Extra-Live Theatre at The Bike Shed

Coming up soon we have a show featuring an especially inclusive style which is designed to make all audience members feel at home. Although inclusivity and accessibility are values we already try to live by at The Bike Shed, The North! The North! goes further than that, in that it is, in a way, an extremely ‘relaxed’ performance. Chris Harrison (former director of our associate company Rhum and Clay), the artist behind The North! The North!, explains in more detail what ‘Extra-Live’ means.

Chris Harrison on ‘Extra Live’

The North! The North! is an Extra-Live show. Extra-Live began from a discussion about relaxed performances. These are shows designed to provide a safe, ‘relaxed’ environment for audiences that might find a traditional theatre context intimidating or difficult (they are generally considered to be predominantly for, though not limited to, audiences on the autism spectrum). What I love about those performances is how engaging and how much fun they are: they acknowledge an audience, inviting them in. The performers don’t spend an hour or more pretending that the people watching them don’t exist. An unexpected noise happens. Someone has to leave. Someone shouts out. In non-relaxed spaces, this may lead to that strange kind of tension and anguish amongst the audience you might be familiar with or, even worse, tutting.

The performance should be able to absorb and respond (in whatever fashion) to these incidents because, after all, it is a live event. These are the things I remember from a show, that make it special: its liveness. Extra-Live is merely a continuation of this, putting the audience –whoever they may be- and the reality of the room in that moment at the centre of the work. Anyone and everyone can come to an extra-live show.

The North! The North! has been made in this spirit and although it has a story that I will tell, to you, for just over an hour, you are very much a part of it (don’t worry, I won’t get you up on stage). At heart, it’s a new term for an old thing, but when so much theatre is considered to be cliquey, stuffy or strict, I think it’s good to give the alternative a name and be proud of it.

So join me. You are invited.

The North! The North!

This is a show about the bad things that happen in the world and the stories that come from them. The monsters, both real and imagined, the myths that England is built on. In a darkly comic style, Chris Harrison explores the dark and the violent with playful storytelling, surrealism and a homely northern accent. Expect humans with tails, vomiting eggs and visual physicality that perpetuates humorous characterisation.

Tickets are £12 (£10) with members prices £10 (£8), there’s 2 for 1 on the Tuesday and tickets are available here.