Rupert White

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The giraffe that swims





  In 1971 five actors and three musicians arrived in Cornwall with their young families to set up an experimental artistic community and theatre group.

They were based in Trewen, a large farmhouse in the countryside near Liskeard, and whilst there the commune - which included many born or brought up in the Americas - grew to well over 30 people.

In the 1970's the theatre group, called Foots Barn, became known for their parades through the towns and villages of Cornwall. The parades featured acrobats, jugglers and giant puppets. Oliver Foot, one of the founders of the group, would shout through a loudhailer: 'Come and see the giraffe that swims, come and see the amazing Foots Barn theatre'.

 During the last 35 years Footsbarn has performed in India, Russia, USA, South America and Africa. Indeed, according to The Guardian, Footsbarn is now the most famous travelling theatre company in the world.

'The giraffe that swims' is an oral history project, that will culminate in a publication and exhibition.





cover design based on drawing by Keith Bruce (1974)