Join us this week for Signal Fires and experience a unique and intimate theatre performance from the comfort and safety of your home.
What is Signal Fires?
Signal Fires is a celebration of our fundamental need to tell stories. Touring theatre companies have joined forces to form a network of beacons up and down the UK, each one a signal that the energy and artistry of the theatre sector still burns bright, though it continues to face such dark days.
Fuel and Eden Court have joined forces to light a fire in the Highlands, albeit virtually. All through this week you can experience a live storytelling performance over the phone, featuring one of five newly commissioned pieces of writing, including one by Scotland-based Egyptian playwright Sara Shaarawi. Some are sparky and lively, others are warm and glowing, but they all respond in some way to the duality of fire.
Reimagining live performance
This year has forced the arts industry to think very differently and to find new creative ways to bring artists and audiences together.
Digital streaming can be great, but it doesn’t always have the same magic as live theatre. And for some of us, it is hard to access. We’re no strangers to dodgy Wifi connection in the Highlands, and many people don’t have access to computers and other digital devices. That’s why it felt important to bring our audience a simpler experience – all you need is a phone and 10 minutes.
Sharing stories on the phone feels like a different way to connect people with a shared experience. With Signal Fires, we’ve tried to recapture some of the elements that make a night at the theatre so special. The performance is happening live, just for you, and we encourage you to create a cosy atmosphere for yourself.
The first night
Last night, without leaving the cosiness of my sofa in Inverness, and with a cup of tea in hand, I travelled across three continents, with three beautifully different stories. Will Power’s Californian parable of race and the environment, performed powerfully by Ewan Black, couldn’t be more timely on the eve of the US election. The poetry of Kiki Katese’s Rwandan tale of love and grief, told by Akiyawerikumo Henry, encouraged me to step away from the stresses of the world and be present. I ended the evening in Bangalore, India, where Hema Palani’s story of a family secret was told with warmth and humour by Bharti Patel.
It was wonderful to light an imaginary fire and connect with another person for this intimate act of theatre. I invite you to do the same: book yourself a 10 minute time slot - a short and calming pause in your day - and to settle yourself somewhere snug, close your eyes and listen.
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