Outdoor theatre in Peterborough to signal pandemic threats to industry

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Signal Fires: Peterborough, a live outdoor theatre event is being held at Serpentine Green on October 24 (Picture: Eastern Angles)

The event is part of a unified effort from the UK’s leading touring theatre companies who are coming together this autumn to present a series of Signal Fires. The project is inspired by one of the original forms of theatre – storytelling around a fire. 

In light of the current crisis, the signal fires will create beacons across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland warning of the threat the industry continues to face while celebrating the extraordinary vibrancy of touring theatre and the freelancers they engage. Stretching across four nations, this festival of fires will connect audiences, freelance artists and touring companies together in a communal, national act of storytelling. 

In Peterborough, Eastern Angles will present the culmination of their Young Writers Group which was cut short due to the lockdown in March. It will be a celebration of the brilliant homegrown talent of Peterborough with each writer presenting a 10-minute extract from their script. 

HighTide is a theatre company and charity based in East Anglia that has an unparalleled twelve- year history of successfully launching the careers of emerging British playwrights.  will present two pieces from their lockdown monologue series: Gran by Ben Weatherill and Bedlam Before The Burnout by Aisha Zia.

Gran is a touching portrait of life during the COVID-19 pandemic and the small moments of joy that can be found and will be performed by Sabrina Sandhu (Everyone’s Talking About Jamie, West End). Bedlam Before The Burnout explores the chaos of modern urban life and the feeling of apocalypse which loomed even before the global pandemic. 

Scott Hurran, artistic associate at Eastern Angles said: "Signal Fires presents an incredible opportunity for our Young Writers Group all under 30 at the beginning of their writing careers to have their work presented as part of a nationwide project at a time which is incredibly challenging for emerging talent to have their voices heard."

Suba Das, HighTide artistic director said: "We’re delighted to be continuing our collaborative partnership with Eastern Angles and to be part of a moment of collective experience with the Signal Fires project at a time of so much uncertainty. We’re excited to be working with some of the best new talent in Peterborough and to share with them our work in return. We hope this is the start of a continued conversation with artists in Peterborough as we look to build on our artist development work in the East of England."

The health and safety of audiences, artists, creative teams and staff alike is of the upmost importance. All companies involved in the project will implement COVID secure measures to ensure that their full process, from rehearsal to performance, is in line with the current government guidelines, following strict hygiene protocols and allowing for social distancing. 

Capacity is limited to 30 per performance. Tickets start at £5 and can be booked in family groups of up to six people, booking via the Eastern Angles box office or via 01473 211498.