Give Me Back My Broken Night

Paul Clarke, Uninvited Guests, Duncan Speakman

Research output: Non-textual formPerformance


Uninvited Guests’ Give Me Back My Broken Night combines a theatrical guided tour with innovative locative media and a networked drawing app. Unlike conventional guided tours and historic walks, which encourage audiences to explore the past, Give Me Back My Broken Night is a guided tour of the future of a place. The project explored how technology and performance can be used to enable communities’ participation in urban planning consultation and to facilitate conversations around place making. The performance asks audiences to collaboratively imagine and debate possible futures for their city.

Originally developed as part of Watershed's Theatre Sandbox Programme Give Me Back was also performed as part of the European City of Culture programme in Guimaraes, Portugal, 2012. In 2013 the show was commissioned as part of a series of Bristol Temple Quarter commissions coordinated by Watershed, Knowle West Media Centre and MAYK, with support from Bristol City Council and Arts Council England.

In Bristol, the audience met at Harts Bakery, under the arches of Temple Meads, before being taken on a journey into the future of the Enterprise Zone. Divided into groups, the audience set off with their guides to a number of destinations in the Zone. At each place the guide gave a description of the future, based on actual plans for the Enterprise Zone, or a utopian, nostalgic vision of the future, drawn from historical research about the area. The journey also took in a more dystopian possibility. Wearing headphones, the audience listened to a message from a future in which Bristol is submerged underwater, accompanied by a sci-fi soundtrack composed by Duncan Speakman of circumstance.

The audience also had the opportunity to propose their own version of the future. Participants were given a blank map and a mini projector and invited to describe what they’d like to see on a site where a building had been demolished. As they collaboratively described their ideal future architecture, an artist’s impression started to appear in glowing lines on the map.

The performance and your tour of the future of the zone ended with a fictional planning meeting in Brunel’s Boardroom in the Old Station, where audiences had the opportunity to propose their ideas and discuss the drawings they’d made more thoroughly. Participants share their visions for the future of their city, whilst also debating the ideals behind them.
Translated title of the contributionGive Me Back My Broken Night
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTheatre Sandbox, Soho Theatre
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010
EventTheatre Sandbox, Soho Theatre -
Duration: 1 Oct 20102 Oct 2010

Bibliographical note

Medium: Performance and Pervasive Media
Other identifier: Theatre Sandbox commission
Other: This project was created as part of the Theatre Sandbox project, commissioned by Pervasive Media Studio and developed with The Soho Theatre


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