sketchbooks are a great way to explore themes, mediums and techniques, in this course you will be guided through the process of making and using your sketchbook to record ideas and inspire future projects.

    SKA LOVERS

    THE BEAT

    Sat 20 Jan | 7.30pm

    One of the key bands of the U.K. ska revival of the late ’70s and early ’80s, the Beat achieved a near-perfect balance of pop melodies and taut rhythms that made them stars in Britain and won them a worldwide following.

    PERFECT FOR EXPLORERS

    TRAGEDY & TRIUMPH

    Mon 15 Mar | Doors 7pm

    Few stories of exploration are as dramatic as two expeditions to Antarctica in the early 20th century. This illustrated talk explores the three famous explorers who dominate the story.

    DIFFICULT DADS

    THE MAD DOG MCREA WEEKENDER

    Fri 03 May - Sun 05 May

    The Mad Dog Mcrea Weekender is back for 2024 - three days of live music and DJs, here at Exeter Phoenix, taking place over the May Bank Holiday.

    COMEDY FOR GEN Z

    ANIA MAGLIANO

    Sun 28 Jan | Doors 7pm

    This is a show about the worst haircut of Ania Magliano’s life. Her critically acclaimed debut run sold out in Edinburgh and London. She’s supported Marc Maron, Cat Cohen and Ed Gamble on tour, and writes for Amelia Dimoldenberg’s Chicken Shop Date.

     

    LAUGHS FOR A POLITICAL SHAMBLES

    MATT FORDE

    Thu 22 Feb | 7.30pm

    Host of hit political podcast ‘The Political Party’ Matt Forde (Spitting Image, Have I Got News For You, The British Scandal, The Last Leg, The Royal Variety Performance) explores the dark comedy horror that is British politics, ahead of the next election. Plus silly voices.

    Want a laugh but this isn't it? We already have over 30 (!) Comedy shows booked for next year already, including...

    PHOENIX FAVES: CHLOE PETTS, ROB AUTON, JAMES ROWLAND, JESSICA FOSTEKEW, JONNY & THE BAPTISTS

    RISING STARS: CONNOR BURNS, VITTORIO ANGELONE 

    ONLINE SENSATIONS: FIN TAYLOR, MORGAN REES, RED RICHARDSON

    COMEDY ICONS: KIRI PRITCHARD-CLEAN, JO CAULFIELD, NICK HELM, GARY MEIKLE, CATHERINE BOHART, STEPHEN BAILEY

    FAMILY FRIENDLY: FRAMED! - PADDLEBOAT THEATRE, KID CARPET & THE NOISY GARDEN CENTRE

    ...and so many more! See the full Comedy listings here >>> 

     BORED OF CHRISTMAS ALREADY? HEAD TO OUR NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY!

    MIRRORBALL | Sat 31 Dec | 8pm - 2am

    Join us for a NYE Party like no other and see in the new year with a mirror ball sparkle in your step.

    2024 will be our 25th birthday, so we’re pulling out all the stops for a silver themed spectacle to remember. You can expect Live Music, a Silent Disco, Karaoke, a Rave Room, Cocktail Lounge and more in a full-building takeover.

  15. An Interview With Quirk Theatre

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    As the Christmas season is getting closer, we wanted to share an insight into this years Christmas theatre production of Mary The Pigeon by asking Quirk member Katie Villa some questions!

    Firstly, please can you introduce yourself?

    I’m Katie Villa and I am the artistic Director of Quirk, among other things.

    And perhaps you could tell us a bit more about Quirk and what you do?

    Quirk is in its 20th year, and we are delivering our 19th production (out of kilter thanks to Covid). For 20 years Quirk have been making work in Exeter with Exeter artists, south west artists, offering a meaningful alternative to pantomime. We feel passionate about telling stories that matter. Quirk started by working through the Brothers Grimm fairy tale back catalogue, but over the years we have evolved to take a few more risks artistically. More recently we’ve been growing the part of ourselves that makes work with a social conscience, using the opportunity to tell important, unheard stories and making original work.

    2022’s show is Mary the Pigeon – who was Mary and what has she done to inspire a show?

    Mary was a racing pigeon. Her own er was Charlie Brewer, a shoe maker who had a loft in his attic on West Street. Charlie and Mary won a lot of races together, she was his star bird but when the Second World War broke out and there was no more pigeon racing for a time, Charlie signed Mary up to the National Pigeon Service. Mary supported the national war effort, flying top secret messages from Plymouth and London across the channel. Mary sustained a lot of war wounds – she was shot, hit by shrapnel for a bomb, and even attacked by a peregrine; but no matter what happened to her, she always got home and never gave up. She was awarded a medal for outstanding service in spite of war wounds. Each time she got home, Charlie would use his shoemaking skills to fix her wounds and nurse her back to health. He even made her a special leather neck brace. The story really stood out to Quirk – a true story with a great female lead, and a lot of space for fun. It’s an important story, but it’s also hilarious and offers all the good silly bits that we all deserve this year. It’s also something children can connect to – they can even visit the outside of Charlie and Mary’s old house.

    We can always rely on Quirk to make us laugh. Is there anything else audiences can expect from the show?

    There will be great flights of fantasy alongside the story. There's some really exciting characters: we have a flamingo that’s trying to join the pigeon service, but you’ll have to stay tuned to see if they are successful. We’re also really excited that we’ve used the framework to draw in other stories from Exeter at that time. The most exciting part being we’ve cast a polish speaking actor called Ivona who will bring to life the story of the Eagle Owls – a Polish squadron based at Exeter airport during the war. This night-fighting squadron played a key role in protecting Exeter from the Blitz. Their four Beaufighters held off some of the bombers, no doubt saving many lives. The squadron gifted the city a Polish flag that is still raised each year in remembrance of their commitment and service.

    So obviously this is quite an important story in Exeter’s history, is there a reason why it is important to bring this story and this show to audiences right now?

    The thing that resonates for us right now is the theme of home. The homing pigeons’ natural instinct to get home against all odds feels like it parallels with a lot of things going on right now. With the refugee crisis and so many situations around the world, there are lots of people who are yearning for home. The show also tells the story of the Polish Eagle Owls: Polish fighters who showed commitment to a home that wasn’t their own in the hope of being able to return to their own one day.

    It’s also a story of love and hope, which is always important and universal to tell.

    And on top of all of that, it feels really important that people are able to come together this year and laugh together, and feel moved together, and enjoy all the things that we’ve been denied for quite a while now. We always promise our audiences a really good laugh – which we’re all desperate for right now.

    And there’s a book?

    There is! Since June we have been running workshops all around Exeter with school groups and community groups of all different kinds, creating collaged illustrations to go in the book. The book is being pulled together by Rosie Race, our ridiculously talented collage artist, who is also in the show. Rosie is a professional collage artist, but this will be her first book. She is pulling the whole thing together, seamlessly weaving the work of school and community artists into the book. The book is a beautifully illustrated retelling of the story of Mary, designed to appeal to Key Stage One and Two age children. Everyone who took part in the workshops get a free copy, and school groups who come to the show will receive a free copy for their libraries. It’s available to pre-order now, and will be on sale at Bookbag in McCoy’s Arcade – watch this space for the release date!

    It’s been an exciting new venture for us – we've told stories for 20 years but never told one in print. We’ve learnt a lot and, by including all those community illustrators, we have been able to demystify the process of book making for people too, making it feel more accessible. It has been a real group effort: a book for Exeter, about Exeter, made with the people of Exeter. We are so excited to see it printed!

    And finally, if you were a bird, what would you be and why?

    Just being a bird would be brilliant! Any bird I'd be happy with because then I could fly. I feel like I have most affinity with small bird – the little guys, like a robin, they’re my favourite bird. With their little twiggy legs they look kind of impossible. Like they shouldn’t exist because they’re so small and fragile. But they’re such a beacon of hope – a flash of colour in the winter.

     

    You can book your tickets for a showing of Mary The Pigeon at Exeter Phoenix here.

  16. ANNOUNCING BLOOM 2023 – SAVE THE DATE!

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    Announcing: Bloom 2023 - Sunday 21st May 2023

    Bloom 2023 is generously supported by Iron Mill College.

    Bloom is coming back for 2023 after our biggest Bloom yet in 2022! Over 30 organisations from across Devon got involved, and over 300 people (an a pony) joined us on the day.

    Click here for the Programme for 2023 so far >>>>>

    Join us for a Think-In

    Monday 28th November 2022, 1pm-2pm, The Workshop

    FREE - No Booking Required

    Because Bloom is about all of us - we are inviting you to join us to help shape Bloom 2023.

    Bloom is a free community event that has taken place alongside Mental Health Awareness week, in person and online, for the last three years.

    Bloom is a takeover of Exeter Phoenix (and potentially other venues!) that provides a space for organisations and communities to gather in support of, and to platform, a broad spectrum of experiences of mental health.

    Hundreds of people engaged with our activity last year, in our biggest Bloom yet! We have brought people together through art, dance and music workshops, film screenings on topics close to mental health, stands where anyone can access help and resources, panel discussions, an open mic where anyone can share their thoughts, introductory workshops to accessible supportive tools and practices, and much, much more.

    Our 'think-in' is an open-call to organisations working in the arts and/ or in mental health and anyone in the community to gather and discuss their experiences; how can we support and offer a platform to you and your community through an event like Bloom?

    It is also an opportunity for organisations who might want to be involved to find out a bit more and have a think about what they might bring to the day.

    Follow this link for a 2022 programme so you can familiarise yourself with the sorts of activities we offered last year, you can also watch a short video from the day here:

    Watch Bloom 2022 Video >>>>>

    All the best,

    Team Bloom

     

    If you're not able to join our Think In but would still like to share your thoughts, you can send your thoughts to bloom@exeterphoenix.org.uk - or let us know how you would like to contribute.

  17. Online Premiere of Four new LGBTQ short films from Devon and Cornwall based writers at Exeter Phoenix.

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    Four brand new short films by LGBTQ writers from Devon and Cornwall are receiving their online premiere on the Exeter Phoenix Website.

    Each was written by a different member of Down Stage Write theatre company’s Write Out Loud! Programme for LGBTQ writers in the region and produced with an all queer creative team in front of and behind the camera.

    From the struggles of gay parenthood to trying to forge a place for your identity in a world that resists you, the pieces take a wry and heartfelt look at the LGBTQ+ experience today.

    “The four writers Bee, Fynn, Robin and Jaime were commissioned by us after taking part in our LGBTQ writers project. The pieces are touching, funny, sometimes angry, sometimes deeply personal and also joyful” said Co-Director of the company Jon Nash. “We wanted to create work that while not shying away from the difficulties we can face was also joyful. Telling these stories with an all LGBTQ creative team made that even more special.”

    The films are a real home grown effort with the writers, actors, director and film makers all living and working in Devon and Cornwall. The film makers from 45 Degrees photography Hector and Gian as well as all of the writers and performers. Each film has also been shot on location in the region too from a deserted nightclub in Plymouth to a spot on the beautiful Cornish coastline.

    Robin Oliver, the writer of ‘Private’ found that “…working with Write Out Loud was a real joy and gave me a creative focus during a very emotionally significant time in my life. Private is about the lasting power of friendship, and the freedom that can come when you have the opportunity to fully embrace all that you are. Being able to perform the script myself gave me the chance to express much more than just my words on a page.”

    Actor Charlotte McEvoy reflected on working on ‘Jellyfish’ by Cornish writer Jaime Lock, “I loved being part of such a special and exciting project, I really hope people can see part of themselves in the story- I know I wish I had seen more media like this when I was younger!”

    We'd love to know what you think of the films and if you are a member of the LGBTQ community interested in writing for theatre, audio or film please get in touch with us as a new version of our free writer programme will begin in Spring 2023. You can learn more at www.downstagewrite.uk or email us at info@downstagewrite.uk

     THE BRYONY HOTEL by Bee Jarvis

    Performed by Samantha Tossu

    Bryony has always been a welcoming person, but opening her home up during an unprecedented global pandemic brings risks but also the possibility of love.

    NOT AN OPTION by Fynn Roberts

    Performed by Maisy Barlow

    A simple box on a local council form. A non-binary hacker with a message. A whole host of possible options.

    JELLYFISH by Jaime Lock

    Performed by Charlotte McEvoy

    Did you know Jellyfish don’t need sperm to reproduce? But for other creatures the path to parenthood isn’t so straightforward….

    PRIVATE by Robin Oliver

    Performed by Robin Oliver.

    Tomorrow is a big day for Benjamin. The big reveal. And sometimes you need a private conversation with a friend to help you prepare.

     

    Director: Jon Nash

    Director of Photography and Editor: Hector Manchego

    Sound Recordist and Production Assistant: Gian Carlo Ferrini

    Produced by Down Stage Write and 45 Degrees Photography

    Supported by Arts Council England.

     

    Down Stage Write CIC creates development and production opportunities for Playwrights in Devon and Cornwall. Write Out Loud! Is our programme for LGBTQ+ writers. For more information or to take part: www.downstagewrite.uk

  18. EXETER FRINGE FESTIVAL – WHAT NEXT? R&D SHARING

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    The artists for our Exeter Fringe Festival - What Next? R&D have settled into their venues today for a busy week of exploration & experimentation, ready for our sharing day on Sunday 23rd Oct in the main auditorium. 

    Having relaunched Exeter Fringe Festival in 2019, Alex & Elaine have recently decided to step away from running future festivals. With so many Devon-based artists and companies looking for the kind of development and performance opportunities that the Fringe had started to offer, a group of Exeter-based arts organisations has come together to make a smaller Fringe event happen this year, and to host a gathering, open to anyone involved or interested in theatre and performance in Exeter, to discuss the future of the Exeter Fringe and what we can do to continue to support performance artists based in the city.

     

    "In light of the Exeter Fringe announcement, we wanted to make sure that there was still an opportunity for Exeter-based artists to create and share their work, and so partners across the City came together to provide a week's worth of rehearsal space. The event on 23rd October is an exciting opportunity to see 9 new ideas come to life, followed by a discussion hosted by Performance in Exeter on what should happen next for the Exeter Fringe."

    Helen Bovey (Talent Development Producer, Exeter Northcott Theatre) & Naomi Turner (Performance Programmer, Exeter Phoenix)

     

    To launch the week we’ve asked the artists to share a bit about what they’re going to be working on:

     

    SHARING #1 (11am)

     

    Restless Theatre (Theatre Alibi)

    Title: Monstrous Love Revisited

    Using a mix of collaged classical texts and autobiographical new writing Restless Theatre are exploring new ways to question abusive behaviour through focussing on the agency of the survivors within these narratives.

     

    Jeremy Holloway (Cygnet Theatre)

    Whether you suffer from body dysmorphism, dyslexia and /or depression is often a lottery. How do you react if your ball is drawn?

     

    Ricochet Theatre (Kaleider)

    Ricochet Theatre are investigating instances throughout history where stories, whether they are real or fictional, are repurposed by modern authors to fit their own ideology. We are interested in questions of authorship, ownership, and what it means to reclaim a story.

     

    The Yoko Situation (Exeter Phoenix)

    ‘Teddy Midnight’ is a new dramedy play by The Yoko Situation - a love story from the perspective of a so-called manic pixie dream girl. The story explores how society, cishet men, and even neurodivergent women themselves cultivate this trope and the magic mirrors of navigating a relationship defined by it. The Yoko Situation is a new art collective led by writer/director Penn Balint (a veteran of bright hair and dating shy men), focusing on trans- and disabled narratives.

     

    Owl On The Roof Theatre (Exeter College)

    The Children of Lir is a dark fairy story from Celtic folk law. It tells the story of an adoptive mother who transforms her four new children into swans.

    The magic of the original story is replaced with surrealism and elements of horror as the old house they are staying in comes to life with the will of the new mother figure, and her deceased sister.

    The clutter and mess of old memories needs tidying away before the house can be sold, but the house seems to respond to Aoife. Acting on her subconscious, the house responds when the children act up or push her away, beginning to steal them away one by one."

     

    SHARING #2 (2pm)

     

    Break The Glass (Exeter Northcott Theatre)

    40 Elephants is a piece of actor-musician theatre. Set in a 1920s Music Hall, the troupe of performers dramatize the true stories of The 40 Elephants, Britain's first female crime syndicate. Focusing on the rise and fall of Alice Diamond the gang's longest running leader, and her second in command Maggie Hughes; the piece explores the struggles of women born into poverty in the early 20th century and the dangerous methods they took to escape.

     

    Excessive Human Collective (Maketank)

    Discopia ‘How did you go bankrupt?’ Bill asked. ‘Two ways,’ Mike said. ‘Gradually and then suddenly.’ Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises. 

    A performer finds herself in a desolate landscape littered with digital waste. She learns to communicate through the creation, repetition, and distortion of sound and movement. Found sounds are recorded and translated, the sound of a car is transformed into an echo of waves - this is their only connection to a world which once was. Can they use the technology which ultimately destroyed them to rebuild a better world? Responding to our acceleration towards ecological breakdown, and the reimagining of net zero futures we will examine what labour might look like in a post- work world, how value might be defined when money becomes valueless and where people will invest their most treasured currency - time. This is a new dance theatre work created by Excessive Human Collective with original music by Devon Bonelli and The Larisa Trio. 

    This R&D week will be used to develop the projection and a solo excerpt of the work, which can be toured separately when it is not possible to tour the full length version.

     

    Aimee Sweet (Exeter Library)

    ‘KNOTS' is a piece of new writing exploring female friendship and identity. It is a two-person play that fuses gig theatre, spoken word and physical theatre to examine a fiercely intimate and layered friendship.

     

    South West Dance Hub (The Hall)

    South West Dance will collaborate on R & D exploring 3 original multi-art form works involving costume, projection, voice and gesture, which have dance and movement at the core. We are exploring themes around ambiguity and hidden meanings, loss and social movement.

     

    After the sharings, there’ll be an opportunity to network and we’re delighted that Performance-in-Exeter (PiE) will also be hosting an open conversation style discussion at 4pm on the future of Exeter Fringe and theatre-making within the city & surrounding areas, to finish off the day. 

     

    You can book your free tickets for Sun 23rd here

  19. October Half Term at Exeter Phoenix

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    Looking for some indoor activities for all the family this October half term?

    We've got something for everyone in our programme - from theatre shows, to all-new art exhibitions, to spooky themed workshops in time for Halloween! We can't wait to welcome you back!

    THEATRE AND FILM

    DINOSAURS AND ALL THAT RUBBISH

    TESSA BIDE PRODUCTIONS

    MON 24 OCT | 2pm | Age 3+

    Man’s dream to reach the stars leaves the world in ruins and disturbs the sleeping dinosaurs. Will they wake up and save planet Earth?

    THE GRIMM SISTERS

    AT EXETER LIBRARY

    TUE 25 OCT | 6.30pm | Age 6+

    You know the Brothers Grimm? The famous storytellers…or story stealers more like! Their sisters were the true brains behind the books, but thanks to a treacherous father, a nasty curse and a great big dollop of bad luck, you’ve probably never heard of them.

    THE LOST KING (12)

    FILM SCREENING

    VARIOUS DATES (SEE WEBSITE) | RATED 12

    THE LOST KING reunites the creative team behind the hit film Philomena and tells the legendary, true-tale behind the rediscovery of King Richard III burial site.

    ART AND COURSES

    EXETER CONTEMP OPEN

    FREE EXHIBITION

    FRI 16 SEP  - SUN 06 NOV | OPEN DAILY

    The welcome return of Exeter Contemporary Open, which presents a significant annual showcase of some of the best emerging and established contemporary visual artists from across the UK. Make sure to vote for your favourites!

    YOUR FACE/MY FACE

    FAMILY WORKSHOP

    TUE 25 OCT | 2pm | Age 8+

    £20* per pair (£10* per additional person)

    Work in pairs with a family member or friend and use fun techniques to create portraits of each other.

    STAR IN YOUR OWN MONSTER MOVIE

    THU 27 OCT - FRI 28 OCT | 10am - 4pm | Age 8-13

    This two day workshop will give an introduction into digital composites, green screen and stop frame animation by combining video footage of you battling a stop motion monster or villain of your own creation!

  20. Have a very ‘Mary’ Christmas with Quirk Theatre!

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    This December, South West based Quirk Theatre brings to life the astonishing true local story of Mary The Pigeon Who Never Gave Up, in partnership with Exeter Phoenix and The Plough Arts Centre, Torrington. A magical alternative to panto and a festive treat for the whole family!

    For two decades, Quirk Theatre's beloved and memorable shows have given children their first experience of live theatre. Exeter Phoenix are delighted to welcome them back to produce what will be their 19th unforgettable, hilarious and heartwarming Christmas show with the venue - and this one is set to be their best yet!

    Did you know that pigeons are actually… superheroes?

    Set in Exeter during WW2, Mary The Pigeon Who Never Gave Up, follows the thrilling true story of one very special local pigeon, who flew top secret messages home from France during World War 2.

    Mary’s owner, Cecil (known as Charlie) Brewer, was a bootmaker and pigeon racer. Charlie lived at 6 West Street, Exeter, where he had his bootmaking workshop, photography darkroom and his pigeon loft in the attic. When war broke out, Charlie signed Mary up to serve in the National Pigeon Service. She was injured three times in duty but never gave up, earning her the Dickin Medal for Gallantry when the war ended.

    Visually beautiful, heartfelt and uproariously funny, join Mary, the madcap members of the National Pigeon Service, a lost flamingo and a Polish Eagle Owl from Squadron 307 as they all try to find their way home.

    This year, Quirk are also publishing a brand new picture book of this special story illustrated by collage artist, Rosie Race, and the people of Exeter! All summer long, Quirk have been running painting and collage workshops for schools and community groups in Exeter, creating beautiful collage  illustrations for the book. In partnership with Exeter City of Literature, Exeter Library and BookBag Exeter the professionally produced community book will be published in time for World Book Day in March 2023.

    Naomi Jackson, a teacher at Stoke Hill Primary, said: “The children were incredibly excited to be involved in work that will be printed and in which so many different groups of people have been involved.  They loved watching their pigeons take on individual personalities. Every child felt their success.”

    And the good news is that when you book for the show at Exeter Phoenix, you can get 10% discount on pre-orders for the book!

    Pay it Forward - and give someone else a ‘Mary Christmas’ too!

    Exeter Phoenix and Quirk have teamed up with Refugee Support Devon to run a Pay It Forward Scheme for the second year. So when you buy your tickets, you can add a little (or a lottle) to ensure another family gets the gift of live theatre this Christmas. Last year 11 refugee families were able to attend the show thanks to generous donations. Arif & Wesel brought their family to see Rhia & The Tree of Lights, saying: “Thank you for drawing a smile on our children's faces.”

    Plough Arts Centre, Torrington: 30th November- 3rd December 

    https://www.theploughartscentre.org.uk/event/mary-pigeon-who-never-gave

    Exeter Phoenix: 18th- 28th December 

    https://exeterphoenix.org.uk/events/quirk-theatre-mary-the-pigeon-who-never-gave-up/

    Produced with funding from Arts Council England, Exeter City Council and Devon County Council.

  21. A Summer Art Camp Recap!

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    Over August, we teamed up with Positive Light Projects and MakeTank to create our Summer Art Camp, a whole month of workshops for all ages, art classes, studio socials, ‘inspired by’ sessions, artist’s film screenings and so much more. Creative collaborations, artistic explorations and human connections could be found around every corner! Thanks to the generous support of the Scops Arts Trust and Waitrose in Exeter, many of these activities were completely free for the local community.

    Here’s some of the activities we got up to at Summer Art Camp 2022

    Throughout the month of August, our top studio transformed into a hub of artistic discovery and creative wonder - From improving techniques to taking inspiration from artistic greats such as Hilma AF Klint and Eileen Agar, our art classes were the perfect introduction for budding artists of all ages and abilities to expand skillsets, refine their craft and widen their artistic scope!

    For our little creatives, we hosted sculpt a Selfie sessions, where little ones created clay models of faces, forming shapes and sculpting the most creative of selfies! Our staple multi-generational workshop Your Face/My Face was a hit with families too, as pairs sketched away to replicate their partners face in drawings.

    Two women looking at a yellow painting on an easel
    sketchbooks on a table with people sat around chatting

    On Tue 2 Aug and Tue 16 Aug, we hosted a Studio Social for Summer Art Camp 2022, the chance for people to chat over a cuppa with like-minded creatives, share ideas, work on projects and get to know one another.

    Our workshop space was bustling with creative energy as artists from different walks of life came together and connected over their love of art.

    Over at Positive Light Projects, a team of artists led by Molly Rooke and Laura Robertson put together a Summer Art Camp installation which included a giant ice cream and a cheeky seagull. The installation was a backdrop for a whole host of free, family events, that included Sensory Seaside, Dream Holiday Collage and Knobbly Knee Painting workshops and provided entertainment for the passers-by on Sidwell Street!

    To wrap up our Summer Art Camp season for 2022, Make Tank hosted a bunch of workshops led by the amazing Word and Voice Theatre group from Lviv, Ukraine. The Summer Kitchen events explored and celebrated Ukrainian culture through music, food and discussion and bought together recent refugees from Ukraine, Exeter locals and other visitors to the city.

    A young girl stretches a pink slime solution in her hands. She is sat at a table. There is a blue board behind her covered in a seaside themed decoration

    View our photo gallery from Summer Art Camp 2022 

    SEE MORE LIKE THIS

    WATERCOLOUR FOR IMPROVERS

    Tue 13 Sep - Tue 11 Oct

    During this 5 week course you will be guided through techniques that build your confidence in using this popular medium and supported to develop your own paintings.

    BEGINNERS DRAWING

    Tue 13 Sep - Tue 11 Oct

    A step-by-step journey introducing you to basic and intermediate drawing techniques.

    DRAWN TO IT: FIND JOY IN YOUR SKETCHBOOKS

    Wed 14 Sep - Wed 14 Dec

    This workshop will showcase different tips and tricks to help you learn to treat your sketchbook as a place to get loose, have fun, document and play!