In addition to its core programme of theatre production, Volcano often works – usually in partnership with other organisations – on additional creative projects across a range of areas of interest and importance to our city, our community and our practice. As in theatre, we aim to make distinctive interventions which unsettle received wisdom and create space to imagine things differently. Example projects:
A new research and development project focusing on the cultural ecology of Swansea.
Through conversations between users, communities, and independent artists, and in response to provocations by independent artists and citizens, four lynchpin cultural organisations in Swansea will develop a vision of cultural democracy and local/global resistance for Wales’s second city, illuminated by perspectives and frames from Buenos Aires (and perhaps Patagonia). Thinking broadly about the landscape of the city now, we ask how people access or are denied cultural experiences, how this maps onto other topographies of power and privilege, and how, as custodians of cultural assets, we can democratise culture and energise community life.
Can a diverse, plural cultural scene produce political agency and disrupt prevailing power relations? Tackling questions of poverty and inequality, we sidestep the notion of art as social benefit, to imagine instead forms of resistance emerging from creative interaction in everyday urban life.
The project is funded by Arts Council of Wales’s innovative new Connect & Flourish programme, which supports collaborative proposals for organisations and artists to try out new ways of working together in the wake of the challenging new conditions brought about by the Coronavirus crisis.
Connexions: Places and Spaces
A new international project funded by British Council Digital Collaborations
Three organisations, who each function as custodians of cultural assets within their respective cities, will use their hub status to promote and initiate international dialogue, learning and co-operation amongst the diverse organisations that are connected to their respective hubs. A new digital platform will host, provoke and support these conversations as they develop and generate new collaborations.
We are hoping to achieve a small, diverse, international collective of urban cultural and community practitioners, organised around key cultural institutions or hubs in the three partner countries – Wales, Brazil and Argentina. The collective will produce a manifesto.
The purpose of this dialogue is to strengthen and enrich existing practices; to learn new ways of doing things from others; to understand the different conditions under which our counterparts operate; to inform, educate and amaze, and to demonstrate the civic/public importance of the arts not just as a ‘sector’ but as a realm within which all sorts of activities take place. Out of this multi-faceted international dialogue will grow new project ideas, new collaborations, perhaps new performances.
The network will be hosted on a new digital platform created using open-source learning software, free for participants to use.
The project partners are Volcano Theatre (Swansea) Remo Produções Artísticas, producer of Festival Internacional de Teatro de Pernambuco (Brazil) and Teatro El Extranjero (Buenos Aires).
From the Station to the Sea
From 2014-2018, Volcano and Coastal Housing group were awarded c. £230K under Arts Council Wales’ Ideas People Places scheme, which aimed to experiment with and change the way ‘regeneration’, and the role of art and culture within it, is conceived and implemented, and to embed these new models within places and communities in the longer term.
Our project, entitled FROM THE STATION TO THE SEA, was about Swansea High Street. It was the smallest of the seven Ideas People Places projects, which were based in geographically and socially distinct community contexts across Wales. From the Station to the Sea was a programme of diverse yet connected projects, each addressing the needs, desires and perceptions of specific constituencies. Working with residents, local organisations, traders, schools, workers, commuters, visitors and socially excluded people, the project aimed to disrupt the prevailing power relations through imaginative interventions in the material and social realm of the street.
After Ideas People Places, we have sought to build on the insights, partnerships and gains of the project through a number of ongoing Station to Sea Legacy Projects including:
An Erasmus+ Project funded by the European Union
POLART CIRCLE brings together nine cultural organizations (including Volcano) from across Europe to create and share online learning tools and provide international training opportunities.
We aim to document and share the methods and processes of diverse practitioners in the performing arts via MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), which can be freely accessed by students, educators and citizens to inform their own political and artistic discussions and practices.
Our partner organizations range from independent theatre makers to large education providers and citizenship organizations. The process of creating the MOOCs creates opportunities for trainees to travel between the partner countries, gaining skills and insights into a diverse range of creative practices.
The Partners are La Transplanisphère (France); Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre; ODC Ensemble / Vyrsodepseio (Greece); Ex Quorum (Portugal); Public Open University of Zagreb (Croatia); Ortzaï Teatro (Spain, Basque Country); Cittadinanzattiva (Italy) and Teatermaskinen (Sweden).
A Station to Sea Legacy Project
Supported by Garfield Weston Foundation
Storyopolis is a literacy project with a difference. A vibrant, city-centre based initiative for Swansea, Storyopolis offers an innovative framework for schools and families from areas of socioeconomic and cultural disadvantage to engage with high quality activities that build the confidence, communication skills and creativity of children and young people, empowering them to make their voices heard in the world. From comics, beatboxing and lego animation to song writing and fake news, Storyopolis embraces the full range of narrative media, techniques and registers, aiming to nurture and develop literacy in its broadest sense amongst all our young citizens.
Storyopolis is conceived by Tim Batcup and was initially developed between 2015 and 2018 under From the Station to the Sea, an Ideas People Places Project supported by the Arts Council of Wales. Storyopolis has received support from The Garfield Weston Foundation, The Oakdale Trust and the Ernest Cook Trust.
From 2019 onwards, Storyopolis has embarked on a new phase of activities supported by the Garfield Weston Foundation.
Project Director Tim Batcup
Creative Producer Roz Moreton
What Makes a Home
A Station to Sea Legacy Project
Supported by Paul Hamlyn Foundation
We all know there are people that are without a home they can call their own, and we know that many people would like to live in different homes from the ones they currently occupy.
In the third iteration of this evolving project about home, working in collaboration with Coastal Housing and Swansea-based artists, we created a temporary space called What Makes A Home in a location right in the centre of Swansea.
This project attempted to discover, in a playful and participatory way, what people would do if they had time to explore what makes a home for them.
The participant artists are Coastal Housing residents, who have explored and interrogated their understanding of what home means to them. Is it space, being connected to their community, light and sounds, family conversation, or just a having the biggest bed you can imagine? Creating various ‘homes’, we hope to create debate, discussion and delight by examining how it makes us feel when we consciously start to think about how we occupy and live in our home-space.
Working over a period of four weeks the five participants, who were each paired up with a Swansea-based professional artist, realised their visions of what makes a home for them in five installation spaces. Philip Cheater then adapted and connected the spaces to create a journey through the different ideas of home.
Participants’ ‘Homes’ were on display at the former ‘Happy Homes’ premises in Castle Street, Swansea in May and June 2019. Watch this space for the next iteration of our Home project!
Creative Producer Roz Moreton
Artists: Zepur Agopyan, Jason A’hearn, Philip Cheater, Gary Crosby, Emily Davies, Chris Harris, Ray Hobbs, Saba Humayun, Jason & Becky, Lee Ludick, Dili Pitt, Eifion Porter, Fran Williams.
Thanks to Geraldine Osborne, BP2 Property, Huw Williams, Jeremy Hill, CJ Ashen.
A Station to Sea Legacy Project
Supported by Arts Council of Wales Creative Collaborations
Beastly Ongoings brought together three very different but equally dynamic organisations at the heart of Swansea High Street, to create a specially-designed sensory adventure for children and young people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and the staff who care for and support them. The children were pursued by tigers, left their imprint in a fossil room, hid themselves amongst strange creatures and released their inner animals!
This collaboration built on the work that Ysgol Crug Glas, Volcano Theatre and Coastal Housing Group did together from 2014-2018 during the High Street project From the Station to the Sea. The middle floor of the historic Kings Lane warehouse, restored from a state of dereliction by Coastal as part of its Urban Village scheme, will form the setting for this week of adventure, which is supported by a Creative Collaborations grant from Arts Council of Wales.
BEASTLY ONGOINGS is inspired by the picture-books of Shaun Tan and by the ideas of architect Aldo Van Eyck. Tan creates darkly beautiful imaginative worlds chock-full of animals, places and objects which are at once familiar and strange. Aldo van Eyck’s work values a sense of place and occasion and is about creating urban places for people through design which gives space for play and imagination.
Conceived by Catherine Bennett and Clare Hobson
Inspired by the work of Shaun Tan and Aldo van Eyck
Directed by Catherine Bennett
Performed by Rick Yale and Catherine Bennett
Designed by Chris Faulds
Sound Artist Luke Turner
Maker Zepur Agopyan
Installation Eifion Porter
Performed 18-22 February 2019