Mechanimal: Theatre about our changing planet

Alice Boyd

In March 2021, I talked to Tom Bailey, artistic director of Mechanimal, an award-winning Bristol-based company, which creates devised theatre that explores life on a changing planet. Each of Mechanimal's projects involves collaboration with a range of different artists and researchers. Two of Mechanimal's shows, Zugunruhe and Vigil are available to watch via Pound Arts' website.

I want to look at the beauty of the evolved planet and explore how we can make people feel that, without needing to know the information. It's about feeling.

Can you tell us about Mechanimal, what the company does and how it started?

Mechanimal is a theatre company that I run. I work with different artists and researchers on each project, according to the project's focus. I've been making theatre for about 8 years now. I was a late starter at 26 years old, after initially starting out in environmental journalism and activism. I retrained in my mid-20s and started making theatre under the name Mechanimal, which always carried a focus on environmentalism. This has led to the company focussing exclusively on environmentalism over the last few years.