Since forming the company in 2018, Strange Futures has quickly developed a reputation for contemporary physical theatre that addresses pertinent issues in offbeat humorous ways, particularly environmental issues.
In 2020, we were awarded an Arts Council project grant for a residency at The Malvern Cube during which we developed The Endling theatre show, which explored environmental issues and species extinction through physical theatre and humour, receiving a 4 star review from a London run, and some great audience feedback: “visually beautiful” and “unexpectedly laugh-out loud funny”. The Endling is touring nationally throughout 2021 – 2022. As part of the residency at Malvern Cube, we also ran scratch nights for other emerging performers, and workshops for school and youth groups. We also worked with young people from St. Matthias Primary school in the creation of a filmed theatre show, The BrollyFolk, which uses poetic text, animation, clowning and physical humour to remind us of the value of caring for our world. The BrollyFolk was then developed for live performance and performed at Worcester Fringe Festival in July 2021 and FEAST Festival, September 2021.
We are very happy to be continuing as a company-in-residence at Malvern Cube and delighted to be working with The Cube on this new participatory project, The Whole World Can Come To Dinner, which continues our exploration of environmental issues through creative projects and performances.
The Whole World Can Come To Dinner
In August 2021, Strange Futures Theatre Company and Malvern Cube were delighted to be awarded funding from the Postcode Local Trust, a grant-giving charity funded entirely by players of People’s Postcode Lottery, to develop a year-long participatory arts project The Whole World Can Come To Dinner. The project explores our connections to food, and the natural world that provides our food, through creating stories, installations, creative writing, performance and cooking. Through workshops with schools and communities we have been creating three ‘performance meals’ across the year at Malvern Cube.
The Last Restaurant
The first of our performance meals, The Last Restaurant, came to performance in January 2022, blending live performance, clowning, stories, digital animation and gentle audience participation. The Last Restaurant brought together the quirky performance skills of Strange Futures Theatre Company accompanied by local guest performers, with the creativity of local writers, and the work of young people from St Matthias Primary School in collaboration with animation students from the University of Worcester, to provide “food for thought” about the relationship between food, stories and the landscape. Set in a potentially not so distant future, where we no longer consume actual grown food for sustenance, The Last Restaurant offered the “experience” of dining without actually eating anything at all but instead providing smells, animations carefully projected onto plates, and edible words! The show deliberately encouraged discussion around the tables at which audience sat, and many lingered, talking, long after the show finished.
Audience quote after The Last Restaurant:
“A joyful experience, with an innovative use of technology and expertly executed physical storytelling to tell an important message about the world”
Slow Cooked Stories
Our second performance meal, Slow Cooked Stories, was developed through interviews and conversations about food and memory with local community groups and individuals, including older people via Community Action, people recovering from various health and wellbeing issues through the support of Link Nurseries, refugees through the support of Malvern Welcomes and staff from Malvern Food Bank. Audiences for the show in May 2022 included many of those whose stories we had gathered which Strange Futures and our associate performers presented either verbatim, or through storytelling and spoken word. Food from the stories was served during the performance, prepared by the wonderful Dee and Kaitlin of Versatile Arts. Again, an important part of the show was the creation of a kind of temporary community at the table as audience and performers at together, eating and swopping thoughts and stories of their own
Audience quotes for Slow Cooked Stories:
“A wonderful weaving together of memories, ostensibly about food, but largely the people who shared tasters of their lives”
“Very well done, Strange Futures, another fabulous evening. What a treat to spend an evening with you all. Not that I’m greedy but can we have some more please?”
You certainly can!
We are currently working on our third performance of the series, Small Things, due in summer 2022. Look out for details in August!
We are also in the early stages of developing a new participatory project about trees called The Tree Rings with a grant from Awards For All. If you are interested in getting involved through writing, performance or other artform, do get in touch via the links below.
The Tree Rings
Trees are often planted in celebration of significant events in individual’s lives, as well as the lives of a community or nation. They are planted to celebrate or to remember people, events and times. Trees hold stories, in more ways than one. They hold personal stories and memories for individuals; they hold traditional folk takes and mythical stories, and they hold historical environmental stories. The rings within a tree’s trunk are story archives of changes and events in our environment – droughts and floods, heat and cold, air pollution and environmental change. What if they could tell those stories? We have taken the double meaning of Tree Rings to playfully speculate with local people on the questions “What if a tree could ring you? What if you could ring a tree? What stories might they tell you? What secrets might you whisper to them?”
Strange Futures consists of Matt Simmonds, Will Moore and Jane George. Follow us on social media or check out our website: