Prodigal Theatre's Urban Playground Team
The Urban Playground Team is the world's first performance-parkour (or 2PK) company, coining the phrase to describe the fusion of contemporary and urban dance with authentic French parkour. Since 2006, one of Parkour’s co-creators, Malik Diouf, has been a principal company member. Performances include theatre tours, outdoor and site-specific work.
Awards and commissions include work for and with South East Dance, Pavilion Dance South West, Without Walls, Newcastle Gateshead’s Juice Festival, the Brighton Festival, The Caravan Assembly, The Dublin Fringe, The National Theatre's Watch This Space, Serbia's INFANT Festival, the Napoli Teatro Festival Italia, the Barbican and the British Council.
Run This Town
- Duration: 52 minutes
- People on road: 7
- Freight: Freight
- Freight details: The set tours in the UPG van across Europe. If travelling beyond central Europe or trans-Atlantic it is cheaper to duplicate the set, which is almost entirely created from standard steel builder’s scaffold.
Our inner city workers jostle for promotion before they get the push – this long format in-theatre show features film by Sacha Powell alongside the live action of dance at speed and height.
Requires 10m x 10m x 6m stage.
The Inner City
- Duration: 18 minutes
- People on road: 5 performers and, if playing at night, 1 technician.
- Freight: Freight
- Freight details: The set tours in the UPG van across Europe. If travelling beyond central Europe or trans-Atlantic it is cheaper to duplicate the set, which is almost entirely created from standard steel builder’s scaffold
High rise city workers jostle for position, fight for promotion, embark on an office romance and slide down the slippery slope of success in a slapstick outdoor performance playing to 300 – 500 people outdoors.
The Next Level
- Duration: 25 minutes
- People on road: 7 by day, 8 if playing at night (under lights)
- Freight: Freight
- Freight details: All our set travels in a medium wheel base, hi-top transit van which also forms one of our stages for this show. We can drive anywhere in Europe. If the van cannot drive there, the set would have to be freighted.
Co-Commissioned by Brighton Festival, Juice Festival and Without Walls in 2010, The Next Level toured the UK for two years. In 2013 Without Walls re-commissioned the show which again toured (and continues to tour). Pure movement: urban soundtrack, parkour, breakdance, contemporary dance and electronic beats. Featured on BBC1's Blue Peter.
Teaching: From open workshops in the fundamentals of Parkour through to expert tuition for experienced professionals, the team have taught participants ranging in age from 3 to 83. Over 50s groups, all female groups (for example in the Gulf states), parent and child groups, students of architecture, of dance, of design and so on. The team’s teaching is inclusive, accessible and holistic, backed by more than 15 years' experience of teaching in schools, colleges, for local authorities and professional training centres, and Malik Diouf’s 24 years' experience in developing and refining the discipline of Parkour.
Participant Performances: The Micro-Choreographies Project ranges in length but each day results in a new five-minute site-specific performance played by the workshop’s participants. Over the course of a few days the micro-choreographies form a trail through a festival, venue or city, and audiences are invited to observe both the creation of the pieces and the polished result.
Design: The 2014 project PLAY THE PLAZA will include design with Parkour and other street-based disciplines, forming the catalyst for a wide ranging public discussion about the ways in which a public space is and can be used. The six-week residency will affect the final architectural design for Baltimore’s Penn Station Plaza.
Discussions: For eight years the co-directors of the UPG Team ran a development venue where they mentored over 100 new pieces of theatre and dance. Scratch Nights, industry showcases and post-performance discussions proved an excellent training ground in provoking, chairing and engaging voices for discussions. UPG residencies can include discussions on Parkour and architecture, education and performance, and more broadly on the means of engaging young people in the arts, their community and design of facilities aimed at them.
2PK Network Events: The first 2PK Network symposium took place in 2013, bringing together dance-makers, Parkour practitioners, teachers, academics, students and the public to exchange ideas, showcase work and contribute to the ongoing development of this new performance language. Further symposium events can be planned in collaboration with residencies and performance events, festivals and academic institutions.
Press Comments & Testimonials
"Extreme sport and cutting edge theatre. This is free-running as you’ve never seen it before, amazing… I had the time of my life"
Blue Peter, BBC1
"Rapid vaults, synchronised tumbles and gravity-defying spins… performers alternated between show-off virtuosity and the unexpected stateliness of dancers at a barre"
The Irish Times
"Shifts in pace and mood make the piece far more than a demonstration of physical skills (excellent though these are) – it has an ebb and flow of rhythms and resonances that tell a myriad of stories."
Total Theatre Magazine