Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre is based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It was founded in 2006 by Mark Hopkins and Charles Netto. For more than a decade, our main focus was creating original site-specific theatre (in other words, performance in unusual spaces). In 2018, we adopted a new Art Manifesto that guides our work.
The name comes from a quote by playwright Arthur Miller: “a playwright lives in an occupied country. He’s the enemy. And if you can’t live like that, you don’t stay. It’s tough. He’s got to be able to take a whack, and he’s got to swallow bicycles and digest them.”
Swallow-a-Bicycle Theatre creates productive discomfort. We engage with power structures, shining an interrogation light in society’s eyes.
We endanger the eardrums of the status quo by amplifying the voices of outcasts, misfits, diverse communities and artists who face barriers.
We hold ourselves accountable for the discomfort we create, to the communities we encounter, and to ethical working practices.
Art is how we do this. Art is awesome, and fun to make.
We learn and mutate as we engage with different sites, communities and artistic practices.
We don’t just swallow bicycles. We swallow complacency, conventions, problematic issues and sometimes cookies.