Author Archives: Dettie Ellerby

  1. Attention Filmmakers! 2021 Commissions Now Open

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    Attention filmmakers! Applications to our filmmaking commissions schemes are now open. Over the years we have awarded over 100 short film commissions, putting the South West on the filmmaking map and helping filmmakers take the next steps in their creative careers. Last year, our short film commission Shuttlecock (dir. Tommy Gillard) won the Best Short Film award at BFI London Film Festival; will your short film idea be next?

    This year, our commissions will support the production of short films from all genres of film, supporting new and emerging talent within the South West. The bursaries will recognise and support new, fresh and inspiring ideas and help connect filmmakers and creative individuals to a wider network in the region. We are proud to offer this platform and opportunity for new work to be created and shared.

    Applications open now for:

    Find out more about these opportunities including how to apply here >> 

    We can't wait to read your applications and look forward to hearing about your filmmaking ideas!

    'Working with Exeter Phoenix to realise the film has been an amazing journey, and really shines a light on how important regional arts centres are, especially now. I’d urge every filmmaker to use and work with the arts venues close to them, as they can really push you to make your best work!'
    - Director Tommy Gillard, commissioned filmmaker 2020

  2. Lockdown: Exeter Phoenix Is Temporarily Closed

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    Mon 11 Jan, 2021

    Due to the current lockdown restrictions, Exeter Phoenix is temporarily closed and events are postponed. Our box office team are currently getting in touch with affected ticket holders and we will announce rescheduled event dates in due course.

    During this lockdown we will be keeping the cultural conversations alive with a range of online creative activity. For the first time ever, our annual Two Short Nights Film Festival will be available online, and you can take part in our 48 Hour Film Challenge for free from the comfort of your home. We will also be joined by Mark Thomas for some 'lockdown livestreams'. If you have exhausted everything that Netflix has to offer, keep an eye out for our Virtual Cinema announcements.

    Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to find out about more virtual events and activity.

    If you have any questions you can contact us here.

    We look forward to opening our doors and welcoming you back soon. We miss you!

    Illustration of coins
  3. BFI FAN Film Exhibition Awards Announced

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    We are delighted to announce that Exeter Phoenix has been awarded £5,200 from the BFI Film Exhibition Fund.

    The BFI FAN Film Exhibition Fund (awarding over £750,000 UK wide) has been made available via BFI’s National Lottery funding to the BFI Film Audience Network (FAN). Through the BFI Film Exhibition Fund, Film Hub South West has awarded over £97,000 to South West exhibitors to support diverse programming and bring audiences back to the big screen.

    Exeter Phoenix are absolutely delighted to be a recipient of this funding. We look forward to using it to resume screenings, renew independent film culture and boost cultural programming to engage diverse audiences in Exeter. This funding will ensure that you have the best cinema experience possible when we welcome you back to Studio 74.

    19 film exhibitors across the South West region have received awards to boost cultural programming and activities to engage diverse audiences as lockdown restrictions ease. More information about the nationwide impact of the FAN Film Exhibition Fund is available via The Bigger Picture.

    Find out more about our independent, solar-powered cinema Studio 74 here >>

  4. Introducing Props: Our New Series Of Radio Plays With Documental Theatre

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    Did you know that earlier this year we welcomed Documental Theatre's Lucy Bell as our first artist in residence under our Associate Artist scheme? Lucy has just embarked on a brilliant new project called Props, co-produced by Exeter Phoenix.

    Props will see the creations a series of radio plays inspired by people who support others, often foregoing their own freedoms to do so. Documental Theatre will be interviewing carers, families of people in custody, loved ones of people with an insecure immigration status and military families, among others

    There has never been a more pressing time for a project like this. While the world at large experiences isolation, it feels like a good moment to connect with these kinds of stories, from people who have lived with a 'new normal' for years.

    Award-winning director Sarah Meadows, an alumna of the prestigious Old Vic 12 scheme, will lead a diverse team of writers who will respond to the research, creating six contemporary fifteen-minute radio plays, for broadcast on National Prison Radio, Phonic FM, Soundart Radio and other stations in spring 2021

    Alongisde the radio plays, Documental Theatre will also be creating an evocative digital archive of contributors’ domestic lives and treasured possessions. This archive will be available to view alongside the audio content. 

    Speaking about the project in November, Lucy Bell said: 'At a time when many performance venues remain dark, it is really exciting to be producing high-quality drama out of Exeter. The PROPS series will reach people across the country, in homes, in cells, possibly in barracks, at a time when we are physically apart but arguably more connected to each others’ struggles than we have been for years.'. 

    The Creative Team

    Writers include Stephen Myott-Meadows, Neela Dolezalova and Documental artistic director Lucy Bell, with further writers to be confirmed.

    Jack Drewry, an associate artist of Wardrobe Ensemble and artistic director of Tremolo Theatre, will be the sound editor. Ben Kwasi Burrell, who composed the score for Small Island at the National Theatre, will compose the themes and refrains for the plays.

    The series will be produced by Exeter Phoenix's Live Programme Coordinator, Naomi Turner

    Sound Gallery’s Duncan Chave will be editing micro-podcasts by contributors to accompany the series. 

    Keep an eye out for a cast announcement in the new year! 

    Follow the project

    Visit Documental Theatre's website for more information. Follow Documental Theatre on Twitter or Facebook for the latest project updates.

    Props radio series is part-funded by Golsoncott Foundation.

  5. Our Café Bar Terrace Reopens

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    We are delighted to be welcoming you back to our Café Bar Terrace from Wed 2 Dec. Our brand new new all-weather covering for the terrace will be joined by infrared heaters, so you can expect a warm welcome when you pay us a visit. Read on to hear about some more changes, from festive baguettes to our new house rules.

    House Rules

    With Exeter Phoenix in Tier 2, things have changed a little. We have put a few basic rules in place to keep you safe and compliant, whether you are eating a substantial meal or not!

    • Our kitchen will be serving our full menu from 11am-7pm 
    • Last entry will be at 7pm 
    • Alcohol will only be served to customers who are ordering a main meal from our menu
    • Tables will be available to groups for up to two hours at a time 
    • During this time, we will not be serving shots and all alcohol service will be at the servers discretion. 

    A New Menu

    We have some exciting new hot drinks in our repertoire, all at £3.50:

    • Turmeric lattes
    • Raspberry white hot chocolates
    • Peppermint hot chocolate

    Plus we are introducing some seasonal changes to our menu, starting with three new wraps:

    • 3 Bean Chilli wrap with cheddar, guacamole and nachos
    • Fish ( / fishless) finger wraps with lettuce, pea puree and home made tartare sauce.
    • A festive turkey, brie, bacon and sweet chilli wrap is also joining he menu.

    It's the season of Christmas sandwiches! Our festive baguettes will be served with chips and gravy, so choose from:

    • Roast turkey and stuffing baguette
    • Veggie sausage and stuffing baguette

    Sunday Roasts

    Our popular Sunday roasts will be making a comeback! Keep an eye on our what's on pages for more information soon.  

  6. What Tier 2 Means For Exeter Phoenix

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    As we’re sure you have heard, Exeter has been placed in Tier 2 of coronavirus restrictions. 

    The good news is that our Café Bar Terrace will reopen on Wed 2 Dec, with two exciting changes since we last saw you. We will be unveiling our new Christmas menu, and a new all-weather covering has been constructed across the terrace, fitted with cosy infrared heaters. We’ll be sharing our Christmas menu, opening times and further info next week.

    Our cinema will remain closed for the time being, but we are planning to screen some classic Christmas films from 11th December. Watch this space for more details next week! 

    Maker Mart – our independent art shop on Gandy Street – will reopen on Wed 2 Dec. If you ask us, this is the perfect place to pick up extra special Christmas gifts, and the perfect year to shop local! 

    Dream Maker our Christmas show from Paddleboat Theatre Company – will be going ahead as planned, and it is shaping up to be a wonderful festive treat. This will be strictly for households/support bubbles. If your booking group is not all one household/support bubble please get in touch with our Visitor Services Manager Anna-Ruth Peel-Cusson so that we can arrange seating you in separate, adjacent seating pods.  

    Unfortunately our auditorium, cinema, galleries and studios will remain closed for the time being. Live shows will be postponed, and rescheduled dates will be announced as soon as they are confirmed. We will get in touch with ticket holders directly about the following affected events to let you know your options: 

    • Further Drawing workshops
    • Seth Lakeman
    • RGS Lecture Series: Felicity Aston
    • Sound Of The Sirens
    • Nigel Clark 
    • Everyday Photography Skills
    • Life Drawing
    • Steampunk Masked Yule Ball
    • Jackie Oates & John Spiers
    • Introduction To Adobe Photoshop

    Our Wreath Making workshops will still go ahead as planned, in our new outdoor marquée space. We will be in touch with ticket holders with details about this. 

    These measures will be in place until 16th December and we will make an announcement in due course about what will happen next. In the meantime, we look forward to welcoming you back onto our terrace. 

  7. A Song For Us – a new project celebrating the power of music

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    A celebration of lives and communities through music

    We are delighted to announce that we are partnering on an exciting new project, celebrating the power of music to bring people together.

    As part of this national music project, Seth Lakeman is creating a new song inspired by the people of Devon performed by a local ensemble. It will be streamed online from 23 March 2021 at alongside other new songs by Gavin Bryars (East Riding), This is the Kit & Bucky (Bristol) and Skinny Pelembe (South Yorkshire).

    Alongside these headline songs, budding songsmiths will also be invited to upload their own songs to the website from January 2021. You can also use the website to share a song that holds special meaning. Together, we will create a musical map of the UK.

    A Song for Us celebrates creativity in everyone; whether performing, composing, or listening. Produced by Sound UK in partnership with Junction Goole, Higher Rhythm, Bristol Music Trust, Exeter Phoenix, Beaford Arts and Villages in Action.

    Expect more updates about this exciting project in the new year.

  8. Bloom 2020: A virtual mental health awareness festival

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    In the light on national lockdown, Exeter Phoenix moved our annual festival of Mental Health Awareness online. Bloom 2020 saw a host of virtual events to mark Mental Health Awareness Week. In the context of a global pandemic and national lockdown, Bloom felt more vital and relevant than ever. 

    We would like to extend a thank you to the Elmgrant Trust and Wellcome Centre For Cultures & Environments of Health. We are very grateful for the support you provided this year to ensure that Bloom Festival could go ahead.

    Festival Timetable

    A timetable of activity. A text based version is available on Facebook

    Community Projects

    We felt that inviting the community to help shape Bloom 2020 was important. To this end, before the festival we invited people to submit their lockdown artwork to be included in a virtual exhibition. We had a really positive response to this, with 119 contributions from a broad range of professional artists to children’s drawings. The launch of the exhibition marked the start of the festival. You can see the exhibition here

    We also worked with Spork to create a community poem. We invited people to respond to the prompts of ‘I miss…’, ‘I didn’t expect to miss…’ and ‘I don’t miss…’ to create a poem reflecting on lockdown. You can hear Spork’s Chris White perform the community poem below. 

    We teamed up with the National Poetry Archive to create a collection of poetry for people to enjoy. We invited the community to submit their favourite poems into the collection, which you can see here >>

    We partnered with the Exeter's YMCA, who shared our festival with their service users, and provided us with useful information and links to where to access help and support.

    Festival Partners

    We partnered with Wellcome Centre for Cultures and Environments of Health, hosting an online conversation about the challenges Covid-19 poses for loneliness and mental health. The session was attended by mental health service users, mental health service providers, people working with vulnerable groups in the community, and members of Exeter’s wider community. The Wellcome Centre ran a second, interactive Zoom session called Response and Responsibility: Conversations on Self Harm, offering support to people who may be reaching out to friends or family to discuss issues around self harm. 

    We worked with Good Gym Exeter for three sessions, including a fitness session for all the family, tips and tricks to stay motivated, and an introduction to how The Good Gym’s work combines good deeds with group exercise. 

    Exeter Library ran a virtual story time for children during lockdown. To coincide with Bloom, they shared Hugless Douglas, a book for children touching on mental health themes. Exeter Library also hosted a virtual community chat, offering a chance for people feeling lonely or isolated to get together in a light, pressure-free setting.

    We teamed up with Time To Change's regional coordinator, Bathsheba, who hosted a conversation on young adult loneliness with Emily, a researcher at Bournemouth University. You can watch that conversation again here >>

    Other Events

    Musician BC Camplight, whose gig at Exeter Phoenix was cancelled due to lockdown, hosted an online gig called Songs From A Weird Place. His latest album (Shortly After Takeoff) was driven by his own ongoing battle with mental illness. You can watch BC Camplight's Bloom set again here >>

    Local mental health advocate Well Raver hosted two online virtual raves, brining together music and a discussion of a personal, lived experience of mental health recovery.

    We shared a free streaming of the film Kinetics, exploring how a woman kept moving after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

    Local musician Emily Howard held a free, online live-from-lockdown acoustic gig for Bloom.

    Another of Exeter's local musician Chris Ostler also shared an online gig as part of the festival. You can watch the set again here.

    Until next year...

    The Mental Health Foundation have announced the theme for Mental Health Awareness Week 2021 will be nature and the environment. We look forward to sharing nature-themed Bloom activity with you in May 2021.

    If you have any feedback, questions, or would like to get involved in Bloom 2021, please contact