Introducing the project.

Outside the Box is an AHRC funded response to the Covid-19 pandemic, led by researchers from the University of Exeter. The project team is headed by Dr. Evelyn O’Malley (Drama), working with Prof Cathy Turner (Drama) and Prof Tim Coles (Business School). We will be working with civic partners in Exeter to identify public and privately-owned public spaces that might safely be used for open air performance, aligned with the environmental aspiration to Build Back Better in the Covid-19 cultural recovery. Following a period of scoping and interview research, we will be commissioning and programming live performances in lower risk, environmentally-sensitive open air settings, modelling approaches that move beyond the conventional audience configuration while allowing for live assembly and in-person encounters with performance and place.

Drawing on emerging and existing models of site-specific, dispersed, threshold and ecological performances, alongside practice-as-research with artists who have long-term experience and expertise in these genres, the project will consult with partners to identify the implications of the work for cultural strategy, environmental wellbeing and city centre management. A season of commissioned work in 2021 will make these innovative models more visible and contribute to the revival of live performance cultures in the region, as exemplars of sustainable cultural practice. This regional approach takes into account the vulnerability of an economy dependent on tourism, applicable in other parts of the UK. While open-air performance forms are to be the first permitted in a staggered cultural re-opening, merely replicating indoor models outdoors does not resolve key safety and management issues. However, innovative modes of engaging audiences out of doors have been evident in impromptu lockdown performances (e.g. in dispersed or durational work). These models have significant potential to contribute to cultural and environmental wellbeing.

Green Stages Symposium

The Open-air Performance and Environment Network (O-P-E-N) and the University of Exeter Drama Department invite you to a symposium on ‘Green Stages’, March 9th, 6-8.30 (GMT).

Our findings

A summary of our key findings and recommendations based on survey and interview data, and our experience of commissioning a season of in-person outdoor work.

Exhibition and Opening

Mon, 06 Dec, 2021, Maketank. Exeter. EXHIBITION Opening up: Threads and Beelines. The Outside the Box: Open-Air Performance as a Pandemic Response project team is delighted to invite you to an exhibition.

Site-visit with Onestep

Report on a site-visit with Florrie Taylor and Sarah Sharp of Onestep Theatre, on the River Exe flood plain and Belle Isle Park.

Getting Buzzy

Outside the Box was on the outskirts of Exeter in Shillingford Abbot last weekend, learning about bees and beekeeping with artist Louise Ann Wilson.

Call for artists

Call for four artists (or artistic teams) to produce original outdoor theatre/ performance/ live art works, to be open to members of the public in Exeter in July/ August 2021.

Post advertised

We are seeking a Postdoctoral Research Associate. This AHRC funded post is available immediately on a full time basis for eight months in the Department of Drama.