ABOUT US


FOUR OF SWORDS was founded in 2012, born of two friends’ determination to create immersive, dynamic, sense-shattering theatre shows… But not theatre shows that actually take place in theatres…

Philip Kingslan John and Sarah White aspired to use theatrical story-telling techniques in unusual and evocative places, to integrate actors’ performances with film projection and live music, to put audience members in the thick of the action and create intimate productions with popular appeal and educational value.

After several months of careful planning, in 2013 FOUR OF SWORDS exploded onto the South West theatre scene with two stonking shows. We’ve come a long way in the last five years, and succeeded in developing a formula which seems to resonate with people and keep them coming back for more.

Our most recent show was a re-interpretation of Euripides’ Greek classic MEDEA, complete with cool mask work, a creepy sung chorus, and a glittering finale with the sun god himself! Behold the trailer for that show:

In five years we have created seven brand new shows (eight if you count our experimental FAUSTUS spin-off), six of which were very gratefully supported by Arts Council England. We have performed in ten incredibly atmospheric venues, as well as numerous schools, and to over 10,000 audience members. 45% of our audience members do not count themselves as regular theatre-goers.

We have also established ourselves as innovators in the field of theatre in education, having built a diverse portfolio of collaborations with partners such as Royal Albert Memorial Museum, Devon Libraries, English Heritage, Exeter Phoenix Arts & Media Centre and Plymouth, Cambridge and Exeter Universities. We have also been working closely with a Chinese Summer School, and plans are afoot to take our SUMMER FILM SCHOOL brand out to Shanghai.

Here’s a video of some lovely audience members saying nice things about us! And underneath you can watch a film which gives a good overview of what we get up to on SUMMER FILM SCHOOL.

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OUR COMPLETE HISTORY OF SHOWS [click the title for more info on each]:

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Recent Posts

CURRENT SHOWS

TO REFUGE is an immersive theatre experience taking place at The Mermaid on Gandy Street, Exeter. It is based on In the Bowels of the Earth by Ukrainian author Elena Hapieieva, describing her experiences in a makeshift bomb shelter as Russia invades Ukraine. It is a tender, angry, sorrowful portrait of a community suddenly placed under extreme and inexplicable duress.

Beyond Hapieieva’s raw, crucially current text, we cast our gaze backwards and forwards through time. We are performing this play in a basement on Gandy Street which was itself used as a bomb shelter during WW2. Extracts are woven in from other contemporary Ukrainian works and from the Exeter Blitz Project, a piece of verbatim theatre commissioned ten years ago and collecting the memories of those who survived the mass bombing of Exeter during WW2. We want to support, sympathise and express absolute solidarity with our friends in Ukraine, as well as to challenge our audiences to consider what happens next if unbridled aggression is left unopposed.

TO REFUGE is part of the Worldwide Ukrainian Play Readings Project. It is being produced by Four of Swords and Maketank in collaboration with Exeter Phoenix and Arts and Culture Exeter University. Tickets cost £15 and all sales will be going to the Devon Ukrainian Association.

BOOK TICKETS HERE

For more information on the work of the Devon Ukrainian Association, please go to www.devonforukraine.com.

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