Kneehigh all set to Strike Out

Published: 28 August 2020
Reporter: David Upton

Kneehigh's Asylum

Kneehigh, the international theatre company, is to Strike Out in a bid to find a new way forward in uncertain times.

Cornwall-based Kneehigh turned 40 this year and had planned a celebratory season of live events, new touring shows and work with artists and young people. In the COVID crisis, it has pivoted to delivering work online, but is preparing to move towards live performance once again.

In the meantime, Windows to the World saw 17 creative challenges posted online and exclusive content given free to schools to support teachers, students and home schooling. Tom Jackson Greaves produced a short film, The Neon Shadow, released on August 28. Kneehigh’s popular story walk app, Walk With Me, has four new walks from the St Austell Bay area, including two developed with the Eden Project. The Homesgrown project provided a Great Night In for people with learning disabilities, and Anna Murphy and Scott Lavene from the Outsiders Project have held writing workshops with people in recovery at Cosgarne House in St Austell.

In the autumn, Kneehigh is planning a series of prototype performances based on Italo Calvino’s Italian Folk Tales, and will collaborate with Good Chance Theatre on a project exploring outdoor event and performance and the role theatre can play in bringing people together in ways that feel safe.

Joe Robertson, co-founder of Good Chance Theatre, explained, “let’s use this time as an unprecedented opportunity to rethink, redesign, and reimagine. To forge new ways of creating and engaging. To connect to new audiences and build new communities. And to make a bolder argument for the importance of art in local communities, public health, education, and across our society.”

In December, The Barns will be transformed with a socially distanced installation and exhibition to celebrate all things Kneehigh and their 40th year.

The company hopes to begin performing to larger audiences next year. The Asylum, Kneehigh’s unique theatre tent venue, will return to Cornwall for an extended festival season in 2021 featuring food, music, performance and event. The Asylum will also tour to festivals in the UK and further afield.

Several touring shows are in development and projects are evolving, including Wagstaffe the Wind Up Boy, written by Carl Grose and directed by Mike Shepherd.