‘I’m curious to know what’s next! The fact that none of the events feel like run-of-the-mill performances keeps me coming back for more!’

Audience member, 2019

‘Scare the Horses brings wonderful theatre and evocative discussions to Exeter. It does what theatre is born to do – change minds and broaden outlooks.’

Audience member, 2020

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The work we present can be purposefully provocative, may deal with challenging themes, or experiment with form. Please contact us if you have any questions about suitability before booking.

Past Events

Event 1: Thursday 31 January 2019, 6pm & 8.30pm Common Salt – a ‘show and tell’ by Sue Palmer and Sheila Ghelani. SOLD OUT

This event was held at Southernhay House, former home of Captain William ‘The Orientalist’ Kirkpatrick, Officer with the East India Company.
With many thanks to Southernhay House Hotel for their generous support of this event.

Listen to a conversation with the artists about their work with Scare the Horses curator Paula Crutchlow. Watch a ‘cinepoem’ of Common Salt by artist Lucy Cash.

Developed over 4 years of research into the colonial and geographical history of England and India, Common Salt explores the knotty complexity of lucre, enclosures and borders, and the economic and social history of trade.

Sue and Sheila activate insights into our shared past, laying out a ‘home museum’ of objects and stories; of the Great Hedge of India, of borders, and collections – all accompanied by original Shruti box laments.

Audience comments:

‘Beautiful, detailed work. Go and see it.’

‘We absolutely loved it. It was extraordinary, thought-provoking, and so beautifully conceived. I think we’re still piecing it all together in our minds now!’

‘#commonsalt was incredible – Sheila Ghelani and Sue Palmer create a completely hypnotic space. Honestly unlike anything I’ve seen before.’

‘An imaginative and interrogative look at capitalism and colonialism on a trail led by hedgerows’

‘Fascinating, informative, funny, unique and a little sad…brilliantly authentic and integrous work’

Exeter audiences about Common Salt:

‘I enjoyed the thoughtful layering of images, the acknowledgement of colonialism and its link to the natural world. Its intimate nature.’

‘It did not patronise or lecture, but left space for the audience to engage in their own way, make connections and draw their own conclusions.’

‘The detail and complexity, at the same time beautiful. Felt engaged throughout – learned things I didn’t know.’

‘Productively challenged intellectually and emotionally.’

About Sue & Sheila: Sheila Ghelani and Sue Palmer both work individually as artists whose work spans performance, audio and moving image. Each artist’s practice centres on using research to make artistic work with detail and resonance, for public places, made for the passer by or the guest; making new work with and for the public is the meeting point between artist and context.

Sheila Ghelani has made art work in major public cultural institutions here in the UK and internationally, including installation, performance and digital media art works at Tate Liverpool, Fierce Festival in Birmingham, Wellcome Collection and Southbank Centre in London. She has shown work abroad in Switzerland, Belgium and Australia. Rambles with Nature (2013-2015) funded by ACE, created work exhibited through moving image, live performance and publication. @SheilaGhelani

Sue Palmer has worked for over 30 years using contemporary arts practice to engage people and public space in the UK and internationally. Recent commissions include ‘The 100 Year Old Band’ in Germany and Finland alongside work for Battersea Arts Centre, B-side festival and many non-arts organisations including the National Trust and the Forestry Commission. Sue has worked in a diversity of contexts using live and digital art forms across the UK and internationally, and was an Associate Lecturer in Performance at Dartington College of Arts. @SuePalmer23 |

The artists developed Common Salt whilst in residence at b-side, Portland, Dorset in May 2017, with work-in-progress showings on July 6th 2017 at b-side’s Outpost. Made using public funds by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Developed with support from b-side and One Final Act by Rajni Shah Projects.

Event 2: Neither Here Nor There – a series of six-minute conversations created and hosted by Jo Fong and Sonia Hughes.

This event was held on Friday 12 April 2019, 7.30pm at The Roots Foundation Barbers & Social Space SOLD OUT & Saturday 13 April, 11am St Sidwells Community Centre. With many thanks to The Roots Foundation for their generous support of this event.

Listen to an interview with artist Sonia Hughes and Luke and PJ from The Roots Foundation about their work, with Scare the Horses curator Paula Crutchlow.

Funny, intimate, political, a bit livid, powerful, powerless and patient.

Weather permitting there will be a walk, small talk, a bite to eat, tables chairs, questions, talking, listening, come in sit down.

There will be solos, duets and ensemble moments. Complexity takes time, it requires multiple voices, many levels of expertise.

Jo Fong and Sonia Hughes are two middle-aged, award-winning, international, provincial artists. They have questions about how it’s all going, the big unfathomable questions about the world and small questions about the state of your garden. They’d like you to join the conversation.

“A rare experience” – Arts Scene Wales

“Thought provoking, cathartic and quite lovely” CAN Festival

“The opposite of fascism” Audience Member London CCC

“I love this show. A show for me. A middle-aged show” Audience member Experimentica Festival 2018.

“A leap of faith” – Culture Colony Magazine

Exeter audiences about Neither Here Nor There

‘I loved the gentle, inclusive nature of it, and the fact that this secreted some very incisive, deep questions in its fabric… Both Sonia and Jo brought a great deal of energy and quiet charm. And the chance to chat to strangers in a wonderfully open way.’

‘Surprising, challenging, rewarding, beautiful, moving.’

‘A quirky, challenging, inspiring and ultimately heart-warming event – I definitely came away with an inner glow.’

‘ I thought it was a truly civilising experience, with the power to remind us of and connect us with our own humanity and that around us.’

About Jo and Sonia: Jo Fong is a director, choreographer and performer who lives in Cardiff. Sonia Hughes is a writer and performer who lives in Marsden. Jo and Sonia have worked together on several project including Wallflower and Entitled for Quarantine and recently Ways of Being Together and The Kitchen Table research as part of Jo’s Creative Wales Award Project 2017. Jo and Sonia contributed to National Theatre Wales’ and Quarantine’s co-production for Festival of Voice. Sonia’s extensive work with Quarantine as writer includes the award-winning Susan and Darren, the epic Summer. Autumn. Winter. Spring and What is the City But the People? for Manchester International Festival |

Inspired by the research of Frank Bock and Katye Coe. Neither Here Nor There was commissioned by Peilot and LAUK Diverse Actions. Diverse Actions is a Live Art UK initiative which champions culturally diverse ambition, excellence and talent in Live Art. Diverse Actions builds on Live Art’s vital role as a practice of artistic innovation and a space to express complex ideas of cultural identity. 

Event 3:  Wednesday 22 May 2019, 7pm Storytelling for Earthly Survival
a film by Fabrizio Terranova, with Composed by Bees a sound and music performance by A Quiet Night In. SOLD OUT.

This event was held at Broadwalk House. With many thanks to Princesshay for their venue support, and to film maker and pop-up screening expert David Salas for his generous help with this event.

Listen to an interview with artists Emma Welton and Tony Whitehead from A Quiet Night In about their contribution to the event, with Scare the Horses curator Paula Crutchlow.

Donna Haraway is a prominent scholar in the field of science and technology, a feminist, and a science-fiction enthusiast who works at building a bridge between science and fiction. She became known in the 1980s through her work on gender, identity, and technology, which broke with the prevailing trends and opened the door to a frank and cheerful trans species feminism. Haraway is a gifted storyteller who paints a rebellious and hopeful universe teeming with critters and trans species, in an era of disasters. Brussels filmmaker Fabrizio Terranova visited Donna Haraway at her home in California, living with her – almost literally, for a few weeks, and there produced a quirky film portrait. Terranova allowed Haraway to speak in her own environment, using attractive staging that emphasised the playful, cerebral sensitivity of the scientist. The result is a rare, candid, intellectual portrait of a highly original thinker.

About the film: ‘Donna Haraway is one of the strongest and most relevant voices of our age… Fabrizio Terranova’s film should be a real revelation to anyone who finds her a difficult writer, and should be shown in several places, including research centres and anywhere in the world where tomorrow’s thinking is being worked on.’ Isabelle Stengers, May 2016

‘a lavish portrait of one of the most generous thinkers of our time.’ Filipa Ramos, December 2016

Tony Whitehead and Emma Welton have been putting on concerts in Exeter as A Quiet Night In since 2014. Each programme is designed for the space where it will be performed, and the quality of listening experience it offers. Performances strike a balance between some of the more challenging quiet music of Wandelweiser composers, and the calm directness of Howard Skempton. Music that contains a certain attitude toward discovering, revealing and permitting sounds such as Joanna Bailie’s Artificial Environments – with its recordings of everyday sounds combined with live instruments – and Alvin Lucier’s exploration of the acoustic properties of objects, rooms and materials. Tony and Emma will be performing a programme designed especially to accompany this screening of Storytelling for Earthly Survival.

Audience comments on A Quiet Night In:

‘A new and thought provoking experience. An interesting venue combined with all types of sound, silence and spaces to contemplate and enjoy.  Small and intimate meant direct and meaningful.’

‘Thoroughly enjoyable: intellectually challenging and yet also very calm and relaxing. A beautifully curated programme.’

The event will close with drinks and informal conversation.

Exeter audiences on Storytelling for Earthly Survival:

‘An unusual mix of genres/pieces that really worked. A must-see film.’

‘Arty in a good way / thoughtful / engaging / enjoyable’.

‘Complementary mix of film and sound/score pieces. Each was enhanced in the context of the other.’

‘The performance by Quiet Night in was a real draw. The film was both delightful and thought provoking.’

‘Venue – Would never have a reason to go into the building otherwise. Film – amazing subject, really beautifully told, I learnt something new. Cup/Phones – I liked the silent instructions, the oddness, a gentle way of interacting with fellow audience members.’

Event 4:   Thursday 11th July 2019, 7.30pm Teeth Show by Natasha Davis. Generously hosted by TOPOS.

Image by Bob Karper

Starting with teeth as a metaphor for roots, Teeth Show invites you on a poetic, medical, bitter-sweet and personal journey through surreal stories, original sound and film. The performance takes the autobiographical fact that wherever Natasha Davis migrated, she experienced an extraordinary tooth story – from her father’s colleague dentist making a pass when she was a teenage patient, to having a root canal in the Syrian desert without anaesthetic, to a late night out-of-hours teeth-extracting film shoot.

Image by Lucy Cash

The show explores complexities around democratic rights of the displaced body in a constant flux between breaking and repairing. It asks how crossing borders and living in exile impact on the rights of the body regarding its identity, citizenship and medical status. It is a mixed-media, playful and harrowing examination of who, and across what borders, may have access to beautiful and pain-free teeth. What options remain to those in precarious and transient situations and those who are left out?

The event will be followed by a conversation with Natasha about her work and issues raised by the performance.

‘ I can’t remember seeing a show that is quite so beautifully paced as this one. It slows down the world and gives you the time and space to listen and reflect on Natasha’s funny, scary and ultimately human stories about who we are and where we belong. ‘ Annabel Turpin on Teeth Show (CEO and Artistic Director ARC Stockton)

‘A fabulous minimalist deep piece of performance art. Very smart and cruel and true on many levels.’ Antje Budde on Teeth Show at Luella Massey Toronto (Director, Digital Dramaturgy Lab Toronto)

‘Natasha Davis’ work manages to hold together alienation, estrangement, and displacement, with participation, relationality and connectedness.’ Alena Pfoser on 50 Rooms (installation) at Tate Modern (Open Democracy Journal)

Exeter audiences on Teeth Show:

‘Depth of creativity, originality, ease of drawing on different media; powerful, thought provoking, offering deeply personal experience and making relevant to all.’

‘Searing experience of being displaced and torn from ones roots. A visceral experience of the human need for identity.’

‘Performance at its best – challenging and accessible – followed by an inspiring conversation with Natasha sharing the rigour and imagination of her art.’

Image by Lucy Cash

Natasha Davis is a performance and visual artist with over 40 solo and collaborative projects in a range of media including live performance, installation, film and publication. Her interdisciplinary, personal and politically engaged work focuses on displacement, crossing borders, body and memory. It mixes autobiography, fantasy, research and technology, combined to create a form of resistance, but also serving as a diary of a personal life in the context of tumultuous political changes (from the horrors of war to the magic of empathy and welcome). She collaborates with extraordinary artists, scientists, institutions and participants from all walks of life, creating work that is embedded in the belief that art can inspire social change. At the core of her work lies the embodied and poetic truth that crossing borders is a balancing act between loss and liberation, as well as a potent space for opening a conversation about who we are, with a view to shaking up existing communities and initiating new ones.

Natasha’s work has been shown in the United Kingdom (National Theatre Studio, Tate Modern, V&A, Birmingham Rep, Rich Mix London, Barbican Plymouth, Playhouse Derry, Capstone Liverpool, Colchester Arts Centre, ARC Stockton and many others) and internationally in Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Serbia, USA, Canada, Australia, India, China, and South Africa (at venues such as Power Station of Arts Shanghai, Project Arts Centre Dublin, Point Centre for Contemporary Art Nicosia, Theatre Works Melbourne etc).

Her performance Internal Terrains heads the British Library’s online digital performance collection and is used as its banner and twitter icon. Her work is featured in Traces, a public project about migrant artists significantly contributing to UK arts.  Natasha’s work has been funded by Arts Council England, British Council, Tower Hamlets, Humanities Research Fund, Hosking Houses Trust, Transatlantic Fellowship, Future Arts Centres, and numerous commissions and residencies. She holds a doctorate from Warwick University and delivers lectures, talks and workshops across the world, from Buffalo to Tokyo to Grenoble to New Delhi.

Teeth Show was created in collaboration with Lucy Cash (movement), Marty Langthorne (lighting) and Bob Karper (sound). Performed at Chelsea Theatre London, Colchester Arts Centre, Warwick University, Rich Mix London, Science Gallery, Luella Massey Toronto, ARC Stockton, Academy Hall Ottawa, Art School Hyderabad India, Grahamstone Box Theatre South Africa, and Io Myers Sydney.

Teeth Show is a Chelsea Theatre London commission, funded by Arts Council England.

Event 5: Thursday 19th September 2019, 7pm VOTE LEAVES ? – an interactive stand-up ‘eco’ quiz with Louise Ashcroft.

This event was generously hosted by the City Gate Hotel.

“Entertaining and wise, Louise Ashcroft uses subversive humour and inventive analysis to playfully disrupt systems of power, making alternative realities imaginable.” Elly Thomas artist and author of ‘Play and the Artist’s Creative Process’.

“Louise Ashcroft reading Argos Catalogue beat poetry. Genius.” Audience comment on Louise’s ‘Boring Talk #6’ available on BBC iplayer.

Having prematurely given away her best punchline in the title of this event, Louise Ashcroft doesn’t have long to panic-write a new interactive stand-up routine about climate change before the apocalypse reaches its crescendo. Help Louise save the world through games, prizes and quiz questions, interspersed with her optimistically nihilistic musings on big capitalism as she launches her new political movement ‘hypocracy’ – a version of democracy in which everyone constantly contradicts themselves.

All of the above is a metaphor, it’s your job to interpret it – see you at 7pm on 19th September. Bring your friends, if you want them to live.

Audience comments:

“Was so excited when I saw Louise Ashcroft at the side of the stage after last year’s Whole Earth Argos Catalogue. She didn’t disappoint.”

“Deptford Market – where how we value things is challenged, and overlooked things are worth more – used to unpack Baudrillard’s sign value. Genius!”

“Jewish Christmas punk snowman epitomises polymorphous relationships between objects & ability of object to be many things. Digital culture is limiting our emotions. Modernism is an illusion. Deptford Market is an anarcho-baroque empathy machine.”

“Two years in a row she was best talk.”

Exeter audiences on Vote Leaves:

‘Funny, droll, shifting perspectives about what we keep and throw away. Touched on other wider issues of waste and consumerism/capitalism but in a slightly ‘throw away’ (sic) scatter-gun way.’

‘We have so much unnecessary crap and it ends up at Deptford Market – this is madness! We need to stop buying crap!’

‘Proper funny.’

Louise Ashcroft is an artist who works at the intersection of comedy and sculpture. In 2010 she co-founded the free art school altMFA (on anarchist principles), and in 2019 she teaches art at expensive universities (to illustrate how capitalism co-opts alternatives). Louise has recently shown work at Supernormal Festival, Art Night London, BQ Berlin, Museum of London, Artsadmin, and Wellcome Collection. Her BBC Boring Talks on The Argos Catalogue and Call Centres are available on iPlayer.

Image from ‘Department for waste and recycling’ a performance at Museum of London 2018.

Event 6: Friday 22nd November 2019, 7pm. Aida, Ann and May – written and performed by Hannah Sullivan.

This event was generously hosted by The Hourglass Inn, Melbourne St.

Aida, Ann and May makes a historical fiction of three solo unaccompanied singers: a ballad singer, a keener and a folk revivalist. Through lyrical new writing these tales place singing as a role in society, entwine the body with song and keep close to death and remembering. These stories came out of questioning, what happens to us when we sing? and what is the purpose of song? Between the stories Hannah will sing unaccompanied folk songs, making an evening somewhere between a literature reading and a folk gig.

Developed through 3 years of research into folk song history, these stories are inspired by 18th century English execution ballads, the tradition of keening in Ireland, and personal experience of singing in the folk club. Made with the support of CPT, the MGCFutures bursary, Wainsgate Chapel and the Culture Capital Exchange.

Audience feedback on Aida, Ann and May:

‘This was exquisite. Really special to be in the room.’

‘Absolutely beautiful voice. I could listen to you for days.’

‘Really beautiful and unique journey into your music research.’

Exeter audiences on Aida, Ann and May:

‘ Beautifully delivered. Thoughtful and unusual performance.’

‘Powerful evocation of place and person. The quiet performance and the beautiful singing were perfect together.’

‘Delicate thought provoking and beautifully crafted.’

‘ Simple and powerful, story and song. Go and see it.’

Blogs : Ireland:

From 2016 during folk song research:

Work-in-progress performance The Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol 2017

Hannah Sullivan is a writer and performance maker based in West Yorkshire, creating solo monologues, participatory and site specific performance, collaborative books and experiments for film. Hannah’s work is often concerned with understanding and reframing creative practices and salvaging what is at risk of being lost. Hannah’s solo performance Echo Beach toured nationally and internationally to New Zealand, Australia and Spain. And her monologue With Force and Noise was featured within Exeunt Magazines most memorable theatre of 2017, and selected as part of In Between Time’s 2017 New Blood Live Artists programme. Performance installation and exhibition Draw to Look was commissioned by the Royal West of England Art Academy, and toured to Mayfest, GIFT and Square Chapel Arts Centre in 2018. Hannah was a former member of the Bristol based artists collective Interval.

Event 7: Friday 17th January 2020, 7.30pm. Ways To Submit – A show about dominance and submission by Ira Brand. Generously hosted by Maketank. This event has adult content and is suitable for 18+. It will be followed by a conversation with the artist. SOLD OUT

Ways To Submit

A show about dominance and submission. The ways we give in, and the ways we take control. Physically, psychologically, sexually, socially. Through the body, through language, and through structures of power.

Ways To Submit invites you in to a fantasy, a game, a dialogue, a performance, a fight: a series of duets in which power is at work.

Ways To Submit tries to understand the body – and the performance space – as a site of resistance and a site of succumbing. It explores what it means to play at dominance and submission. And who has the privilege to ‘play’?

‘Left reeling by @irabrand’s quite extraordinary Ways To Submit @YardTheatre. Strikes me as a work of quietly intense moral commitment and humanity, and, in its last few moments especially, as important a thing as I’ve seen in a theatre in the last couple of years. Radiant.’ Chris Goode, playwright & theatre-maker, on twitter

‘Ira Brand is a riveting performer, at once both thought provoking and playful, irresistibly engaging… She challenges the audience to consider their relationship with what is happening onstage… she interlinks different frameworks of submission and dominance, linking fighting and sex in particular, but placing them in a wider conversation about the structures of power society upholds. Ways To Submit is a fantastic and constantly surprising piece of theatre that discusses power on multiple levels…’ The Spy In The Stalls, 4 Stars

‘A personal and endorsing shout from the rooftops for @irabrand’s Ways To Submit @YardTheatre. A simple premise and a clear performer offered space for me as an audience to consider my violence, my body and equity in dominance and submission. YES YES YES.’ Michael Norton, audience member, on twitter

Exeter audiences on Ways To Submit:

‘Powerful, exciting, challenging, simultaneously beautifully simple and deeply complex, so much to think about and talk about… informative and extraordinary, and she held the space and safety of her audience brilliantly.’

‘It was excellent in every way; unusual, unexpected, exciting, stimulating. Great conversation afterwards in the pub. The performer was outstanding. Incredibly integrity and depth. Amazing.’

‘…  it pushed the boundaries of what is performance.’

‘Beautifully articulated. A brilliant piece of theatre. We talked for hours afterwards- evoked so many memories and stories. Nuanced and politicised at so many levels.’

‘Amazing experience. Don’t miss it.’

About Ira Brand: Ira is an artist, performance-maker, writer, and curator. She creates live interdisciplinary performances: visceral, funny and tender attempts to explore often vast contemporary topics in a way that celebrates both personal and collective experience. Previous and current projects are about fear, ageing, illness, gender. Over the past few years Ira has been interested in exploring power and how it is enacted, seen, and felt, specifically looking at the relationships between power, gender, sexuality, desire, and language. In her work Ira wants to create a space in which we can acknowledge and celebrate the ambiguities and inconsistencies of contemporary living, that are sometimes hard to hold in focus. She wants to create a space in which we can both feel strongly and think critically, a space of equal openness and rigour, emergence and boldness.

Ira’s work has toured the UK extensively and has also been shown internationally at Malavoadora Porto, Matadero Madrid, Kanagawa Arts Theatre Yokohama, Hessisches Landestheater Marburg, Studiobühne Köln, The Basement Auckland, and Abrons Arts Centre New York. She is also one of the Co-Directors of award-winning artist-led collective Forest Fringe, with whom she has delivered projects as an artist and producer across the UK and internationally, including in Edinburgh, Hong Kong, New York, Dublin, Lisbon, and Kanazawa, Japan.

Ways to Submit is conceived, written and performed by Ira Brand.
Dramaturgy by Jo Bannon.
Lighting and technical design by Jo Palmer.

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Commissioned by The Yard Theatre. Supported by Cambridge Junction and The Marlborough Theatre. Produced by DAS Theatre.