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Interview with Elinor Randle (Artistic Director of Tmesis Theatre)

We chat to Elinor Randle, artistic director of Tmesis Theatre ahead of international festival of physical theatre Physical Fest.

Tmesis have developed a strong reputation nationally and internationally for their innovative, groundbreaking, visually stunning, and thought-provoking physical theatre work, which is communicative and highly accessible.

How was Tmesis Theatre founded?

I was on a physical theatre program at Hope St back in 2002 and found, after previously studying theatre, a new passion for movement.
Tmesis Theatre was established in 2013 with Kate Cave and Yorgos Karamalegos. We started creating movement-based work that was different to any other physical theatre being created in Liverpool at the time. A year later, we decided to set up Physical Fest, initially from a desire to bring exciting physical theatre workshops and artists to the city as we were always travelling to train and do workshops. Since then it has grown organically year by year and is now well known internationally as it’s the only festival specifically specialising in physical theatre in Europe

Where did the idea of Young Physical Fest stem from?

For a long time we've had professional workshops and we’re keen to engage a wider audience. Performance events are harder to get audiences to engage - so we've found our workshops can help engage younger audiences, being both fun and practical. We're trying to engage with younger audiences who might want to volunteer with us in the future. Schools are often getting in touch with us, along with youth theatres so hopefully this is the start of something. We've had a 12-week project with the Blue Room who have been brilliant and really enthusiastic; also we've been collaborating on a community street theatre project with youth theatre companies.

How has Physical Fest developed over the years?

We've grown more with performances, film and creative debates. It was introduced slowly, and that was partly to do with funding, as we were self-funded for two years. We're becoming more established as we're being seen to reach a more international audience. We offer unique adult workshops which are affordable and people want to train, and try their hand at a mixture of different workshops. But even though we've spread to audiences all over the world, we're still very Liverpool-based. I feel proud to represent Liverpool and  Physical theatre. We hope to continue to grow, with professional workshops, Unity performances and by expanding our work outside into the streets around the city. 

What are your aims for the future?

We’d like to work with young companies, and graduate companies such as John Moores' students - who will be undergoing training with us for six days for a performance at the opening this year. I would like to continue to reach more people in the city through large scale outdoor work, bring even more exciting performances from international artists and create projects that are created in the city, by people in the city, using it’s unusual spaces


Tmesis Theatre presents: Young Physical Fest Sat 10 - Sun 11 May.
A weekend of workshops and performances for children, young people and families in the lead up to Physical Fest at the end of May.


Dreaming Through Windows Sat 10 May

A physical performance which is the culmination of a 12 week participatory project in collaboration with the Bluecoat, The Blue Room, and local students, created by Tmesis Theatre. Inspired by the world of our dreams and ways of seeing in the 'Negligent Eye' exhibition.


Physical Fest: Draw Your Heart Out Mon 26 May

A workshop combining guided experiments in mark making with theatrical performance to inspire an imaginative approach to drawing. Caustic Widows will perform extracts from Paperwork, a macabre exploration of the bureaucracy of life and the act waiting. Caustic Widows are an emerging company creating highly original, radical and visually exciting theatre.


Physical Fest: Live Jam Wed 28 May

Fest participants and performers join in this improvised jam with live music. An exciting, hilarious evening of entertainment where anything can happen!


Want to learn more about Physical Fest? Visit 

9 days of performances, events, street theatre and workshops: Check out the shows on:


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October Half Term at Bluecoat

published by Barry

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