Our commissions

We are pleased to announce six commissions for audiences in Exeter to enjoy over the summer. How to book: all commissions will be free, but ticketed. As tickets are released, you will find the links below and above, where it say ‘Book here’.

The three artists with full commissions are Louise Ann Wilson; Sheila Ghelani and Sue Palmer; and Lizzie Philps. We have commissioned three further ‘cultivator’ projects, on a smaller scale, from Emma Welton; Running Dog Theatre and One Step Theatre.

We have asked these artists to create performances on environmental themes, with the aim of celebrating the pleasures of our connection with nature and environmentally aware lifestyles. 

They have also been asked to innovate in the ways that audiences are brought together for the events, taking into account the risks of infection, and finding new approaches to sharing performance. 

Between them, these artists have a fantastic track record of working in outdoor spaces and the project hopes to learn from their example, to establish guidelines for best practice and to understand the possibilities for a shift in leisure activities towards greater appreciation of urban ecologies.  

GPS Embroidery: Acts of (in)visible repair

By Lizzie Philps

GPS technology functions through a web of invisible interconnections. 

The beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic made dependency on all such fragile systems more obvious. 

What are the unseen but essential networks within the urban environment of Exeter, and how can we care for them best? 

We’re going to invite women and girls from three different parts of the city to help us create GPS embroideries around the concept of repair. Through community mapping and “walkshops” we will share the small but important ways we can enable biodiversity to thrive. 

Date: w/c 19th July. Open workshop July 24th. Exhibition w/c 23rd August.

Lizzie Philps – Reserve a place for July 24 workshop

Photo: Jenny Steer

At the end of the day

by A Quiet Night In

Performers: Dan Cray, Roz Harding, Ruth Molins, Hugh Nankivell Sarah Owen, Emma Welton, Tony Whitehead

Join a small group of artists and musicians to listen and make sounds at Exwick Mill Fields. We will attempt to become part of the flow of sound from daylight to dusk, blending with what we hear, and adding to it by making our own sounds, responding to what we hear and to each other. You don’t need to be a musician to take part, and we will have a few simple sound-making things to borrow – although you can also bring your own things. We will have a simple set of instructions for you to follow – our “score” for the performance. And you can of course just come and listen if you’d like, and be part of the performance in that way. All ages welcome.

Venue: around FLOW Orchard, Exwick Mill Field, (Access: north along path from Station Road, west of Exwick Flood Relief Channel). 

Date: Tuesday 27th July 

A Quiet Night In – Reserve a place

Exeter at Sea

By Sheila Ghelani and Sue Palmer

The Exeter was an East India Company ship that made 8 voyages from the UK to Bengal and China via St Helena around southern Africa, and back. Join artists Sheila Ghelani and Sue Palmer as they map this route onto Exeter, triangulating the histories of elsewhere onto the contemporary places of the city – a local / international heritage tour.  
Sheila Ghelani and Sue Palmer both work individually as artists whose work spans performance, audio and moving image. Each artist’s practice centres on using research to make artistic work with detail and resonance, for public places, made for the passerby or the guest. 
The pair were last in Exeter in 2019 when they shared Common Salt, their collaborative show and tell on nature, empire and memory at Southernhay House – presented by Scare the Horses. 

Date: 7-8th August

We are very sad to say this piece has been cancelled due to Covid restrictions. We hope Sue and Sheila will return later this year and that all will remain well. There is a zoom ‘Show and Tell’ Saturday 7th 1 pm.

Swan & the Same

By Running Dog Theatre

It’s the annual get-together between the Exeter Canoe Club and the Exeter Cygnet Club. A chance for birds and boaters, humans and swans to come together, break bread and go forth along the canal.

Join Running Dog Theatre on a canoe ride along Exeter Canal, as we tell stories, play games and celebrate the magic of being on and of the water. Expect swan songs, swan puns, swanny whistles and, swans.

Venue: Exeter Canoe Club.

Date: 7th-8th August – 9:30am on Saturday and 8:30am on Sunday (each performance lasts about 90 minutes).

Swan and the Same – Reserve a place


Tell it to the Bees

by Louise Ann Wilson

Tell it to the Bees is a walking-performance that starts on the roof garden of the Princesshay Shopping Centre in the heart of Exeter where four beehives are sited. Participants in small groups will be introduced to the honeybees by the beekeepers and then follow a map of a route around the city visiting a number of bee-stations along the way. As they move from station to station they will be drawn further into the world of the bee and discover the significance of the age old practice of sharing stories of important life-events or worries with the bees: it was thought these ‘tellings’ were important for the wellbeing of the hive and the beekeeper. Prompted by varied and original encounters, actions, sights and sounds this new work creates a space for participants to reflect upon life-events experienced during the COVID-19 Pandemic and recovery. 

Date: 13th and 14th August 

Tell it to the Bees – Reserve a place

Ears to the Ground

by Onestep Theatre

All places are full of stories, echoes of the past, becomings of the present and whispers of futures yet to be made. But who makes these stories and how can we learn to listen?  

Ears to the Ground will work with a group of young people to explore how stories entangle local and global experiences, weaving together social and ecological encounters into a tapestry of movement and audio performances inspired by the murmurings of place.  

One Step Theatre uses performance and participation to facilitate environmentally focussed creative encounters.  Our performances offer a platform for young people to include their voices in the current environmental conversations within their local community.  

One Step Theatre’s last project, If Not Now, explored the relationship local families in our coastal county have with the global plastic pollution crisis, touring schools, libraries and museums along the Devonshire coast. Follow us on Instagram @onesteptheatreco and Twitter @onesteptheatre  

Date: 15th August 

Ears to the Ground – Reserve a place

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