FERAL (from the Latin, fera, meaning a wild beast):
“A feral organism is one that has escaped from domestication and returned, partly or wholly, to its wild state. Its presence may also excite domestic animals and push them to escape.”
Feral Theatre is Rachel Porter, Emily Laurens and Persephone Pearl. We set up Feral in 2007. The name reflected our practice of making experimental devised theatre outdoors. It also conveyed, we hoped, a sense of renewal or possibility as our work explored themes such as ecological change.
However, over time, we came to reject some of the meanings embedded in ‘Feral’ with its focus on domestication and escape. We stopped talking about the ‘wild’, recognising that language which promotes the idea of a human/ non-human binary or obscures uneven and complex interconnections and power relations between people is problematic.
We are committed to structural critique, and examination of power and injustice. Inspired by the work of feminists and organisers such as Donna Haraway, Octavia Butler and adrienne maree brown, we try to ‘stay with the trouble’, imagining ways of living beyond, through and after capitalism, white supremacy and patriarchy. We want to stir conversation and create vibrant experiences that engage with difficult themes, embrace complexity and find beauty in unexpected places.
We do this using film, shadows, puppetry, music, verbatim text, essays, circus and physical theatre. We combine comedy and tragedy, fusing clown and physical humour with ritual structures. Our work is made in short intense bursts with long periods of research and conversation in between. We work separately as well as together, and with other collaborators sometimes. We developed with commissions from the Southbank Centre and the TippingPoint, and funding from ACE amongst others.
We are co-founders of Remembrance Day for Lost Species. Since 2010, we have been creating rituals for the Anthropocene – spaces for acknowledging ecological and biocultural loss, including an annual day of remembrance for extinct species, places and cultures.