WonderZoo and Theatre:
After graduating from his Masters degree in Art and Entrepreneurship (2012), Slain McGough Davey (formerly known as Peter Davey) stayed in Plymouth and has been running monthly gigs every month without fail from 2012-2022, under different incarnations before changing the name to ‘WonderZoo’ in 2017.
In 2014, under the name ‘PCQ Arts’, Slain McGough Davey wrote ‘Words, War and Music’, which was his first play, a surrealist take on the first world war, using 12 different languages, representing 12 countries that fought in the war, told from other nations’ perspectives. This was shown at the Barbican Theatre.
In 2019, Slain wrote another play that was shown at the Barbican Fringe Festival called ‘WonderZoo is Present’. It was a surrealist take on feminism and LGBTQI+ rights.
After this play, Slain has been devoting more energy into developing the theatre side of WonderZoo and has come the realisation that it needs to be a proper arm of WonderZoo with fresh talent and community-driven, alongside other performance work.
Over the past two years, we have done several street and indoor theatre commissions for Nudge Community Builders and filmed theatre pieces for Stronger North Stonehouse.
- ‘Silent Protest’ for Nudge, 2019. Slain dressed up in a straitjacket made by Chi, with tape over his mouth, and walked around Union Street, Plymouth, getting people to write comments on his straitjacket about what they thought about the area. This was to show that, although Stonehouse gets a bad representation in the press, the people who live and work there have positive things to say about it.
- ‘Hearts and Houses’ for Nudge, 2020. Chi and Slain went round some blocks of flats in Union Street (Edgecombe House and Devonshire House) performing poems songs and dances for residents on Valentine’s Day.
- ‘VJ Day’ for Nudge, 2020 – Chi and Slain performed songs, dances and spoken word at four locations of Union Street around the theme of world peace.
- Stronger North Stonehouse project, 2021 – 8 x 20 min films made with WonderZoo crew and local artists around North Stonehouse – spoken word, music, theatre, uploaded to WonderZoo YouTube channel. The idea was to bring positivity to the area. We had a shoestring budget and had to be massively inventive, producing 8 films in 2 months during Covid19 restrictions.
- ‘Romeo and Juliet with a Twist’ for Nudge, 2022. Chi and Slain performed a 12 minute adapted play based around Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, with added elements of surrealism and pantomime humour. This was for a Valentine’s Day community event at Union Corner. The play was accompanied by Keith Pollard on keyboard.
- Friends of the Apocalypse – art assembly performances, including Theatre, comedy, music, spoken word. Unrehearsed experimental surrealist performances with an ever-changing membership, led by Slain McGough Davey. So far, we have performed 15 times with around 22 member over last two years.
- 'Romeo and Juliet vs Roald Dahl's The Enormous Crocodile'. We are booked to perform at Ocean Studios on the 19th May 2022, in a show organised by Hope In The Heart CIC around the idea of Lived Experience, which will include veteran Stefan Daniel talking about his lived experience in the army, as well as music and theatre by art assembly - Friends of the Apocalypse.
- 2022, WonderZoo at the The Clay Factory near Ivybridge, a 20 minute walk from Ivybridge train station. It’s a disused clay factory that has been turned into a shared working space and arts venue super fab space. Some local people had created a week long festival called Dartmoor Edge Literary Fest, which included writing workshops, performances and children’s activities. We were invited to come along and do some performance and creative workshop with the kids, inside one of the shopping containers that’s in the building. It was a cosy space and very fun day out for WonderZoo.
We hope to develop a Theatre strand of WonderZoo that is grass-roots and can perform in any setting, whether that’s in a small community space, someone’s front room, or a port-a-loo.