Canoe Theatre came into fruition in 2013 with a commitment to diversifying the plays on offer in Wales with a focus on widening audience demographic.
The ethos behind Canoe is to produce new plays by writers who are respected for truthfully depicting the narrative of the time and to producing established plays that have had an exceptional impact outside of Wales but have yet to have been performed professionally in Wales. Working with organisations to ensure audience development is a key factor to achieving the strategic aims of the company.
Canoe Theatre advocates that:
Theatre should be an experience that makes use of all the senses.
Theatre should inspire response through thought and feeling and must value this above intellect.
Canoe Theatre uses a sensory approach that engages audiences and stimulates discussion and response to the themes and narrative. The work is chosen to allow potential audiences the opportunity to see theatre as a place to recognise themselves and the community that they live in and feel empowered to respond and react to the work they experience.
As part of each project, Canoe also makes links and forms partnerships with relevant charitable and professional organisations so that new audiences can be identified and encouraged. This also ensures that discussions and forums that develop as part of the production are informed and backed by expertise.
Canoe aims to develop plays and/or writers that have made a significant contribution to the craft of theatre making - this often means that the themes of the play are challenging and relevant. There is also a commitment to bringing this work to Wales. Building upon the question - What makes a good play? Canoe Theatre are also committed to developing new ideas that acknowledge theatre as a medium to share and express culture and social history. All artistic decisions are guided by the questions ‘who is it for?’ and ‘why make this now?’ and the strategic aims are anchored by the mission to dissolve barriers that exclude people from experiencing live theatre.
Recent work includes a full production of This Incredible Life by Alan Harris at Ffwrnes, Llanelli, in 2016, which went on to tour Wales in 2018, and a research and development process for Three Tall Women, all made possible by ACW funding. Other work to date is blue/orange by Joe Penhall in partnership with Sherman Cymru, The Warm Heart of Africa devised by James Williams and Cassie Raine in Partnership with The Wales Millennium Centre's Incubator project.
Canoe is run on a project by project basis by Megan Price and Julia Thomas as joint Creative Producers. Megan is an experienced freelance arts marketer, and Julia is an experienced theatre director who is the recipient of the RTYDS award at Leicester Curve having recently been resident director at The National Theatre Studio, London.