The Limerick Athenaeum at 30 Cecil Street, also known as the Theatre Royal, is a building with a history that stretches back over 150 years. Within that time it has served as an art college, a political forum, a cinema, a bingo hall and a live space hosting gigs, club nights, theatre, opera and hypnotists among other things. Closed to the public for the last 14 years, the insides have been left to crumble and rot. 

30 Cecil Street is dance-theatre piece made of fragments of memories, of wild nights and long disappeared communities. An eloquent and heartbreaking elegy to a lost and ruined theatre it evokes the life of a once-mighty building and asks what is left when a theatre closes its door to the public?

Created and performed by Dan Canham

“Dan Canham raises ghosts in spine tingling dance-theatre piece ‘30 Cecil Street’…
exquisitely crafted, thoughtful theatre.
— The Guardian
“…a piece of great delicacy and understated beauty…a graceful and wonderfully atmospheric piece.”
— Exeunt

previous performances

30 Cecil Street has played the following places: Bristol Old Vic / Belltable - Limerick / Battersea Arts Centre / The Junction - Cambridge / The Cube - Bristol / Pulse at the New Wolsey - Ipswich / Solstice at Cork Midsummer Festival / Forest Fringe - Edinburgh / Festival de Pontlevoy - France / Nightingale - Brighton / Parabola Arts Centre / Showtime at Riverside Studios - London / Norwich Playhouse / Exeter Pheonix / Snibston Century Theatre / Northampton Picturedrome / Dance4 - Nottingham / Dance City - Newcastle / Leeds Met and Studio Gallery at Northern Ballet / Forest Fringe at the Gate / caravan showcase / NoTaFe - Viljandi, Estonia / Kneehigh Asylum / Dublin Fringe Festival / PuSh festival, Vancouver / Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler’s Wells - London / ICIA - Bath / Pavilion Dance - Bournemouth / Kinsale Arts Festival, Ireland / Brisbane Festival, Australia / Tanz in Winterthur, Switzerland / Zurich Tantzt, Switzerland/ Forest Fringe at Madrid Fringe / Aerowaves Spring Forward at Mercat des Flors, Barcelona / BMotion festival Bassano Del Grappa - Italy.


30 Cecil Street is available for international touring. For further information, contact Dan Canham.

funders & partners

30 Cecil Street was made with the support of Arts Council England through Grants for the Arts, Bristol Old Vic Ferment, Escalator Arts and BAC.


34 Bristols was a unique performance event showcasing 34 UK artists across Bristol.

From a small village in New Brunswick to a ghost town owned by a mining corporation in Nevada there are thirty four places in the world called Bristol.

As part of 34 Bristols MAYK worked with Jo Hellier and Yas Clarke. For 34 Bristols, Jo and Yas performed The Water is Wide, a group performance which took place on Bristol’s harbourside.

4910km is the distance between Arnolfini and Pemaquid Point Lighthouse, Bristol Peninsula, Maine, USA. We want to physically manifest and perform this distance on a scale we can understand so we can begin to contemplate what it might mean. 20 drummers spread out over a kilometre will pass a beat between them, until the sound has travelled the 4910km. The movement of these drum strokes will happen at the speed of sound – in total it will take 4h 29s until the distance has been covered.
— Jo Hellier & Yas Clarke


Jo Hellier makes art that takes a surreal stance to examine humanity in explicit detail. Often her work stems from personal history but is always greatly expanded to study an event in a wider context. She uses installation, sound, video and performance to make carefully layered work that is fat with connections.

Yas Clarke is a sound artist and composer working primarily with computers. Yas designs sound and music for installation, performance and video. He specialises in creating custom software and hardware that allows audiences to interact with content in unusual and innovative ways.

The Water Is Wide is the second project that Jo and Yas have collaborated on, having recently presented Jo’s work 97 Years at Mayfest, SPILL Festival of Performance, and Buzzcut.

Please visit for information on the wider programme

Funders and Supporters

34 Bristols is a collaboration between Arnolfini, Bristol Old Vic, In Between Time, MAYK, M-SHED, Residence, Spike Island and Theatre Bristol. The project is supported by Jerwood Charitable Foundation and Arts Council England

Usually spotted stretching her claws during Mayfest, The Blind Tiger made a rare winter appearance at Colston Hall's The Lantern on New Year's Eve in 2012. Blind Tiger New Year's Eve featured Little Bulb Theatre, Jack Dean, Expensive and others.

The Blind Tiger New Year’s Eve is part of Colston Hall’s New Year’s Eve party which took over the whole building, featuring Bellowhead, Brassroots and Spiro. 

In 2013, Firebird Theatre developed a new stage adaptation of Alan Garner’s arresting short story, The Breadhorse.

In this new devised work, Firebird drew inspiration from the dominant themes of the story: bullying, childhood games and isolation to create an original new piece in collaboration with a community chorus.

The Breadhorse premiered at Bristol Old Vic Studio in March 2013.

Firebird Theatre are a group of experienced disabled performers who work collaboratively to make striking, accessible performances that tell universal stories with personal resonance and theatrical imagination. They are an associate company of Bristol Old Vic.

“We want to be able to give our way of telling stories to the whole world. We want to share our plays with as many people as possible. We want to make our audiences think about the stories we have told them. We want to be seen as professional actors who can learn together and help other people to learn from us. We believe people should work together; it is our vision for the world. We see ourselves as a family of actors with a job to do; to use our style of theatre: music, devised work, text and a large ensemble of actors, to make plays and tell stories to others, our audiences.

“We aim to reach as many people as we can, through our plays and our workshops, through linking up with our audiences and the people we come into contact with. Our job is to do plays and tell stories that will stay in people’s heads long after they leave the theatre and go home. Our job is to make plays for everyone no matter who they are and where they come from. We want to give new meanings and understandings to the stories we tell. What our plays do is tackle life and that is what we want to share with other people. That is what Firebird Theatre does.”
— Firebird Theatre


To watch videos of the making of The Breadhorse and find out more about the company, visit

Image by Carol Chilcott, Artist in Firebird Theatre; photograph by Amanda

funders & supporters

The Breadhorse is made possible by the generous support of Arts Council England, Triangle Trust, Lark Trust, RTR Foundation, David Solomons Charitable Trust and Bristol Old Vic Ferment. Produced by MAYK.

As part of Bristol Old Vic’s Bristol Proms series, Sleepdogs present a special late-night remix of their theatre show The Bullet And The Bass Trombone, responding directly to the presence of the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra on stage moments before. A fractured narrative comes together piece by piece around a haunting soundtrack, part electronic, part orchestral – a portrait of a city in chaos, an orchestra caught up in a military coup, and new music being made of the voices, stories and sounds that emerge.

“Harrowing, intelligent, beautifully crafted… and ultimately incredibly uplifting in an impossible-to-describe kind of way.”
— Andrew Haydon of The Guardian on The Bullet and The Bass Trombone

Can You Hear Me Now is an intercultural live performance experienced in Bristol (UK), Kampala (Uganda) and Kigali (Rwanda) simultaneously, commissioned by MAYK and led by artist Caroline Williams.

Can you imagine if Theresa May had denied Britain access to Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp during the recent election? What would Bristol feel like if only 19% of its residents had access to the internet? A Ugandan teenager living in Kamapla would be able to tell you exactly how those things feel.

Using digital technology to link remote performance spaces, teenage casts in Bristol, Kampala and Kigali will work together to explore their relationship with digital technology – does the internet do what we need it to do?

Together with artist Caroline Williams, teenagers in three cities will see if they can make their rehearsals and final performances meet. In a world of pixels and screens, what gets shared and what gets lost?


MAYK are partnering with Ubumuntu Festival in Kigali and Theatre Factory in Kampala to commission one artist in each country to work together to create a new live performance that explores the lived experience of young people in these very different cities. The commissioned work will use digital technology to link performance spaces and audiences.

Ubumuntu Festival is led by Hope Azeda, a major figure in contemporary Rwandan theatre, and is held annually following the last week of the 100 days commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi. It is held at the outdoor amphitheater of the Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre and brings different artists from around the world to convene in Kigali Rwanda.

Theatre Factory is led by Philip Luswata and is one of Uganda's leading theatre and film producing companies.


Can You Hear Me Now? is a new Arts new Audiences (nAnA) grantee through the 'British Council’s East Africa Arts' programme.


“Only risk brings reward.” Ros Barber, poet and novelist.

On the night of Friday 30 November 2012, 30 artists from all disciplines set out to rediscover a neglected part of the city they call home. Taking in shiny new office blocks, Victorian industrial heritage, nightclubs, waterways, hidden alleyways and a major train station, City Running asks artists and audiences the question: how do we experience our city?

At 9pm artists set off from The Invisible Circus’ Jackdaw Hall at Paintworks into the Enterprise Zone armed with pens, paper, cameras and other materials to collect, document and record. From 10pm, they returned to base camp and have just two hours to make an entirely new artwork. From midnight, audiences experienced these rapidly produced, brand new artworks.

Led by Artistic Director Rowena Easton and produced by MAYK in collaboration with ArtsAgenda, City Running is a live public arts intervention that opens dialogue about the public environment.

Participating artists: Amy Mason, Anna Searle Jones, Carol Peace, Chelsey Flood, CLUSTER BOMB [collective], Constance Fleuriot, Daniel Hayman, Emma Kilbey, Gina Lundy, Holly Corfield Carr, Itta Howie, Imogen Pettitt, James Beckett, Jamie Dunn, Jess Rotas, Jo Hellier, Laura Kriefman, Lee Nutbean, Lisa May Thomas, Makala Cheung, Mark Hewitt, Megan Clark-Bagnall, Michelle Henning, Nathan Hughes, Paul Blakemore, Rachel Blackman, Ros Ford, Tanya Josham, Timothy Hill.

Artwork created during City Running Bristol

Amy Mason
Constance Fleuriot
CLUSTER BOMB [collective]
Gina Lundy and this photo
Jamie Dunn
Jo Hellier
Mark Hewitt
Megan Clark-Bagnall
Michelle Henning
Tanya Josham

City Running was part of a series of commissions exploring Bristol Temple Quarter designed to surprise, question and delight. They will pop up, excite and re-invent perceptions and potentials. A new collaborative initiative co-ordinated by Watershed with funding from Arts Council England. The lead producing partners are Watershed, Knowle West Media Centre and MAYK.

Photos: © Farrows Creative and Alejendro Acin (IC Visual Lab).


In early 2012, we invited Dan Canham to join us in creating a new work for St Nicholas Market, the covered Victorian indoor market in the centre of Bristol.  Dan was joined by musician Benji Bower to embark on a period of research and development to explore some of the images, sounds and ideas this beautiful space conjures up.

funders & supporters

Funded by Arts Council England. Supported by Residence and the Pervasive Media Studio.

Performed in a garage somewhere in suburbia, Garage Band is part DIY concert and part memory play, for an audience assembled on a driveway.

Inspired by Tom McCarthy’s novel Remainder, it follows the attempts of a singer to reconnect with his memory following a mysterious accident that involved something falling from the sky. Recalling tiny details of objects and events from his teenage years, he sets about reconstructing the garage band of his youth.

A unique suburban concert, featuring live music, object animation and a smoking BBQ.

“Weird and wonderful…it will make you laugh at the same time as shaking your head in disbelief.”
— Three Weeks on Richard Allen’s The Lightning Conductor


Garage Band has been developed in association with MAYK, and premiered at Mayfest 2012. Garage Band is available to tour. For further information, please contact

We joined forces with The Showroom Projects and Wunderbar to co-produce The Human Library, a project where books are people and reading them involves sitting down for a conversation.

Books in our Human Library come from all walks of life, including people whose life experiences have been misunderstood or misinterpreted in popular media and culture. Human Library aims to challenge these misconceptions and to confront stigma, prejudice and discrimination in all forms. Human Library invite you to become library dwellers with us, to judge a book by its cover and hear its story with your own ears.

Human Library is an open-source concept begun in Denmark in 2000. They take place worldwide, and Wunderbar has been organising them since 2011. Wunderbar produces stand-out projects that bring audiences and artists together on journeys of intrigue and wonder. The Human Library took place on 16-17 November 2013 at The Parlour Showrooms, College Green. 

In The City was curated by The Showroom Projects, who wanted to offer a regular platform for live performance, and a meeting place to re-imagine the city. In The City were interested in event challenging our perception of cities, discussing how cities evolve, what they leave behind and how the people that live in them exist.

The Human Library was kindly supported by Colston Hall, Bristol Central Library and Oxfam Bookshop, Queens Road.

Photography: Paul Blakemore

Every year at Mayfest – the theatre festival we run in Bristol – we notice the energy and passion of the conversations that take place, whether those conversations are part of one of our breakfast talks or late night propping up the bar, or in the queue for a show. We want to find a way to keep hold of that energy and passion all year round, especially in a country that seems almost unrecognisable to the one we were living in in May. More than ever we need time and space to come together and have a good old chat and a think.

So we came up with the idea of the MAYK Salon. Salon seems a grand term, but it seems right somehow: “a meeting for learning or enjoyment”. MAYK Salon will be a monthly event for anyone to attend, held in a pub or a café after work where we can meet, chat, socialise and hear from a specially selected speaker. You won’t know who the speaker is beforehand – it could be an artist, a politician, an academic, an activist and so on – so you’ll have to trust that we’ll come up with someone interesting and inspiring. MAYK Salon’s will take place on the last Thursday of every month.

We’ll provide the space and the speaker, and all we ask is that you come along with an open mind, a positive attitude and a willingness to listen. The speaker will only speak for a short time (this isn’t a lecture series), and there’ll be plenty of opportunity for informal conversation and sharing.

We want MAYK Salons to be as open and accessible as possible, so we’re making them Pay What You Decide. At the end of the evening, we’ll have a bucket for your contributions, which will help us cover costs of the event. But of course if you can’t afford to contribute, that’s okay too.

This event isn’t just for people who work in ‘the arts’, so do bring a friend (or two). It’s important to us this event feels welcoming. If you’d like to come, but are worried you won’t know anyone, drop us a line and we’ll make sure we say hello and introduce you to other friendly faces.

And if you have any ideas or suggestions drop us a line at

Previous Salons 

The Space, Old Market; The Green Man, Kingsdown ; The Miner's Arms, St Werburghs; The Windmill, Windmill Hill.

Memory of Theatre was a collaboration between MAYK, University of Bristol Department of Drama, Bristol Old Vic and Pyxis Design.

Directed by Tom Morris (Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic) and Paul Clarke (Lecturer and Director of Uninvited Guests), the project explored the relationship between archives and memories, the way performance events live on through the stories told by audience members and the relationship between heritage buildings, especially theatres, and remembering.

The purest archives for the magic of theatre are the hearts and minds of the audiences who experience it, who dream their dreams through it, and imagine realities beyond the cues and prompts they receive from the stage. Memory of Theatre created a dynamic, interactive archive from the most vivid memories of our audiences, concealing them in the ether of Bristol Old Vic’s auditorium and foyer where, through groundbreaking digital technology, they could be unearthed and overlaid by generations of theatre-goers to come, creating a living archaeology of theatrical history from the audience’s point of view.

The outcome was a working prototype for a commercially viable, user-friendly and sustainable system for indoor positioning, a transferable solution for delivering location-triggered experiences in heritage buildings.

Memory of Theatre was a Heritage Sandbox project funded by the REACT Knowledge Exchange Hub for the Creative Economy. REACT was a collaboration led by UWE Bristol (the University of the West of England), Watershed and the Universities of Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC).

Photo: Bex Wade

Between 2010 and 2012, Dan Canham went on a process of recording conversations with people of the fens in East Anglia. Eel-catchers, horse breeders, museum keepers and young farmers were all interviewed. 

In this ethereal piece of documentary dance-theatre Dan and his team fuse movement and sound with the words and memories of their native collaborators to get to the heart of this beautiful, bleak and mysterious expanse of flat land and dig up universal stories of rural communities fading from view.

Ours Was The Fen Country is a striking and poetic look at the disappearance of the small things from the voices of those who still know the old words.

“A deeply moving meditation on the passing of a way of life ...performed with an authenticity and immediacy that stuns like an arrow through the heart. Unmissable.”
— Venue Magazine


In Autumn 2015 we collaborated with Bristol-based organisation Situations on this acclaimed project as part of Bristol 2015 European Green Capital. 

One of the foremost American artists of his generation, Theaster Gates is renowned for his acts of transformation, such as the re-activation and redemption of abandoned spaces and the redeployment of disused objects and materials.

In the autumn of 2015 a temporary structure rose within the remaining shell of the 14th century Temple Church for a continuous programme of performance. Having sought out discarded and dormant materials from former places of labour and religious devotion across the city Gates built this extraordinary work, working alongside AN-Architecture. Entitled Sanctum, the artist invited musicians and performers across Bristol to sustain a performance of sound and spoken word continuously for 24 days, 24 hours a day.

Sanctum was open to visitors day and night, capacity remaining limited to ensure the intimacy of the space. Whether a headlining band, spoken word artist or gospel choir this secret schedule contributed to the sense of Sanctum as a gathering space for collaboration and new encounters.

The project was developed through Gates’ working principle of seeing and reflecting upon the unseen, unvisited and under-heard. Gates sought the city’s voices, and tested how future spaces of contemplation might supersede the sanctuaries of the past.

MAYK curated the 552 continuous programme of live performance, bringing together performers from all over the city for this acclaimed  artwork. 


Sanctum was a Situations project for Bristol 2015 European Green Capital funded by Arts Council England Exceptional Fund and the Henry Moore Foundation. The project is produced in Bristol in association with MAYK, BYEP (Babbasa Youth Empowerment Projects) and LARA (Lorraine Ayensu Refugee Arts) and in partnership with English Heritage.

Photo: Max Mclure

A project created by Michaela Klakurková, Marcela Straková and Jan Zaloudek in co-production with the New Stage, National Theatre (Prague, Czech Republic)

In January 2014 MAYK, in collaboration with Bristol City Council, took post-Christmas trees off the hands of Bristol residents and gave them a new lease of life as part of a temporary forest on Waterfront Square at Bristol’s harbourside. Over 300 trees were donated over the weekend.

Second Chance, Created by artists Michaela Klakurková and Jan Zaloudek under curatorship of Marcela Straková in co-production the New Stage of the Czech Republic National Theatre, is a powerful, gentle and simple gesture, making something beautiful out of something that ordinarily gets discarded without care.

The project launched on Monday 6 January 2014 with a performance by the appropriately named Czech band Please The Trees.

Produced in Bristol by MAYK in partnership with Bristol City Council and Czech Centre London. Supported by Kier Mg Ltd.

All images are courtesy of Paul Blakemore

To mark the tenth anniversary of Mayfest we teamed up with Bristol Ferment to commission ten brilliant artists to make a new work in response to one of the senses.

These ten new commissions, woven through the festival programme, invited audiences to explore new spaces and sensations, and offered ten new perspectives on how we experience the world around us.

History. Myth. Remembering. What stories can we tell each other of our past?

Created and written by the company, A Spark and a Beating Heart is about us. Who we are, how we came here and why we do what we do. It’s a celebration and a love-letter, a party and an elegy. Mixing the many myths of the firebird with a collective reflection on lives lived. We are here to tell you our story.

Yes, a spark and a beating heart full of fire, just before the story starts or the lights come up, us small players become the main act.

Firebird Theatre are a unique group of disabled theatre-makers, spanning generations. They have been making theatre together for 25 years. Their experiences tell stories of shifting attitudes towards difference and disability; of understanding and ignorance.

The experience of having a disability has changed almost unrecognisably since 1985, when Firebird was born. Society’s attitude towards disability rights only really began in the 1970s with the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act. Four years before Firebird (or The Portway Players as the company were then), the government came up with recommendations for anti-discrimination legislation. It would be fourteen years before the Disability Discrimination Act was created in 1995, and arguably it is only recently that the public’s perception of and attitude towards disabled people has shifted with the 2012 Paralympic Games.

This show will celebrated Firebird’s quarter of a century of professional theatre-making. Firebird is a unique company, ranging from ages 22 to 70. The experience of the youngest members of the company is very different to those nearing retirement (for example, living in a long-stay residential hospital). The show used first-hand stories of Firebird artists (captured through work with local writer Claire Williamson), intertwined with the story of the firebird/phoenix. This work returned to the company’s devising roots, using the symbols and structure of the firebird story as a structure for collecting their stories.

A Spark and a Beating Heart premiered at theTrinity Centre, Bristol between 11th-13th May 2017.

Devised by Firebird Theatre
Produced by MAYK
In association with Bristol Old Vic.