History

2 people dancing. The image is in black and white. The 2 people are entwined around each other. The first person is on all fours, close to the ground, with one leg in the air and they are looking forwards. The second person is crouched over the other person's legs, they have their body twisted and are holding their arms and hands up so that they frame their head. They are looking towards the floor and one leg is reached out so that it is underneath the stomach of the person on all fours.
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Shallal performing Midnight Feast 1995

Shallal was formed in 1985 by Jo Willis and Annamarie Murphy at the request of Penzance Gateway Club to create a performance for a review.

This community performance dance company went on to become Shallal Dance Theatre. Initially supported by Diana Morris, the company is still going strong today, rehearsing weekly at St Peter's Church, Newlyn.

From the outset, Shallal has been committed to access to the arts for all and has attracted local artists. Shallal became a charity in 2005.

Shallal’s outreach dance and movement groups then began to grow in number, starting with Open House at The Acorn, Penzance in 2005, followed by our Redruth group at the Wesley Buildings and Falmouth-based Friends and Dancing both in 2010 and finally Out There in Liskeard, established in 2016. A second community performance dance company Shallal 2 was opened in 2012 for dancers local to Falmouth.

 

A group performing on a dark stage
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Shallal Doorways performance at Falmouth University AMATA Performance Centre 2017

Numerous projects and commissions have enabled Shallal to work more widely in the community over the years and we continue to seek new opportunities to share our work with new audiences.

In 2012 Laura Wild helped to get Shallal Studios up and running at the John Daniels Centre in Penzance. Although the space was short-lived, the group of artists continued to work together on one-off projects until our permanent art studio was opened in 2019 at Krowji creative hub Redruth, also providing a home to our ever-popular Shallal Sketchbooks outreach programme.

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Shallal Dance Theatre at Newlyn Art Gallery 2020

Our Future

Shallal would like to see ‘accessible’ arts in all art forms, with expanding opportunities, connections and creative pathways for all ages. We will continue to outreach to people who are isolated and continue to be enriched by each other to support the symbiotic relationships that the arts can enable and promote throughout society.

2 people dancing
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Shallal 2 at Falmouth Art Gallery 2015

Over three decades, Shallal Dance Theatre has delivered so many performances, but some of our favourite shows and places have been:

The Barbican Theatre, Newlyn Art GalleryFalmouth University AMATA Performance Centre, The Acorn, Truro CathedralHolifield Big Tent FestivalGodolphin HouseRoyal Cornwall MuseumKestle Barton wild flower meadow and The Eden Project 

You can find out more about the projects behind these events on our projects page.

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Shallal believes in Universal Design as a cornerstone for accessibility and is currently working on an ambitious long-term project to offer greater accessibility for those taking part and for audiences. This will include British Sign Language, Makaton and audio description at performances, support for people with hearing and sight impairment at our groups and a website which aims for high levels of accessibility.