Tag Archive: christmas

  1. 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.

  2. 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 


    Exeter Phoenix: 18th- 28th December 


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



    Exeter Phoenix are proud to host this extraordinary series of artworks on the façade of our building that function both as alternative Christmas lights and as urgent reminders of the steps we all need to take in tackling the climate crisis.

    LOVE IS THE HIGHEST ECONOMY is a series of low voltage LED, illuminated text sculptures, originally installed by Still/Moving at different locations around Glasgow for the duration of the recent COP26 conference. The works were made with various community groups around the country during 2021, as well as indigenous representatives and leaders, and with delegates at COP itself.

    Here, they are presented together for the first time as a message of hope and caution at a time of year when ideas of peace, goodwill and love come into tension with conspicuous consumption and excess.


    Still/Moving is composed of three artists, Laura Hopes, Martin Hampton and Léonie Hampton, who met when they were 13. Living in Devon, UK, their collective practice aims to create social and ecological change through questioning established modes of thinking and behaviour. Projects are developed through a process of collaborative and participatory dialogue and activity among each other and with partner communities. Inspired by the artist Louise Bourgeois who said ‘It is not about the medium, it is about what you are trying to say’, their work emerges in diverse forms, including sculpture, film, photography, performance, installation, the spoken and printed word.

    Léonie has an internationally acclaimed fine art practice. She studied Art history, specialising in contemporary European and American art, and is a part time MA Photography tutor at LCC London. Martin is an award-winning filmmaker who co-founded Squint/Opera with architect Will Alsop. He studied Architecture at The Bartlett, UCL, specialising in speculative designs for extreme locations such as the moon and intertidal zones. Laura is an artist and AHRC funded PhD candidate, whose research project focuses upon the relationship between climate change and colonisation.


    LOVE IS THE HIGEST ECONOMY comes from the powerful and moving words written and performed by the author Ben Okri with his partner Charlotte Jarvis on the penultimate day of COP26 in Glasgow.

    You can read Ben Okri’s performance speech in full here.


    Green meadows, Nottingham

    IT’S STARTED resonates with the Green Meadows values as we recognise there is strength in every individual to make change happen. ‘IT’S STARTED’ also expresses the sense of urgency towards the rising temperatures and how we need to act now.

    “Tackling climate change can feel an impossible task as an individual and many of the community members we engage with are waiting for changes to start on a national scale. The Green Meadows project aims to empower Meadows residents to take immediate, local action, and tackle climate change together.”

    Heather Hodkinson, Community Engagement Officer, Green Meadows



    Our Streets Chorlton, Manchester

    Ripple Effect is a phrase that was coined by the fantastic School Champions in Chorlton; a group who have brought together an entire community of parents, guardians, teachers and local residents, having turned an initial conversation into tangible climate action.

    “With a focus on improving our streets outside of our schools, the School Champions Network have pushed for safer, healthier and greener journeys for families when dropping off and picking up their kids from school. Change starts on our doorsteps and in our communities, and the Our Streets Chorlton’s School Champions have proven that with purpose and a desire to make change, one idea can turn into activity across an entire area.

    Our Streets Chorlton is a community-led climate action project in the heart of south Manchester. We are here to start a conversation, one centred on how local people can help to reduce carbon emissions by enabling Chorlton people to reduce local and short car journeys.”



    Bude Climate Partnership, Devon

    “Remote, peripheral and perched on the North Atlantic shore, Bude is exposed to the force of thousands of miles of steadily rising ocean and increasingly fierce winter storms hitting its shoreline, putting it very much ON THE EDGE – physically and metaphorically – of the sharpest impacts of climate change.

    As the most sensitive location in the UK to sea-level rise, our challenge as a community is to find ways to protect our town, our way of life and our cherished coastline, parts of which are currently retreating at a rate of a metre a year, while also reducing our own impacts on the climate crisis.”

    Bude Climate Partnership has united community and environmental groups in working together to make positive changes that will ensure our town, its surrounding communities and landscapes have a long and safe future ON THE EDGE of Cornwall, Britain and the sharpest impacts of the climate crisis.’



    “Article 8 of the Paris Agreement outlines the responsibilities of countries to take action on loss and damage. Addressing loss and damage stands alongside mitigation and adaptation as a fundamental pillar of climate action. But despite signing on to the Agreement, the wealthy countries who contributed the most to causing loss and damage are still unwilling to provide the finance and support needed to address it.”

    During this COP Scotland become the first rich country to publicly contribute to Loss and Damage by giving 1 million. Over the following days at COP other countries are also finally rising to this responsibility and paving the way for reparations.


    “Originally conceived in a pilot project with #LetterstotheEarth and #WeGlimpse aimed to link the G7 meeting in Carbis Bay to the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. Through conversations on the street and workshops, we wanted to find out what local people felt needed to be said. People expressed there need TO BE HEARD. In COP 26 partnering with LTTE (Listening to the Land Pilgrimage) Still/Moving showed this work at to Kelburn Castle on Sunday the 7th November where many Indigenous elders and Delegates from Vulnerable countries are hosted along with the pilgrims.”


    This seminal phrase is key to the work of environmental lawyer Farhana Yamin: “Justice Reset” is a unifying demand to COP26. It gathers all constituencies whose call for climate justice and just transition recognises the need for a complete overhaul of the existing system by shifting resources and political power to those with less.