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The Bare Project tells Sheffield memories in Time Passes. Listen. – a review.

Wonderful stories about past experiences of life in Sheffield are being acted out in the exciting new drama, Time Passes. Listen., a moving piece of immersive theatre written and produced by Sheffield based theatre company The Bare Project.

Time Passes.Listen. courtesy The Bare Project

A scene in Time Passes.Listen. courtesy of The Bare Project

Time Passes. Listen., directed by Malaika Cunningham, artistic director of The Bare Project, leads the audience into a real-time journey of memories specific to the people of Sheffield. Moments are suspended as audience members step into the narratives at different points in time and space – witnessing quiet reflections, hearing troubled mutterings or fleeing blood-curdling wails of terror.

The set, located in the old Woolworths on The Moor, is a surreal confusion of dimly lit alleyways, leading to rooms of green balloons, white snow and autumn leaves. Multimedia exhibits lend authenticity to the new reality of each memory, while passages and stairwells suggest the passing of time.

Time Passes.Listen. courtesy The Bare Project

A scene in Time Passes.Listen. courtesy of The Bare Project

The characters are portrayed with a sense of northern honesty and directness. The participatory nature of the production helps to draw the audience in on an emotional level, although some of the acting lacks conviction at times. Sheffield idioms, accents and experiences form the links between stories, though occasionally the associations lack clarity.

Time Passes.Listen. courtesy The Bare Project

A scene in Time Passes.Listen. courtesy of The Bare Project

The project began with a cafe where over 1000 personal stories were collected in exchange for cups of tea. The title is from a refrain in Under Milkwood by Dylan Thomas, which tells the stories of different characters from a town called Milkwood.

The cafe and the performance are located in the old Woolworths building on The Moor, which currently houses Theatre Delicatessen North, a London based theatre company who are leasing the space and looking for Sheffield based artists to fill it and whom they can support.

Malaika co-founded The Bare Project in 2012 and since then she has directed various Bare Project productions including ‘Who killed Dylan Thomas’ October 2014;  ’22 Pages’ and ‘A History of New Beginnings’ October 2013, and ‘Goodbye Sun’ July 2013.

‘Time Passes. Listen.’ is a surprising portrayal of Sheffield folklore and a rich experience not to be missed.

You can read more about the story behind The Bare Project and the Time Passes. Listen. project in our September article.