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Promenade theatre adventure encourages walking and running in Devon

  • Date: 27 August 2014
  • Area: South West
Group of actors running through countryside

Company of Wolves, Burn the Curtain, 2014. Credit: Theo Moye

A unique production by site specific theatre company Burn the Curtain will open as part of Unexpected 2014 on 29 August at Riverside Valley Park in Exeter.

The Company of Wolves, based on the stories by Angela Carter, has been supported with a grant of £15,000 from Arts Council England's National Lottery funded Grants for the arts scheme. The project is a new collaboration between Burn the Curtain and playwright Shiona Morton that aims to bring people to the arts through physical activity.

Angela Carter's tale, a gothic take on Red Riding Hood, has been adapted by Burn the Curtain and Shiona Morton into an interactive, promenade theatre performance for runners and walkers. Audiences will be invited to experience the theatrical re-telling of this dark and mysterious modern classic on foot in the outdoors. The route will be 2-3 miles for walkers, and 5 miles for runners and the tale will be performed along the way.

There are several route options and the audience can pick the path they want to take at different points in the performance. You can choose to be a hunter or gatherer, fleet of foot or eagle eyed, to pick up the pace, or tread carefully along the forest path.

The show will run 29 - 30 August at Riverside Valley Park in Exeter and 30 - 31 October at Sharpham Estate near Totnes.

To take part in the show you should come prepared for physical activity with appropriate clothing and good footwear. Some of the action will take place in the dark, so you are advised to bring a torch. 

Joe Hancock, Artistic Director, Burn the Curtain, said: 'Working with playwright Shiona Morton has allowed us to stay true to Angela Carter's original text whilst creating a unique performance which an audience can get fully involved in, whether they prefer to run or walk. The medium of promenade theatre fits the story very effectively. Instead of a tiny village on the edge of the distant mountains, our Red Riding Hood will walk and run through the local landscape, where wolves may also hide at night!'

Burn the Curtain are a 'hands on' site specific theatre company with a focus on engagement with the great outdoors, the combination of theatre with physical activity and using theatre as a tool in education. In September and October the company will run school workshops in schools in Totnes and a school and further education college in Exeter, ahead of the Sharpham Estate shows at the end of October.

To further encourage people into physical activity, Burn the Curtain, in collaboration with Active Devon, a local sports partnership, will be delivering running workshops in the early autumn for people new to the sport. Two of the main characters from the show, Red Riding Hood and The Duke, are set to undertake Run Leader training with Athletics England and on completion participants will be able to join a new running group led by one of the characters from the show. 

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England, said: 'We believe that there is a powerful holistic case to be made for the value of arts and culture for both the individual and society and this is an exciting and pioneering project that fuses art with physical activity, building new audiences for each.'

Find more information on The Company of Wolves, based on the stories by Angela Carter here

Find more information on Grants for the arts here