From Underland to Wonderland
1999: eve of a new millennium, and Periplum launches its first offering in the crooked-floored bar cellar of The Levellers Metway Studios in Brighton. Artaud in Wonderland is a fantastical study of the Theatre of Crueltys creator. Swinging lanterns illuminate the dying madmans defiant dreams. Poor of means yet rich in content, this is the first example of our trademark display of maximum imagination using minimum resources. The show toured until 2006.
Music & Magick
Following collaboration with a live kleisma band to showcase a new piece (Water), our next major project, Rasputin (2001), is a study of the intense relationship the mad monk had with Russias doomed monarchy. A family of string instruments, issuing forth like Russian dolls from a double bass, form the visual storyline by suggestion. Hung from the ceiling and swung like pendulums, they evoke machineries of oncoming revolution and war in a world teetering towards disaster.
In 2002 we tour China: UK ambassadors at both Beijing and Wuhan International Festivals of Culture. We work with Beijing International School students to create a performance for UN-day celebrations before going on to British Council-sponsored shows in Chongqing.
With 2003s site-specific Crowley we become UK representatives in the Aurora Nova International Festival, converting a churchs vaults especially for a 40-show run. Our explorations into the imagery of mental and physical explosions and sounds of world travel are the beginning of a new direction towards intelligent spectacle.
Reaching for the Light
In 2004 we collaborate with 60 choir singers and 15 performers to produce Rising, an outdoor site-specific audio-visual spectacle for the National Streets Arts Festival.
Lighting up the sky with ominous embers, Arquiem (2005) is inspired by a murder ballad, and explores public space and entertainment as primal spectacle. The crowd becomes a mob witnessing the execution of a boy who murdered his love. With powerful performances and intense visuals, the show is a hit of the National Theatres outdoor programme in 2006 & 2007 and continues to tour.
2007: in response to world events of recent years, our new spectacle The Bell depicts a war-torn land with detonations & high-octane action in and around the audience. The public are called upon en masse to help re-raise a land reduced to rubble. With successful UK & international touring, The Bell continues to toll.
Extending our educational work through residencies in Mexico in Autumn 2008, we work with 90 local performers to create exciting site-specific performances at a roofless church in Mexico City and a derelict coffee plantation in Vera Cruz.
Road to revolution
Globe (2008) is a site-responsive interactive installation & performance as part of the award-winning Enchanted Parks event in Gateshead. Attended by 10,000 locals over 10 nights, our performance was a twisted fairytale delight drawing on local social history and the iconic Saltwell Towers.
In 2009, Periplum is 10 years old and creates a new city-specific theatre trail. Inspired by the power of music to help us change our lives. 1000 revolutions per moment is developed and performed to audience acclaim in UK towns and cities, also giving rise to the music-fuelled interactive pop video – Jump to Coda (2010).
We continue to listen out for inspiration as our old turntable turns and the turbines burn, and we welcome others joining us on this journey.