‘a joyous expression of what it feels like to belong to the world. – The Stage

‘Multi-sensory, genre-hopping, participative and provocative, the Tale puts Torbay on the map.’  The Guardian

The Tale was a journey of discovery across the coast of Torbay, inspired by the writing of acclaimed author Philip Hoare, who spent many childhood holidays there. Audience uncovered site-specific art works across three towns in South Devon, navigating the journey with just a handy guide.

Leading international artists created nine site-specific new works in response to Philip’s commissioned text, often in collaboration with local people.

Audience were first invited into The Society of Lost Soulsthe embarkation point for The Tale, curated by Philip Hoare and Marc Rees, featuring the wonders of Torquay Museum and Jonathan Anderson’s incredible sculpture, Dark Star.

Australian performance group one step at a time like this created Immergence, an audio guided backstreet tour of Torquay, devised and performed by 8 young people from Play Torbay.

The Alphington Ponies, local legend from 1800s Torquay,  wander the streets of Torquay for the duration of The Tale, brought to life by Marc Rees.

At Paignton Picture House, an exquisite Art Deco cinema, the oldest purpose-built cinema in Europe, Britt Hatzius created In Order Not To Be There, a beautiful ‘blind cinema’ experience, with 60 local schoolchildren.

Over to Brixham, the final destination of the journey, where leading disabled performance artist and dancer Claire Cunningham, devised durational piece Beyond the Breakwater for Breakwater Beach, Brixham. The piece used over 100 crutches and enlisted the help of local kayakers, Ibex Canoe Club.

Acclaimed sound artist, co-founder of experimental music collective Cabaret Voltaire and BBC Wildlife Sound Recordist, Chris Watson, created an immersive sound installation, No Man’s Land deep in an ancient quarry.

No Man’s Land took the audience on a journey of the world’s oceans, starting with recordings from Brixham, taking a sonic journey of the imagination through the seas, from Weddell seals singing under the Antarctic sea ice, to the coral reef in the South China seas, and finshing back with sounds from Paignton Harbour.

Whilst listening to the murmurations and booms of No Man’s Land, audience were invited to wander to Chalk Water by leading visual artist Ellen Gallagher, and see how the watery marks and staves complement Watson’s piece, and the ocean vista.

The Tale finished at a seawater lido, where the sea meets the sky, with Norwegian choreographer, Ingri Fiksdal’s Diorama for Shoalstone Pool. Diorama was performed by local dancers from SpinDrift dance and Norwegian dancers.

The Tale, an ambitious international celebration of the glories and mundanities of this storied seaside resort, turns these artists’ dreams into a brief, explosive, end-of- summer superreality. – The Times

This map is from the guide, which contains more information about the experience and the works. Download it here.

“The Tale uses Hoare’s writing to create a thrilling journey of cultural collision through a series of works and encounters made and delivered with local participation by individuals of all ages and demographics from across the region” – The Stage

The Tale was developed over 3 years with 12 local partners, and with the creative involvement of a wide cross-section of the community.

Over 200 local people brought The Tale to life, working collaboratively with 23 of the world’s leading artists and the Situations team in Torbay and Bristol.

Situations employed engagement producers on the ground and worked with local partners to arrange free & subsidised access for care homes, children and young adults with learning disabilities, guided access slot, a sold out specialized BSL tour and 675 primary school children from 5 local schools.

“This makes life worth living.”  Care Home outreach participant

The Tale took place from 8 September to 24 September 2017 across the coast of Torbay, South Devon. Audiences started in Torquay, before heading over to Paignton and finishing in Brixham.

Credits and thanks

The Tale was produced by Situations with partners across Torbay and the South West. Partners include: Exeter University, International Agatha Christie Festival, Paignton Picture House, Play Torbay, Pro Audio Systems, Shoalstone Pool, Sound Communities, South Devon College, Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust, Torbay Community Development Trust, Torbay Culture, Torquay Museum.

Funders and supporters

The Tale was funded by Arts Council England through an Ambition for Excellence Award. We also gratefully acknowledge the funders and supporters of the project below.

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