Wren: Alice Smith / Angus Balbernie

alice smith

Wednesday 26 May 2021
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Ashburton Arts Centre


£10/£8/£5 – Get your tickets here

“At the point of winter.
A peculiar little bird
that dresses up
in witch’s underwear.
At the heart of things.
To slay the WREN,
quo’ brither and kin.”

Created and directed
by Angus Balbernie

Performed and co-devised
by Alice Smith.

A woman dances alone, and a wren’s wings swing at 700 bpm.
She has to stay aware and safe, and the wren is hunted down.

Wren takes from the old stories and songs of “cutty wren”, and from the poem “Half Hanged Mary” by Margaret Atwood and re-imagines them for 2021. The cutty wren was traditionally hunted and killed on the winter solstice or St Stephens day each year, and then left hanging on branches to bring good luck for the new year. Half Hanged Mary was Mary Webster, tried and hung as a witch in New England around 1680. Both the wren and Mary were innocent and left hanging… Has anything really changed today?

Wren, "Angus Balbernie", "Alice Smith"

Angus Balbernie has created around 85 pieces, directed, performed, taught and improvised across Europe, North and South America, Canada and Asia.

Alice is a Bristol-based dancer, performance maker and Pilates teacher. A graduate of Falmouth University, she has worked as a performer for various companies and artists across the UK and internationally, including Cscape Dance Company (Cornwall), filmmaker Karni Arieli, Lavrak Circus (Bristol), Penultimate Physical Theatre (Bristol) and Silke Z/Resistdance (Cologne). In 2020 she founded a dance company, Big and Milky Co, and is currently developing the company’s debut work “Well, That Sucks”.

Doors open at 7:00. Start time 7:30.

Made with support from Peninsula Dance Partnership and Liebig 12 Berlin.

Pandemic policies. This information will be updated as things change.

Thu 14 October: some minor changes below to make clearer, and adding a request to take a Lateral Flow Test before coming to an event at the Arts Centre

Mon 19 July: We will continue with everything listed below, which have been in place since 17 May. We have added a new protocol for sitting in the balcony, making face masks compulsory there:

  • As levels of Covid infections are increasing again in this area (on 14 October), we request that everyone take a Lateral Flow test before coming to the Arts Centre, and that you don’t come if this is positive. In this case, a refund or transfer of your ticket to another event can be arranged, if you let us know before the end of the event, by emailing boxoffice@ashburtonarts.org.uk.
  • The windows and doors of the venue will be open, allowing fresh air to be constantly moving through. This may mean that the ambient temperature is similar to outdoors, and audience members should dress accordingly. From October, when necessary, we are switching on the electric heaters in the main hall, even though the windows are open. This makes the central part of the hall warmer. The seats at the sides under the balcony don’t get as much benefit from this.
  • We recommend wearing face masks whenever inside the building. We particularly ask everyone to wear a mask when in the bar area, unless medically exempt; and…
  • Anyone who sits in the balcony MUST wear a face mask – with no exceptions. This is: (a) to provide a place for people who want to be as distanced as possible from others, and with anyone nearby wearing a mask – the seats in the balcony are naturally separated; and (b) as virus particles when airborne are generally heavier than air, this helps to mitigate the risk of transmission from people sitting in the balcony to audience members below.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available as well as soap and water in the toilets; please use these frequently.
  • Bar service at the Arts Centre is carried out by volunteers. If enough are available, they will take orders at your seat, and bring drinks to you. Otherwise, you can order drinks at the bar, one person at each end of the bar at a time, and take them immediately to your seat.
  • All members of the audience should wear a facemask while indoors, except if medically exempt, or when eating or drinking. Our experience is that this is one of the things most important for making some (perhaps more vulnerable) members of the audience feel safe to attend concerts. Whatever your opinion of the efficacy of facemasks in preventing the spread of the virus, please help to reassure others, and showing that you’re thinking of them, by complying with this.
  • There are posters inside the building showing the QR code that’s connected to the NHS Track and Trace app – please use this. We will also keep a record of all ticket buyers for the required period, and pass this on to the NHS or Devon Public Health if requested.