From Devon With Love festival 2018 at The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter

Over the last year I have been getting under the skin of the arts scene in Exeter. We are very lucky to have lots of fantastic festivals happening across the city throughout the year. 

From Devon With Love (happening this month at The Bike Shed Theatre) is a festival of new work from artists based in or with a strong connection to Devon.  The festival supports some of Devon’s best emerging artistic talent to create a show and gain valuable performance opportunities to test it in front of an audience. 

One of the things I love about The Bike Shed is their relentless support of fledgling talent and their willingness to take risks, we are excited to be seeing and reviewing some of the shows.  I highly recommend getting along to some if you can, it’s great to support our local talent and see what the next generation of theatre creators and innovators have in store for us.


What to see..

Polyester (21 Jan, 9pm)

Follow Emily on a heart-warming story of love and laughter. She will take you on a journey back to Dublin, back in time, to the week her father died. In her own words; “the most fun 5 days of her life”. There will be sing-a-longs, stories, laughter and tears all served with a healthy dose of brandy. Polyester is an honest, moving show that will transport you into the heart of an Irish family.  


Mid Life Crisis of David Crockington (21 Jan, 6pm)

A one man show focusing on a man who holds up the Hay on Wye Literary Festival. Taking Stephen Fry and a room full of producers and agents hostage, until his demands of being given one opportunity are met. 


Cotton (22 Jan, 6pm)

When their team collapses, three professional gamers are thrown back into a life that never made sense to them. They have to make it in reality – but how much ‘reality’ is there left for them?

★★★★★ “Thought-provoking” The Open Door

★★★★ “Intense and vibrant” LondonTheatre



Life on Water (22 Jan, 7.30pm & 23 Jan, 9pm)

From Chloe’s year long scientific experiment to a piece of theatre, a combination that has the potential to change the world!? With original spreadsheet analysis, real life film clips, blog extracts and magical moments ‘Life on Water’ is a retelling of one year and how it fundamentally changed one women’s relationship with water forever. 


Glitter in the Wound (22 Jan, 9pm & 23 Jan, 7.30pm)

Emma is talking about rape. Talking openly. About surviving rape, and living with mental illness. She thinks that these are conversations we should be having more often.

Glitter in the Wound is a new, solo autobiographical work-in-progress piece exploring mental health, sexual violence and feminism, in an honest and uplifting way.


Whey Down South (23 Jan, 6pm & 24 Jan, 6pm)

Jenny stands at the top of the hill. Her legs shake, her top lip trembles. The decline before her beckons. This is her time, the hill her arena. Will Jenny defy the expectations of friends and family, risking severe bodily harm to save the Little Curdlington Cheese-Rolling?


Wild (24 Jan, 7.30pm & 25 Jan, 7.30pm)

It’s hard to talk about birth. So we are going to do it with comedy and ferocity. And a glitter bomb.

WILD is a about how we might be using the wrong language around birth. Part riot, part disco, part rite of passage.


Cat People (24 Jan, 9pm)

Charlotte likes the theatre, and Paul likes the football. Paul turns all the light switches off, but Charlotte prefers to waste electricity. Paul is training to be a maths teacher, Charlotte can’t count her change. Charlotte is probably the most disorganised person you’ve ever met, but luckily she has Paul. 

Charlotte and Paul both like cats, so at least they have something in common.An hour of musical stand up, during which Charlotte sings and Paul plays the guitar. 


Really Want to Hurt Me (25 Jan, 6pm & 26 Jan, 7.30pm)

Exeter, 1984. How do you survive being gay at high school with only Culture Club, Eurythmics and Tears for Fears on your side? A funny and painfully honest solo performance about beating the bullies with the magic force fields of pop music and acting. “Do you really want to hurt me?”


Bottom (25 Jan, 7.30pm & 26 Jan, 9pm)

Funny, awkward and with a big heart Willy attempts to navigate through the technicalities of finding love in 2017. Join Willy for a coming-of-age remix, as he questions if a ‘bottom’ in the bedroom means a ‘bottom’ in life –  and whether Beyoncé can help put his love on top.


Vicky and Albert (26 Jan, 6pm)

What do you do when all your friends move on, and you don’t?

Vicky has an app that makes her friends believe she has a boyfriend. She shares all her intimate secrets with him. But when she starts to develop feelings for him, she gets more than she bargained for…


Documental Theatre, Split Second (23 Jan, 7.45pm & 24 Jan, 7.45pm)

Documental invite 10 people to come together in a cosy corner of the Bike Shed Theatre bar to drink cocktails, doodle, knit, and catch each other’s reactions whilst listening through headphones to this 15 minute audio drama about a couple’s very different reactions to the results of an antenatal test.



And if you are a young person or  you have a young person why might like to participate in a drama workshop:

Professional playwright and director Ben SantaMaria is offering a free drama workshop for young people aged 15+ exploring the themes of LGBTQ self-esteem at school and to recreate theatre from their own life experiences.  This will take place at The Boat Shed, The Quay, Exeter on Saturday 27th January (11.00 am till approximately 2.00 pm).  The workshop runs in tandem with Ben’s play “Really Want To Hurt Me” which premieres at The Bike Shed Theatre on January 25th.  

Stonewall’s 2017 School Report study found that nearly half of all LGBTQ pupils still face bullying, half regularly hear homophobic insults, with frequent experiences of low self-worth, self-harm and attempted suicide.

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