Ref NoBTC101
TitleDesperate Men Archive
DescriptionArchive of the Bristol-based alternative street theatre company Desperate Men, founded in 1980. Contains a wide range of production, marketing and administrative materials.
Date1980 -
AdminHistoryDesperate Men has been at the forefront of outdoor arts in the UK since it was founded in 1980 in Berlin by Richie Smith and Jon Beedell. Co-Artistic Director Richard Headon joined Desperate Men in 1996. The original manifesto laid out their intention to ‘Make mincemeat of flimsy reality’; creating innovative, anarchic, thoughtful shows in collaboration with an ever evolving pool of extraordinary performers and artists.

Collaboration is at the heart of what they do, from working with local authorities to engage communities to setting up partnerships with other artists. They're particularly skilled at encouraging participation from audiences and communities - projects like the Wye Valley River Festival and Battle for the Winds. Their repertoire grew to include large-scale outdoor arts commissions as well as smaller shows, throwing the fantastic, surreal, hilarious and moving into everyday life and make people think; creating miniature riots, scientific comedies, riverbank festivals and even their own language (Desperanto).

They've collaborated with Cirque Bijou, Pa-Boom, Avanti Display, Circomedia, Circus Space and Bristol Old Vic Circus School, Pervasive Media Studio, Igfest, Gloucestershire Dance, The Roses Theatre Tewkesbury, Pickled Image, The Cube Cinema, Soundbeam, Blackout Arts, Leo Bassi, Mummerandada, Kneehigh, Footsbarn, Ra Ra Zoo, Circus Burlesque, No Fit State Circus, Green Ginger, Disco Sister, Angela de Castro, Sean Gandini, Dark Horse, The World Famous Firework Company, to name but a few.

In Autumn 2010, Desperate Men celebrated 30 years of being with the three-day Festival of Desperation. They took over Bristol with street theatre performances and an exhibition showing three decades of work, plus a party, cabaret and film show at the Cube Cinema. Bristol Old Vic hosted a day of performances, talks and discussions.
ArrangementThe collection is not fully catalogued and so remains in the form of the original accessions.
Extent48 boxes
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