SIGNAL FIRES – returning to the original form of theatre

Posted on 1st November 2020
About Signal Fires

During October and November, fires lit up across the UK with storytellers and audiences sharing in one of the original forms of theatre, storytelling around the fireside. Each fire, a visual reminder of the vibrancy of touring theatre, and the threat our industry continues to face.

From spectacular bonfires to digital blazes; the nation’s leading touring theatre companies presented a series of theatrical events at locations across the UK to celebrate our fundamental need as humans to gather, tell stories and make sense of the world around us, so that we can collectively reimagine the future.

The companies involved worked with hundreds of UK freelancers. Each fire spanning different disciplines and reflecting the breadth and diversity of the touring circuit.

At Proteus we planned a series of intimate and interactive, yet socially-distanced events for and with our communities, whilst crucially creating paid-for work for freelance actors and theatre-makers.

Signal Fires: The Spooky Shed of Stories

“Overnight a small mysterious shed appears.  The doors are opened, words and stories tumble out, music and laughter begins to fill the air and then, as if by magic – children start to arrive.”

Proteus resident Associate Artists, Scratch Built Productions, presented The Spooky Shed of Stories to engage families with young children in the Signal Fires event.

Family/support bubbles of up to 4 people were welcomed and guided to the Shed of stories via the ‘Signal Fire’ in Proteus Creation Space’ spooky front garden. Audience members were encouraged to embrace the art of traditional storytelling around a campfire with a 40 minute session of interactive (yet socially distanced) fun, stories, games, craft and a Halloween themed trail/ scavenger hunt around the venue.

A lovely little production that my kids are still talking about

Audience member

Signal Fires: Chilling stories by Candlelight

For adult audiences Proteus presented an evening of horror and ghost stories old and new, read and performed by both professional freelance actors and supported by some members of our highly regarded adult community theatre group The Proteans. An ideal way to celebrate the turn of the season and the moment in the year when the division between the real and spirit world is at its most transparent! The event both employs professional freelance actors for whom their livelihood is under threat, and also highlights the vital creative space that our arts organisation offers to the wider community through participation.

The actors beckoned each group bubble from our front garden Signal Fire where the storytelling commenced, before guiding them to socially distanced cabaret-style tables in our studio to continue the evening by our indoor campfire (yes really!) And by candlelight, for an authentically chilling atmosphere!

This was a wonderful evening, so lovely to be back at a live performance!

Audience member

Read more about the Signal Fires Campaign here.

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