Developed over almost three years for the coastal region of Torbay in South Devon, The Tale came to fruition in September 2017. This cross-artform project heralded a new type of arts event, taking audiences on a multi-layered journey around the bay. 

8 September to 24 September 2017
Torbay, South Devon, UK

‘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, 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 super-reality.’ – The Times

Fusing history and heritage with dreams of the future, The Tale journey led audiences through a series of commissions spanning visual art installations, sound-works, sculpture, unforgettable immersive theatre, music and dance. Experienced over one or two days, the rich variety of artforms matched the ever-changing scenery of the route; picture-postcard harbours nestled alongside dark backstreets, concrete car parks and breath-taking wilderness.

The writer and broadcaster Phillip Hoare, winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for non-fiction and one of the UK’s foremost Natural history writers, was commissioned to create the central text ‘Falling since Noon’ which acted as the central text of the project from the beginning. Drawing on his boyhood experiences of the English Riviera, the mythical tale of Icarus and the rich, layered geological history of the Riviera Geopark, Hoare’s text encompassed Oscar Wilde’s writing of his infamous letter to Bosie from Babbacombe Cliff, Claude Grahame-White’s first flight over Torquay, Isadora Duncan’s residence at Oldway Mansion in Paignton and the faded 1970s glamour of the English Riviera.

In response to this central text, a further nine artists and companies were invited to create site-responsive commissions, collaborating with Hoare, local residents, partner organisations and the landscape in their work. The Tale played out across 19 days, commissioned 9 significant new works, involving 23 artists and over 200 local participants.

“The Tale uses Hoare’s writing to create a thrilling journey of cultural collisionthrough 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

Situations employed engagement producers on the ground and worked with local partners to arrange free and 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.


The Tale was a collaborative project from the Situations’ team first visit to Torbay in summer of 2014. The conversations and sharing of knowledge and experience that went into this project, particularly with young residents of Torbay, were essential to its development.

Artist project credits

One Step at a Time Like This – lmmergence
Co-devisors: Annoshka Bradshaw, Hugh Malyon,
Jade Willow Whatley, Lucas Bradshaw, Robin Evelyn, 21 Guns. Dancers: lngri Fiskdal. Technical support: Dan Hobson

Marc Rees – Alphington Ponies
Sophie Northmore – Dancer
Kay Crook – Dancer
Anya Botterill – Make Up

Britt Hatzius – In Order Not to Be There
Children and staff at Curledge Street Academy Chris Watson – No Man’s Land
Ocean Youth
Sound Communities

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 THANKS –

Artizan Gallery, Artory, Ben & Laura and the team at The Corner Shop, Calling The Shots, Canvas Arts,
Curledge Street Academy, Dance in Devon, Diverse City, Doorstep Arts, Encounters Arts, English Riviera Geopark, English Riviera Tourism Company, Fourth Estate, Funfish Trips, Hauser & Wirth, International Agatha Christie Festival, Ocean Youth, Real Ideas Organisation, ROC Creative, South Devon College, Spindrift, Terry’s Zimmers, The Foyer, The Torcroft, Torbay Council, Torbay Development Agency, Torre Abbey THANKS – PEOPLE
Nicole Amil, Karen Annis, Siri Aronsen, Jay Auborn, David Bartlett, David Bartlett, Robert Bazely,
Ruth Ben-Tovim, Phil Black, Emma Blake Morsi, Georgina Bolton, Mel Border, Julie Brandon, Josephine Brown, Edson Burton, Tracey Cabache, Jade Campbell, Richard Carter, Victoria Carter, Rachel Cartwright, Shelley Castle, Carolyn Custerson, Ruth Dartington, Rupert Davies, Bojana Daw-Srdanovic, Gareth Day, Carmen de Silva, Alan Denby, Nadja Dias, Kevin Dixon, David Ellington, Kate Farmery, Andy Field, Steve Gear, Adam Gent, Anne Gilroy, Basil Greenwood, Ross Hamilton, David Harbott, Patrick Hargadon, Sophie Haworth, Sheila Healy, Jess Hellens, Phil Hobson, Owen Hopkin, Miranda Jacobs, Sarah James, Simon Jutton, John Kieffer, Owen Kimm, Lara Lloyd, Hugh Malyon, Shonagh Manson, Kurt Motridge, Dave Musgrove, Hugh Nankivell, Damian Offer, Jon Opie, Steve Parrack, Kate Paxman, Simon Pinder, Nick Powe, Kate Rudman, David Sadler, Nicole Schuchardt, Ralph Stobart, Tanny Stobart, Anne Torreggiani, Paul Trainer, Lu Travers, James Tyson, Julian Vayne,Jo Verrent, Molly Waiting, Suzie West, Emily Williams, Paul Woolnough, Seema Patel, Rowan Wilkinson

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