26th - 31st October 2020
Created by Nassim Soleimanpour & Natasha Brown, Conor Hunt, Steffi Igbinovia, Lauren Lopez, Josh Merritt, Samantha O'Rourke, Tricia Wey and Sky Yang
Created by award winning theatre maker Nassim Soleimanpour and 8 powerful writers, Boundless will send fifty Signal Fires to young adults across the UK. Arriving in a sealed envelope and opened by the audience fireside, storytelling rituals are reborn.
This is a show that needs no rehearsal and where the audience is the performer. Once you receive your box, you will build a fire, open the envelope and begin reading aloud from the book. There are eight stories that will come to life between the reader and audience. Settle down for the night and read them all or pick one or two, whatever you like. You could choose a different reader for each story, or have one storyteller all night long.
Signal Fire (n): a fire or light set up in a prominent position as a warning, signal, or celebration.
In October and November, fires will light up across the UK with storytellers and audiences sharing in one of the original forms of theatre. The fires will signal the vibrancy of touring theatre, and the threat our industry continues to face.
Companies involved are: 45North, Arcade, Beyond Face, Big Telly, Boundless, Eastern Angles, English Touring Theatre, Fen in association with Out of Joint, Fuel, Graeae, Headlong, Kestrel Theatre Company, Kneehigh, Macha Productions, National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, New Perspectives, Pentabus, Pilot, Paines Plough, SBC Theatre, Scottish International Storytelling Festival, Slung Low, Spare Tyre, The Lord Chamberlain’s Men and Yellow Earth Theatre (with more to be announced).
From spectacular bonfires to digital blazes; the nation’s leading touring theatre companies will present a series of theatrical events at locations across the UK in celebration of our fundamental need to tell stories.
The companies will be working with hundreds of UK freelancers. Each fire will span different disciplines reflecting the breadth and diversity of the touring circuit. All fires will be presented outdoors in front of socially distanced live audiences, or digitally for those who are shielding or currently unable to travel.
Commissioned by Boundless Theatre as part of Signal Fires 2020.
October2020 Spotify Playlist
We have created a cozy playlist for you for your October2020 experience. Whether you are sitting outside in the garden around a fire or reading from the storybook indoors, this playlist got your back in setting up the right vibe.
Booking is currently closed. Please email email@example.com to get on the waiting list.
26th – 31st October 2020
The show can be booked by anyone in the UK and everything you need will be posted to you.
* We’ll send you everything you need to build a campfire but you’ll need to source your own fire wood or burning materials.
There are 7 stories and you can read as many or as few as you like, they each range from 15 minutes to 60 minutes.
The show is suitable for anyone aged 15+
The campfire must be supervised by someone 18+
Fire Safety Guidance
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.
Nassim Soleimanpour is an Iranian playwright, theatre maker and the Artistic Director of the Berlin Based Theatre company Nassim Soleimanpour Productions. His plays have been translated into more than 30 languages and performed globally in over 50 countries. Best known for his play White Rabbit Red Rabbit, written to travel the world when he couldn’t, his work has been awarded the Dublin Fringe Festival Best New Performance, Summerworks Outstanding New Performance Text Award and The Arches Brick Award (Edinburgh Fringe) as well as picking up nominations for a Total Theatre and Brighton Fringe Pick of Edinburgh Award. White Rabbit Red Rabbit had a 9 month Off-Broadway run casting celebrated actors like Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Lane, Martin Short, Bobby Cannavale, Wayne Brady, F. Murray Abraham, Cynthia Nixon and etc.
By the time Nassim was permitted to travel for the first time in early 2013, his play White Rabbit Red Rabbit had already been performed hundreds of times in more than a dozen languages. Since then Nassim has facilitated workshops and panels in different events including World Theatre Festival (Brisbane), Tolhuistuin (Amsterdam), SESC Vila Mariana (Sao Paulo), Schauspielhaus (Vienna), DPAC (Kuala Lampur), Theatertreffen (Berlin), Grob Theatre (Copenhagen), British Council London and The Bush Theatre (London), University of Bremen (Germany), ISPA (Edinburgh), TATA Litreture (India), FAE (Lima), Borak [Oz Asia] (Adelaide) and etc.
Nassim’s second play Blind Hamlet commissioned by the London based Actors Touring Company premiered at The LIFT 2014 and has toured in the UK and was received well in Edinburgh, Bucharest and Copenhagen. His third play BLANK premiered in November 2015 simultaneously in Amsterdam, Utrecht and London and so far has been performed in the UK, Australia, Spain, Mexico, US, Argentina, India, Finland, Denmark, Canada, etc.
His most recent play NASSIM produced by the Bush Theatre in London was premiered in August 2017 and won a Fringe First Award followed by more than 300 shows in 12 languages across the world. NASSIM had a successful five-month Off-Broadway run casting celebrated American actors like: Michael Shannon, Zachary Quinto, Tracy Letts, Carrie Coon, Kate Walsh, Carla Gugino, Cory Michael Smith, Kathey Najimi, Richard Kind, Reed Birney and etc. NASSIM has won a 2019 Off-Broadway Alliance Award for Best Unique Theatrical Experience and is currently nominated for Prix de la critique maison 2018-2019 à Québec in Dans la catégorie « Hors Québec.
A retrospective of Nassim’s plays was held at the Bush Theatre in 2017.
Soleimanpour’s recent play Down by the Creek was published by New York Times as part of America 2024. He’s been commissioned to write a new play for the audiobook platform Audible.
London-based Natasha Brown is a theatremaker, writer, actor and facilitator who makes work that interrogates power, identity and community. Her debut solo show I AM [NOT] KANYE WEST enjoyed a successful run at the Bunker Theatre in March 2020. She has also worked with the Bush Theatre, Donmar Warehouse, Soho Theatre, Arcola Theatre and Camden People’s Theatre.
I’m excited to be part of SIGNAL FIRES because I love the idea of bringing young people together to engage in the ancient ritualistic act of storytelling around a fire. It’s such an intriguing provocation and I’m looking forward to contributing to this project that promotes connection during an isolating year.
I’m also excited to work with Nassim Soleimanpour who is an artist who has inspired and challenged me for years, and Boundless Theatre – a company that continues to push boundaries and connect with young people in authentic and genuinely collaborative ways.
Conor Hunt is a Mancunian writer and has been living in London for the last seven years. Much of Conor’s work is rooted in northern communities, and he is passionate about giving regional characters more of a voice both in theatre and on screen.
His recent work include the 5* Who Cares, Kings of Idle Land and The F Word. He has also written for BBC Writersroom & BBC1xtra and short film Toast.
Conor also works in Creative Learning, most recently for The Jamie Lloyd Company and ATG on the Playhouse Season. Conor has a keen interest in breaking down barriers in accessing theatre, and who feels like they can occupy theatre spaces so the idea of writing in a completely different form, for people across the country aged 15-25 hugely inspired him to take part in Signal Fires
Steffi Igbinovia is a British-Nigerian actor and writer based in East London.
As a writer she has worked with venues such as Bush Theatre, Theatre Peckham and Lyric Hammersmith. Last year she completed Bush Theatres Young Writers Group and of recent has completed Soho Theatre Writers Lab.
She was recently commissioned by female led company, Burn Bright for their ‘Better in Person’ event where she wrote a short play named ‘Maths Date’.
As well as stage, she engages herself in Film/TV so is currently in the works with two scripts to be produced into short films. One being ‘blue lights’ which explores the relationship a young black man has with the sirens and the blue flashing lights on police cars.
Lauren Lopez is an 18 year old student based in South London and Cambridge. Having attended Theatre Peckham for performing arts, Lauren also has a zest for writing short plays and poetry. In 2019 she was a part of the Young Writers Group at the Bush Theatre, as well as the Performing Protest there in 2017. Inspired by a drive to tell stories to understand the things around her, she is currently undergoing a new writing project for young people with Boundless Theatre.
Josh Merritt is a neurodivergent/disabled writer and director of stage, screen and wireless based in the Gatwick area of West Sussex. He is currently under commission to develop an original full-length play with the New Wolsey Theatre. His plays have been performed at the Arcola Theatre, Folkestone Quarterhouse, and Shoreditch Town Hall.
In 2019 he was commissioned to write/direct a short film for BBC Four & iPlayer. In 2020 he received Arts Council funding to write/direct a series of remotely-shot Zoom films, the first of which – ‘Vodka Pants’, starring David Schaal (The Weatherman – Park Theatre, A Steady Rain – Arcola Theatre, The Office, The Inbetweeners) – is now available to stream. He is developing a feature film script with Nigel Cole (director of Calendar Girls, Made in Dagenham, Doc Martin) and producer Hannah Stevenson (Eaten by Lions, In Another Life). He has several audio series at various stages of development with producer Jack Bowman (BBC Studios, Dagaz Media, Audible). He developed a full-length play with Stepping Out, the country’s leading mental health theatre group (patroned by Mark Rylance).
The Guardian listed him as one of their ‘Five To Look Out For’ in honour of his writing work with the BFI. His work has screened on TV, at the British Film Institute and in London’s Olympic Park, plus been featured on BBC Radio. He spent a year working out in Montreal, which included the award-winning short film ‘In the Absence of Angels’. Previous short films have visited festivals across the globe. He studied with the National Theatre. He was a Barbican Young Filmmaker for two years, producing numerous short films – one of which was awarded “Best Film Noir” in Shooting People’s official ‘Sin City 2′ competition – culminating in a mass multimedia show that was rated ***** by The Independent. He wrote for legendary impressionist & comedian Rory Bremner on BBC Radio 4.
What inspires me to be part of Boundless’ INCREDIBLE ‘Signal Fires’ project is the chance to work with Boundless Theatre as a company, the tremendous ethos and passion they possess – it’s infectious. The chance to create work for and with young adults, which I’ve never had; their ambitiousness, adventurousness, and free spirit inspires me. It’s a challenge, especially in the short turnaround, but this also means getting work made sooner rather than later (no time for me to chicken out)! And the opportunity to work with an incredible international playwright like Nassim Soleimanpour is a bit of a bonus.
Samantha O’Rourke is a writer and director originally from the North West of England, now based in North Wales. She was previously Writer on Attachment with Liverpool’s Everyman Playhouse. Recent projects include: the place where I live/ y man lle dwi’n byw for Theatr Clwyd, short film Jelly – Ffilm Cymru/BBC Wales and Mincemeat for Channel 4/Blacklight. She was also part of the Royal Court’s Introduction to Playwriting group 2019/20. Sam is very excited to be part of a project focusing on bringing people and voices together from across the UK.
Tricia Wey is a 25-year-old London-based multi-disciplined creative and describes herself as a General Maker of Things. She is passionate about removing passivity from theatre and is an advocate for encouraging those who don’t see themselves in theatre to take up space. She is particularly interested in creating and producing work that represents marginalised groups, and aims to instill young creatives with the confidence to explore their various artforms. When life begins to open up again, she would like to get more involved with the London cabaret and drag scene.
She has written and performed work at the Bunker Theatre, the Vaults, Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club, the World Transformed Festival, and the National Theatre. She also recently partook in WoLab’s actor-writer programme.
Tricia is excited to be involved with Signal Fires and explore the form of storytelling and its potential. She has admired Boundless Theatre from afar and is looking forward to the opportunity to work with a theatre company whose values so closely echo her own.
I’m an actor, writer and director who has just graduated from LAMDA, based in South London.
I’ve recently started a film collective and community of artists called ‘This Is Our Youth’, a group that make short films which are honest and reflect the lives of people that the mainstream media doesn’t cover. It’s a platform and space for young people to be listened to and make work without having to compromise their voice or be pushed into boxes. We’ve just released our first two films, SUNNY (that follows the journey of an East Asian boy growing up facing racism in the UK), and KERNEL (a visual meditation). Our next film ‘Love Thy Neighbour’, a film following two friends questioning their reality and whether they exist within a simulation is currently being edited.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what kind of life these pieces end up taking, and the events that will happen through them. I think the experience of both performing and watching these pieces, and communally engaging within the same moment, by firelight, will be intensely special and I’m very grateful that this will be taken across the country to a diverse mix of young people – for too long theatre has remained in the hands of and watched by one exclusive and privileged group of people. It belongs to everyone, and I’m over the moon to see that happening here.