Forty touring companies return to the essence of theatre in storytelling around the fire countrywide

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.



Mike Bartlett, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Yolanda Mercy, Kimber Lee, Maya Arad Yasur, Chloe Moss, Ella Carmen Greenhill, Houmi Miura, Asma Elbadawi and Sarah Gonnet are among writers commissioned to create new work for the project

Actors Touring Company, balletLORENT, National Youth Theatre Of Wales, Middle Child, The Wardrobe Ensemble, Wildcard, Told By An Idiot,Diverse City and Extraordinary Bodies, ALP Musicals and Scandal and Gallows Theatre have joined the nationwide festival of fires in addition to the previously announced companies 

Over 40 touring theatre companies are uniting for the first time to tour a single idea at a time when traditional touring is not possible

Events inspired by one of the original forms of theatre – storytelling around a fire – will be presented live and virtually to audiences across the UK

Ranging from letters of hope read by candlelight at home through to a

torch-lit tour of Manchester, the fires will represent the breadth and diversity of the touring circuit

Fires will be lit across the four nations across October and into November in a celebration of touring theatre and as a warning of the ongoing threat facing the industry

Visit for more information and to buy tickets

Over forty of the UK’s top touring theatre companies have today announced further details for Signal Fires, a collective touring initiative that will see new work staged UK-wide throughout October and November. The project, conceived by Headlong and English Touring Theatre, brings together some of the most exciting and diverse touring companies to tour a single idea at a time when traditional touring isn’t possible. For further information visit the Signal Fires website.

Each company involved in the project will self-produce an evening of work – a signal fire – at a different location from Devon to Inverness in celebration of our fundamental need to tell stories, in order to help make sense of the world around us and reimagine the future. 

The project will see new work from Mike Bartlett and Alissa Anne Jeun Yi (English Touring Theatre); Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Chloe Moss, and Ella Carmen Greenhill   (Headlong); Kiki Katese, Alice Oswald, Hema Palani, Will Power, Kim Scott and Sara Shaarawi (Fuel); Rob John (fEAST Theatre); Beth Flintoff (Proteus); Yolanda Mercy, Chinonyerem Odimba, Koko Brown, Lakesha Arie-Angelo and Lekhani Chirwa (45North); Houmi Miura, Chris Shapiro, Jasmine Chong, Mei Yuk Wong and Anna Nguyen(Yellow Earth); Simon Longman (Kestrel Theatre); Asma Elbadawi, Charley Miles, Zoe Cooper and Maureen Lennon (Pilot Theatre); Nassim Soleimanpour, Josh Merritt, Tricia Wey, Sky Yang, Samantha O’Rourke, Conor Hunt, Natasha Brown, Lauren Lopez and Steffi Igbinovia (Boundless); Maya Arad Yasur, Stephanie Street and Kimber Lee (Actors Touring Company) and Sarah Gonnet (Graeae). 

Working with hundreds of UK freelancers, each company’s Signal Fire will be different from the last, spanning different disciplines and reflecting the breadth and diversity of the touring circuit. Some will be presented outdoors in front of socially-distanced live audiences, whilst others will be digital in format for those who are shielding or currently unable to travel. 

What was buried in the past will be unearthed, Headlong has commissioned chilling new tales to be told by the fire-side, including performances by some of the North West’s finest actors at St Luke’s Bombed Out Church in Liverpool.

ETT have commissioned three artists to write and perform original stories and share them in their local communities of Oxford, Kent and Brighton for audiences gathered around fires. Told over three nights by firelight in Dartington Woods, Devon, and over the phone for a week for audiences isolating by their own firesides at home in the Highlands & Islands of Scotland,

Fuel will present five short works by international and local writers.

Actors Touring Company will send out letters of hope, composed by three international writers, to people across the UK along with a tealight and instructions to create small intimate performances of domestic theatre.

In the car park of a YMCA in Scarborough, Pilot Theatre will present Northern Girls, eight new stories exploring what it means to be a northern woman in 2020.

Slung Low have invited story-tellers, poets and musicians to gather around a bonfire lit in front of The Holbeck Working Men’s Club, to tell tales lit by the flames.

Four fictional stories by Simon Longman, inspired and performed by men who have been through the criminal justice system, will be presented by Kestrel Theatre in Asthall, Oxfordshire.

Created by Nassim Soleimanpour and eight powerful writers, Boundless will send fifty Signal Fires, in sealed envelopes, to young adults across the UK which will see storytelling rituals reborn.

Audiences will be invited to join Graeae for a virtual bonfire and night of celebration led by Deaf and Disabled artists, which will feature accessible live storytelling and a sing-and-sign-along, all of which will be captioned and BSL interpreted.

Yellow Earth will take audiences on a walking tour of performances through Manchester, passing the torch from the past to the present and looking towards the future.

Using contemporary theatre, music, rural stories and fires, Paines Plough and Pentabus will stage six pieces of work from their lockdown collaboration Come to Where I Am by firelight at a historic working farm.

National Youth Theatre will stage the first ever performance in a newly built earth amphitheatre lit by fire pits.

In light of the current crisis, the signal fires will create beacons across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland warning of the threat the industry continues to face while celebrating the extraordinary vibrancy of touring theatre and the freelancers they engage.  Stretching across four nations, this festival of fires will connect audiences, freelance artists and touring companies together in a communal, national act of storytelling. 

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. 

Signal Fires will run throughout October and into November across the UK.

For further information visit



This is my Theatre          

16 Oct – 1 Nov

Upper Beeding Pharmacy, Upper Beeding, West Sussex

St Mary’s Church on the Hill Edlesborough, Buckinghamshire

Leconfield Hall, Petworth, West Sussex

All Saints’ Church, Icklingham, Suffolk

St Peter’s Church, Sudbury, Suffolk

All Saints’ Church, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

St Mary’s Arts Centre, Sandwich, Kent

Preston Old Church, Brighton, East Sussex

Albury Old Saxon Church, Albury, Surrey

Stockbridge Town Hall, Stockbridge, Hampshire

The Hawth Theatre, Crawley, West Sussex

The Medieval Hall, Salisbury, Wiltshire

Upper Beeding Pharmacy, Upper Beeding, West Sussex

Ethan Taylor-Macbeth

Jessica Wren-Lady Macbeth/Banquo/First Witch

Matt Tweddle-Second Witch/Duncan

Simon Stallard-Macduff/Third Witch

Simon Stallard (composer / arranger)

Sarah Slator (director)

National Youth Theatre of Great Britain

21 – 22 Oct

Soulton Hall, Shrewsbury, Shropshire

Co-Directors Zoe Lafferty & Joel Scott

Actors Touring Company         

24 Oct – 30 Nov

UK wide

Maya Arad Yasur (writer)

Eran Edry (translator from Hebrew)

Stephanie Street (writer)

Kimber Lee (writer)

Grace Smart (designer)

Matthew Xia (director)

Eastern Angles & HighTide 

24 Oct


Ben Weatherill (writer)

Aisha Zia (writer)

Sabrina Sandhu (performer)

Pilot Theatre

w/c 26 October

Scarborough,  North Yorkshire

Asma Elbadawi (writer)

Charley Miles (writer)

Zoe Cooper (writer)

Maureen Lennon (writer)

Shannon Barker (writer)

Claire Edwards (writer)

Amy-Kay Pell (writer)

Ariel Hebditch (writer)


26 Oct



26 October


Boundless Theatre         

26-31 Oct

UK Wide 

Nassim Soleimanpour (writer)

Josh Merritt (writer)

Tricia Wey (writer)

Sky Yang (writer)

Samantha O’Rourke (writer)

Conor Hunt (writer)

Natasha Brown (writer)

Lauren Lopez (writer)

Steffi Igbinovia (writer)

 Scandal and Gallows Theatre

w/c 26 October

The banks of the Thames, Southeast London

George Johnston – Writer

Guy Clark – Performer

Ebe Bamgboye – Director

Alex Podger – SM and Fire Technician

Fuel, Coombe Farm Studios and Eden Court Highlands in association with The Woodland Presents

28-30 Oct

Dartington, Devon

2-7 November, by phone


Dartington, Devon

Kiki Katese  (Writer)

Alice Oswald (Writer)

Hema Palani (Writer)

Will Power (Writer)

Kim Scott (Writer)

Sara Sharaawi (Writer)

Adura Onashile (Director)

Paines Plough and Pentabus

28-29 Oct


Eastern Angles

 29 October

Westleton Village Hall, Suffolk

 30 October

Harkstead, Suffolk  


30 Oct


fEAST Theatre

30 October 

Wells-next-the-sea, Norfolk

Rob John (Writer)

Slung Low  

31 Oct

The Holbeck, Leeds LS11  

Nima Taleghani (performer)

Iain Bloomfield (performer) 

Claire Marie Seddon (performer) 

Boff Whalley (performed) 


31 Oct


Beth Flintoff (writer)

Ashley Christmas (performer)

Paul Huntley-Thomas (performer)

Scratchbuilt Productions (children’s stories)


31 Oct – 1 Nov


Yolanda Mercy (writer)

Chinonyerem Odimba (writer)

Koko Brown (writer)

Lakesha Arie-Angelo (writer)

Lekhani Chirwa (writer)

Yellow Earth Theatre

31 Oct – 1 Nov

Various locations in Manchester City Centre

Chris Shapiro (writer and performer)

Houmi Miura (writer and performer)

Jasmine Chong (writer)

Mei Yuk Wong (writer)

Anna Nguyen (writer, director and producer)

Naomi Sumner Chan (dramaturg)

Big Telly Theatre Company

1 Nov

Portrush, Northern Ireland

Diverse City and Extraordinary Bodies 

2 Nov



3-5 Nov

St Luke’s Bombed Out Church, Liverpool

Morgan Lloyd Malcom (writer)

Chloe Moss (writer)

Ella Carmen Greenhill (writer)

Holly Race Roughan (director)

Moi Tran (designer)

National Youth Theatre of Wales

Wk 2 Nov


English Touring Theatre     

w/c 2 Nov 


Mike Bartlett (writer/performer)  


Alissa Anne Jeun Yi (writer/performer) 


Artist TBC 

Spare Tyre

4 Nov

Zoom and YouTube

Rebecca Manson Jones (director) 

Genetic Moo (digital artist)

Potential Difference 

4 Nov


Anne-Marie Piazza (co-creator)

Jess Mabel Jones (co-creator)

Jon McLeod (co-creator)

Lori Hopkins(co-creator)

Lucy Sierra (co-creator)

Natalie Allison (co-creator)

Russell Bender (co-creator)

Sherry Coenen (co-creator)

Tom Espiner (co-creator)

Victoria Saxton (co-creator)

Wendy Kibble (co-creator)

ALP musicals

5 Nov


Middle Child

5 Nov


Beyond Face

5 Nov


fEAST Theatre

6 Nov

Great Yarmouth, Norfolk    

Rob John (writer)


7 Nov


Sarah Gonnet (story writer)

John Kelly (musician & song writer)

Nikki Charlesworth (designer) 

Nickie Miles-Wildin & Daryl Beeton (presenters)

Kestrel Theatre

8 Nov

Asthall, Oxfordshire

Simon Longman (writer)

The Wardrobe Ensemble         

Dates TBC


Told by an Idiot

Dates TBC