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Signal Fires: Prototype performances at the Barns

Part of REFUEL at the Kneehigh Barns

At the beginning of October, under a harvest moon, we welcomed a small audience to the barns for an evening of prototype performance. Through fire, story, puppetry and music a group of performers and creatives explored Calvino's folk tales, as well as how we might create performance in a socially-distanced way.


October 2020

This was an essential opportunity for Kneehigh performers, artists and identified Cornish performers to play. An immersive training residency to re-engage those theatre-making muscles and to remember the joy of performance. The Kneehigh company was joined by Paul Hunter from Told by an Idiot, as well as Good Chance Theatre. It’s never been more important for companies to join forces.


A small team of multi-disciplined performers explored Italo Calvino’s Italian Folk Tales, creating rough, simple performances by firelight. Calvino’s stories come from desperate plague-ridden times. They are bawdy, funny, full of strange charm and pertinent to now.


The evening was captured on video and the film above is made available publicly as part of the Signal Fires project. In the week of the 26 October, fires lit up across the UK with storytellers and audiences sharing in one of the original forms of theatre. From spectacular bonfires to digital blazes; the nation’s leading touring theatre companies presented a series of theatrical events at locations across the UK in celebration of our fundamental need to tell stories.