Outdoor swimming is in books, newspapers, across social media, inspiring art and now it is at the theatre too. Actor and theatre maker Liz Richardson’s new show, SWIM, explores the restorative qualities of going for a swim. It premieres at the HOME theatre in Manchester this July and you could be there!
“Anyone can exist in water. Anyone can be good at it and anyone can fail,” says Liz. “There is already a lot about the beauty of swimming outdoors in media and art. This play is more about community and the strength of it. There is no glamour in the show, it isn’t pretty, outdoor swimming rarely is.”
The four-person show was inspired by one of Liz’s close friends, Lisa, who started to swim to help her deal with grief. She would swim every morning, to take a moment away from everything. As a result of Lisa’s experience, Liz discovered a whole community of people swimming outdoors. “I discovered this whole world of community swimming,” says Liz. “Women especially, going to the water taking their problems on land in with them, having conversations and returning to their clothes better for it.”
The show is loosely based on Lisa’s story but there is no water on stage. “There are lots of preconceived ideas of what the show might be like,” says Liz. “There is an expectation of a tank on stage – there isn’t.” It is about experience of water with friends. “There is lightness, humour – it is experimental,” says Liz. “But it is about strength rather than beauty.” Liz partnered with bereavement charity Cruse, and with their help she invited people to share their stories of how they had been supported by being outdoors. All these experiences and storytelling fed into the script.
Fancy a chance to win a pair of tickets to see SWIM at the premiere on Tuesday, 9 July? Send us your best-worst images of swimming. The reality of outdoor swimming. We don’t want to see pretty, we want to see the worst conditions and the least picturesque. Share on Outdoor Swimmer social channels using
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The tickets will be for the performance on Tuesday, 9 July at HOME Theatre in Manchester.
SWIM is on at HOME Theatre from Tuesday, 9 July until Saturday, 13 July. It will then move to the Pleasance Courtyard as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival from 31 July until 26 August.