Research and Development Programme

The research and development programme is a number of new pieces of work being developed in the city centre in partnership with Maketank, Exeter Library and The Hall by local theatre makers.

These events don’t have public showings – instead they will be shared with cultural leaders from across the South West to link up better development opportunities for artists to have their work developed and programmed.

Lucy Corely – Meet Me at Dawn (Working title)

“As we emerge from a global pandemic and attempt to find ‘the new normal,’ the UK faces the impact of trauma and loss at both a personal and national level. Meet Me At Dawn engages with these themes with poignant lyricism in a contemporary retelling of Orpheus and Eurydice. Through an R&D process, I aim to explore how two-camera live projection (with memories it evokes of virtual connection) can be combined with live performance to create a fractured world. Flickering between dream and hallucination, between Devon beach and hospital ward, the show aims to be a vivid kinaesthetic experience that creates space for its audience to engage with grief and loss.

Donald Craigie – Enos

A multi-media solo-show inspired by the true story of Enos – an astronaut in the NASA space programme who was the first and last chimpanzee to orbit the Earth. ‘Enos’ combines NASA mission audio with personal conversations and visual images created from movement and household objects in a small space. If ‘Enos’ had a subtitle, it would be the ‘overview effect’ – the name given to the phenomenon experienced by astronauts who look back at the Earth from space and realise it is the only place in the Universe we can call home.

Finlay Carroll – Lavender

Lavender is a new play by emerging South West playwright Holly Fitzpatrick. Produced by a team of Exeter University graduates, the piece dissects the intersecting forces of homophobia, misogyny, and Christian iconography through the lives of Nancy and Lucy. Following an illuminating workshop this June, Exeter Fringe is an ideal petri-dish to develop the play, extending it and preparing it for new audiences both in the South West and further afield. As a piece which forefronts female relationships, and specifically queer female relationships, Lavender offers a theatrical perspective fresh to the local area.

Grace Hancock & Matthew Short – Mindful Encounters (Working Title)

This will be a devised piece of musically-infused theatre pitched as a meditative journey inspired by nature and urban coexistence. With a narrative arc focused on finding, creating, and sustaining community where city meets wild lands at the edges of Exeter, the audience will act as agents in choosing the pathway the story takes. Perspective will be the driving force of the performance, and the actors perspectives will be shaping the journey during the devising period. It brings in Matthew’s experience with ethnographic dramaturgy, and Grace’s music that explores mindful engagement in emotional storytelling.

Micha Colombo – Unsung

‘Unsung’ is a feminist retelling of the Medusa myth. It explores power and gender. I am writing the first draft. My vision is a dark, ‘poor theatre’-style studio play with three actors. Perseus begins the classical tale but Medusa triggers an angry fragmentation. She shifts from strange outsider to something unifying. Athena represents power elites, modelled on current leaders. The piece will move from structured narrative to a physical unravelling, from familiar storytelling to something dangerous and chaotic. Instead of just engaging intellectually with a classical myth, I want people to having a physical response to it.

Danielle McIlven and James Harker – Meinhof

‘MEINHOF’ explores the controversial life of Ulrike Meinhof — journalist, activist, terrorist, mother — a woman who gave up her life as a parent and writer to form the most infamous guerrilla network in Western Europe.   Using an ensemble of Devon-based actors, ‘MEINHOF’ strips the dust and nostalgia from Meinhof’s story, bringing her blistering words and radical ideas to our current age of generational reckoning and failing political structures. A challenging look at a complicated figure.

Alex Robins and Fynn Roberts – Things What We Do (Working Title)

The original ‘Things What We Do’ was staged at 2018’s Plymouth Fringe. This version of the show was a series of minute-long scenes performed by four multi-rolling actors to jigsaw together a narrative looking at life’s largest and smallest moments. We will use the feedback and guidance we received back then to reforge the play, placing it firmly in Exeter. Our cast will represent the area’s inhabitants and our scenes will be inspired by their lives.

Riversmeet – Frederick Douglass in Exeter (Working Title)

The piece is an interconnected live drama and filmed documentary about the historic significance of escaped slave/leading abolitionist Frederick Douglass visit to Exeter in 1846. It will examine how time and place synchronise a space and connect people and events in Exeter between two time lines. The final live drama script will emerge from the development week and we aim ultimately (in 2022) to perform where possible at original locations in Exeter and more conventional venues. The film will follow the development week process setting the work firmly within the context of both C19th abolitionism and the contemporary struggle against racism.