Chapter 7 focuses on Theatre-Rites’ approach to making family friendly site-specific performances, discussing the key underlying concepts of ‘site-as-objects’ and ‘site-as-metaphors’. In the tradition of philosopher Gaston Bachelard – who analysed the childhood home as a blueprint for future adult relations with places in The Poetics of Space – this book approaches ‘sites’ in Theatre-Rites’ shows as portals to the places we have previously dwelt as children and to imagined worlds-within-worlds.
We first explore how the company finds a site and how their site-specific ‘-works’ can be understood as both ‘site-led’ and ‘person-led’, emerging from the particularities of the environment and the performers devising a show. These concepts will be drawn out from examples of the company’s site-based performances, including the metaphors of hospital-as-patient in Hospitalworks (2005), the coal workers who undergo transformation in Salt (2008), the navigation through the empty bank vault in Bank On It (2013) and the humanising of ‘cargo’ that arrives in The Welcoming Party (2017–2018). The chapter concludes by discussing the legacy of how site-based works have been adapted to new sites in different international locations.