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About Parrabbola

"Parrabbola is a non-profit-making cultural organisation that specialises in community engagement through participatory creative activity. From tiny rural communities to major international festivals, we work with people within their own localities using creativity to help them engage with, learn about and celebrate the places where they live. Parrabbola has a small management and artistic team that brings together independent freelance arts and cultural practitioners to work co-operatively on its community play, street festival projects and development programmes in the UK and overseas. We’ve also been commissioned by Arts Council England to develop work within diverse communities. All this is done chiefly through large scale community performances which bring together companies of as many as 300 participants and volunteers to create spectacular outdoor and indoor work from scratch. We have a very successful track record of working in across the UK and internationally. You can see films of our work at

We have adapted our participatory model to engage communities across Europe through large scale community productions of Shakespeare - in association with many of the members of the European Shakespeare Festivals Network. We are a key partner in the York International Shakespeare Festival."

Mission Statement
"Parrabbola tells stories. From tiny rural communities to major international festivals, we work with people within their own localities using creativity to help them engage with, learn about and celebrate the places where they live. It is both reflective and celebratory. We’ve made work about miners in Yorkshire and female pirates in Essex. We’ve carried Juliet’s body through the streets of a Romanian city, and burnt a Viking longboat on a village beach. We’ve made projects that ask people to explore and question their place in the world and how they can change it. Our work is largely performative, drawing on a range of artforms. Our process of making work is driven by participation and consultation with the community with whom we’re working, and through a variety of methods. We believe firmly that good community based work is bespoke rather than generic. For us story gathering always contains an element of exchange – sometimes that’s an exchange of time, sometimes of activity. We’ve swapped; dreams for sweets, stories for cups of tea, collected and discussed scrap metal while making a fantastical popup museum, asked people to write the next line of a never ending poem, and simply sat in the pub and at lunch clubs and spent time chatting."

Ways that Parrabbola has already practiced “green” theatre
We look at energy use within all our work, where possible using renewable resources. We have a bicycle powered cinema. Props and costumes are retained wherever possible for further use, and are offered to other companies for their use. Environmentally friendly materials are used wherever possible. We will work with local providers for all services, reducing transport costs. Train travel over flying wherever feasible and possible."

Ways that Parrabbola has already used their productions to highlight local or global ecological issues
"Specific productions have been subject focussed. These are not Shakespeare specific. Half a Cod a Day, exploring fishing and overfishing. The Lost Orchards of the Left Coast, a mapping and community engagement project around apple trees in Blackpool and The Wyre, for Leftcoast Banquet project HUNT! – Growing Granby, Liverpool: a year long series of research, activities and performance events, exploring the food growing history of the Toxteth Hunting Park. The Stem, The Bud, The Bloom, The Seed - a dance theatre meditation on our relationship with the world in which we live and many others where our relationship with the Environment is brought to the fore.

Our production of A Midsummer Nights Dream for the Craiova International Shakespeare Festival had a strong environmental message within it, and looked carefully at where and how we live.

Our site specific work is always sensitive to the sites in which we work.

In April 2020, we will make a new piece around Shakespeare and Climate Change as part of the Craiova International Shakespeare Festival, working in collaboration with community actors from Craiova"

What are Parrabbola's eco-theatrical goals and aspirations for the future? What do they want to work on and achieve? What kind of help and advice would be useful to them?
"To continue to work sustainably and with a light touch. To continue to work in collaboration with the communities where we are making work. To explore how we can lessen our impact on the environment - particularly through travel - while continuing to make live theatre."

Interview with Parrabbola founder Philip Parr here

Visit Parrabbola's official website here