The Company

Trustees needed!

Daedalus Theatre Company is seeking new trustees to expand its board. We’re a London-based charitable organisation making socially-engaged, innovative performances and participatory events, often focusing on local communities.

Being a trustee is a voluntary role, involving four meetings a year plus giving occasional advice and guidance. We’re looking for people from a range of backgrounds to join us and help us grow. We are specially interested in people with knowledge of fundraising and marketing, and with links to Tower Hamlets, but are also keen to hear from anyone with enthusiasm for the kind of work we do and an interest in how we might develop as a company. If you’d like to know more, or to express your interest in this role, please contact Paul using the form below.

Let’s talk about participation

Our artistic director, Paul, has missed shows he really wanted to see because the threat of audience participation made him so anxious. And yet we make participatory theatre. Is this hypocrisy?

A Place at the Table, Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre, London

Our work isn’t about getting people to do things. It’s even less about picking on people or demanding volunteers. It’s about creating an environment in which people can find their own degree of involvement as equals.

Our breakthrough in this regard was A Place at the Table (pictured during a performance at Amnesty International, London). This is the piece we made about the 1993 coup in Burundi and its aftermath. All the audience sat round a huge table alongside the actors. Everyone was very ‘present’, and the experience was very immediate, but essentially the audience were passive observers until what appeared to be the end. At this point, food was brought and the actors joined the audience for a causal chat. People started talking to their neighbours or just quietly enjoyed the food and the atmosphere. This was actually the second half of the show; and its resolution. After hearing testimonies of appalling violence and heroism, and struggling through the complicated politics and history of Central Africa, a group of strangers found themselves sitting together, sharing food and talking. Some of them talked about how to escape the cycle of violence in Burundi, some just talked about their journey in. Most nights they kept talking till we had to ask them to leave!

Naomi Grossett in A Place at the Table, Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre, London

Gerrard Winstanley’s True and Righteous Mobile Incitement Unit is the same principle, but structured the other way around. We ask you to come to a tea party ahead of the show. (There’s also a shortened version for when there’s no time for a whole pre-show tea party). Here you can tell us about your experiences of protest, get us up to speed on local issues, make a placard, collaborate on protest song lyrics… or not.  You can also take advantage of the free tea without doing a thing! Similarly, during the performance itself you can sing along. Or not. You can even have a little dance. Or not. You can have another cup of tea. Or not. The point is, we’re asking you to join us as an equal, with full autonomy, and be part of making the show afresh each time. Or not. It’s up to you. you can just watch.


Grace Nyandoro in A Place at the Table, Amnesty International Human Rights Action Centre, London

It’s the complete opposite of old-fashioned participation, really. And you can test this for yourself. We’ll be performing Gerrard Winstanley’s True and Righteous Mobile Incitement Unit this Sunday, 6th May, at Poplar Union. Details are here.





Introducing our Trustees…

We’re privileged to be guided by four amazing people who make up our board, and it’s probably time to introduce them!

From left to right: Mark Bixter, Chris White (chair), Alia Alzougbi and Catrin John.

Mark has worked in senior leadership in the charity sector for the past 5 years. He is also a celebrant and life coach. Chris is a theatre director and practitioner working across the UK and internationally. Alia’s a storyteller, performer and educator, as well as Head of HEC Global Learning Centre. Catrin has worked in a number of roles for major venues, including most recently Commercial Director at the Lyric Hammersmith and Marketing Director at the Old Vic.

Big thanks to these good people from all the rest of the Daedalus family!

A big thank you

We’d like to say a big thank you to our outgoing chair Chris Luffingham, who is stepping down from the board. He’s been with us since we first became a proper company, and guided us through a period of significant change, not least gaining charity status. It’s not a complete goodbye, however, as he will remain in an advisory capacity. Still, we’re very grateful for all the time and good advice he’s given us over the years.

We’ve also recently been joined by two new trustees: Alia Alzougbi and Mark Bixter. We’ll post some more about them separately. Chris White will take over as chair.

We’ve become a charity, and that means…

You know where this is going.

It’s taken ages. The Charity Commission. HMRC. Many, many forms to fill in. Lots of help from the awesome ITC. But we got there.

Now, probably, most people looking at this site are penniless artists. We don’t expect those people to give anything, of course (unless they really, really want to). But there may be people in a position to help. Why? We have to apply for funding for each project. It’s a lot of work and sometimes we’re successful, sometimes we’re not. Either way, project-by-project funding only goes so far. We don’t only want to exist when we’re doing a specific project. We’ve got the ongoing projects like the Radical Performance Reading Group and the East storytellers, and there’s all the research and development that needs to happen before we’re ready to start writing funding applications…

So if you can throw some pennies our way (or even throw some pennies our way on a monthly basis) here’s an attractive purple button to take you to our fund-raising page…

Thank you!

The Arches has closed

The Arches went into administration today. The press release with all the details is here.

This is terrible on a great many levels.

It means the loss of an incredible venue which kick-started a a huge amount of careers and provided a fantastic starting point for a great many companies (including us, as our first professional piece, Selfish, was an Arches commission). It’s a loss for Glasgow of course, and Scotland, and for UK arts touring. It’s also a blow to a whole model of working. The Arches was an exemplar of the idea that a venue could generate a commercial income and use that to fund brave and experimental work. But now we can see that such a fine balance is impossible without proper support and joined-up thinking from the authorities. It’s pretty shocking, really, that such a vital arts venue could be lost because of the intransigence of the Glasgow Licensing Board.

The Arches is under threat

IMG_1160The Arches in Glasgow was the venue that had the courage to give Daedalus its first proper, professional gig, and the result was that we made and premiered Selfish there (show here, with Onur Orkut).

The Arches has a unique model: it’s a very successful club but uses the profits to fund new and often very experimental arts projects. It’s an inspiring place to work, in spite of the slight whiff of stale beer after club nights! It’s also an essential part of our arts ecology – so many artists and companies have started there, or broken new ground while working there.

And now it’s in danger, due to a licensing dispute with Glasgow council. Here’s a link with all the details and a petition: please sign it!

Some images from our past life…

Our artistic director Paul has been going through old folders as it’s the 21st anniversary of the first Brasenose Summer Arts Festival – originally set up by the same generation of students who also founded the King’s Hall Trust for the Arts and Daedalus. Of course, he also came across old flyers for productions we did when Daedalus was a still a student company. It had very different aims then, as it was about scripted drama, but many of the same underlying values. Anyway, here are a selection!

Meanwhile, the festival, now called Brasenose Arts Week, is still going strong!

Daedalus-flyers-grimsson    Daedalus-flyers-ourman