One of the UK’s most enigmatic theatre companies tours to Scotland, England and Northern Ireland around the General Election, with a performance where the audience has the chance to govern their own nation.
UK Tour, 21st April – 14th May 2015
PRESS PERFORMANCE: Battersea Arts Centre, Wednesday 22nd April, 7.15 pm
Audiences across the UK take the role of the last surviving members of a society ravaged by war, in this interactive, playful and passionate performance. Staged as we make our real-life decisions on a new government this year, the performance is inspired by the 2011 UK riots, the Arab spring, Iceland’s crowd-sourced constitution and the rise (and fall) of Occupy. With the rules of a new society in their hands, the audience must decide how they will run their new nation and how to avoid the mistakes of the past, exploring – with free rein – the possibilities of nationhood and democracy.
At the heart of Early Days (of a better nation) are two major questions: If people could start again from scratch, what sort of nation would they build and can a piece of immersive theatre change people’s minds about politics? As the UK’s political parties take to the campaign trail, so too will Coney to inspire, encourage and gather reaction from across the country as they blur the line between performance and our real-life choices.
Early Days (of a Better Nation) has been developed through Coney’s rigorous testing and research into game mechanics, economic systems and narrative, alongside political models and how to fully engage a playing audience. The process has been supported by a host of both academic institutes and arts organisations, with partners including Birkbeck University, the Cultural Institute at Kings College London, National Theatre Wales, BAC, and Warwick Arts Centre.
Co-creator and director Annette Mees said: “We’ve been really excited by the shift in the last few years. Ten years ago, voting numbers were going down. Last year, there was a resurgence of active citizenship across the world: politics outside of the political system such as Occupy and the Indignado protests. The public disaffection with mainstream politics has created a strong resurgence in grassroots activism. We were keen to give people a taste of what it’s like to make difficult decisions, to activate their sense of what they want in a bigger society and for them to think about who they want to be led by. We’re not providing answers but we are creating a space to think about these issues, of course with an eye on the upcoming 2015 General Election.”
Tom Bowtell, fellow co-creator and writer, said: “By creating a world which is fictional enough to be different but real enough to be relevant, we hope to give audiences a safe space to challenge their own political beliefs and try others on for size. The 2015 Election provides the perfect context: we don’t want the show to espouse any one political stance, but are excited to see the potential of immersive theatre to engage people with politics, particularly those who are disenchanted with it and who – before seeing the show – are not intending to vote.”
Coney are interactive theatre-makers, who weave together theatre and game design to create dynamic shows and experiences in a wide variety of settings; theatres, schools, museums, on the streets and online. The experience starts when you first hear about it, and only ends when you stop thinking and talking about it.Guided by principles of curiosity, adventure and loveliness, the company, run by co-directors Annette Mees, Tassos Stevens, Tom Bowtell, place audiences at the heart of their work, co-creating performances within the stories and worlds designed by the company. Previous work by the company includes NTT (National Theatre, 2006), The Gold-Bug (BAC, 2008), A Small Town Anywhere (BAC, 2009) and House of Cards (State Apartments at Kensington Palace, 2012).
Co-commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre, National Theatre Wales and Battersea Arts Centre. Production development supported by Cultural Institute at KCL. Funded by the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Unity Theatre Trust. Supported by Ovalhouse. Coney is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.
Early Days (of a better nation)
Concept by Annette Mees and Tom Bowtell Produced by Rosalind Wynn
Directed by Annette Mees Written by Tom Bowtell
Sound Design and Composition by Richard Hammarton Set Design by Jeannine Inglis Hall
Lighting Design by Cis O’Boyle
21 – 25 Apr Battersea Arts Centre, London
(Part of the Taking a Stand Season)
Lavender Hill, London SW11 5TN
7.15pm (Sat 25 Apr, 2pm) | £12 (£9 concs)
0207 223 2223 | www.bac.org.uk
Sat 25 April panel discussion TBC
28 – 29 Apr The Arches, Glasgow
(Part of Behaviour Festival 2015)
253 Argyle Street, Glasgow G2 8DL
7pm (Wed 29 Apr, 12pm schools performance) | £14 (£10 concs)
Behaviour Festival pass £60 (£53 concs)
1 – 2 May MAC, Belfast
10 Exchange Street West, Belfast, BT1 2NJ
2pm (2 May only) and 7pm | £12
028 9023 5053 | www.themaclive.com
Sat 2 May panel discussion TBC
5 – 6 May The Point, Eastleigh
Leigh Road, Eastleigh, Hampshire, S050 9DE
2pm (6 May only) and 7pm | £12
023 8065 2333 | www.thepointeastleigh.co.uk
8 May Unity Theatre, Liverpool
Part of the U-Decide week of political performance
1 Hope Place, Liverpool, L1 9BG
7pm | £12 (£10 concs), two U-Decide shows for £15
Under 23 tickets £5 (limited availability)
0844 873 2888 | www.unitytheatreliverpool.co.uk
12 – 14 May Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry
Part of the Faculty of Social Sciences’ Festival of Social Sciences
University of Warwick, CV4 7AL
7.15pm | £11 (£9 concs), under 26 £8 and Warwick students £5.50
024 7652 4524 | www.warwickartscentre.co.uk
Tuesday 10th March 2015