World Premiere of Daniel Bye’s Tiny Heroes

Daniel Bye, who was last at The Bike Shed theatre with the phenomenal Going Viral, has been developing the world premiere of his new show Tiny Heroes, on our Devon Residency programme.

Tiny Heroes is a show about acts of heroism and the idea of heroism. Whether it really is a thing or an unhelpful macho concept. When you ask people about heroism they tend to think of people out of burning buildings or quite military things like running, jumping and shooting guns. We’re more interested in smaller acts of heroism. The things that people do every day like volunteering in a hospice or running a marathon for charity. We don’t instinctively think of these things as heroic because we have an idea of heroism inspired by the military. So it’s kind of teasing away at the concept of heroism and whether it’s helpful, whether it exists or whether everyone is a hero! I got an email from Children in Need, I had donated money to them, and it said ‘Thank you, you’re a hero.’ and I had actually deleted the suggested donation and gave half the amount. I wonder how much it would be before I was no longer a hero and just ‘nice’. The concept of heroism is simultaneously quite elevated but also debased. I could say ‘Could you just hold this cup for me? Thanks, you’re a life-saver’.

Over our two weeks research and development in Exeter  and North Devon we’ve met people who’ve done amazing things, almost all of whom say ‘obviously I’m not a hero’ and almost all of whom are, depending on what the word ‘hero’ really means.The people we’ve met in Exeter have said ‘I don’t really know what you want me to talk about’ and we say ‘that amazing thing you did’ and they say things like ‘well, anyone would have done that’ as if it is instinctive, normal, natural behaviour. We met a woman who runs a thing called Exeter soup which happens every few months.  A group of people come together, eat some soup and pay £5, at the same time 4 charities talk to them about their work and at the end of the evening everyone who has had some soup decides which of the charities should get the money. But it also raises the awareness of the charities who don’t get the money and sometimes people support them in other ways. The lady told us about setting it up but also in passing, she told us about the way she’s intervened to help people who were quite badly injured. A man came off a motorbike outside her house, he was very drunk and he wanted to get away because he was worried about what the police would say. He couldn’t get up because he’d broken a leg but he was so drunk he didn’t know what had happened. This woman who is quite a small woman, sat on his chest for 45 minutes while she waited for the ambulance to arrive. She told us that anyone would have done it but it turns out anyone wouldn’t have done it. We asked some of her neighbours who all said that they’d knocked on her door because they thought she’d be the right person to take action and step in. I don’t know if that will be in the show but it’s great research –  who are the heroes among us and are some people more likely to be a hero than others?

Tiny Heroes will be here at The Bike Shed Theatre, 16 – 20 Feb.  Click here for details and to book.