What would you do as the world as you know it was ending? Despair? No: celebrate – or so say Shunt Collective, the creators of Party Skills at the End of the World for Manchester International Festival 2017. This bold, immersive theatrical performance – at the RIBA Award-winning Centenary Building in Salford – is by the ‘most innovative theatre company in Britain’ (as hailed by the Guardian back in 2006) and argues that as the collapse of civilisation closes in, we should look at the good things that fear stops us from enjoying.
Conceived by Nigel Barrett and Louise Mari of Shunt Collective – who create performances ‘for people who don’t really like theatre, and unusual theatrical experiences for people who do’ – along with visual artist Abigail Conway (whose interactive, miniature home-based installation Home Sweet Home toured to widespread acclaim), Party Skills for the End of the World offers a chance to learn a blend of survival techniques, like how to start a fire, clean and stitch a wound, pick a lock and skin a rabbit, and more entertaining forms of expertise like mixing a martini or making balloon animals. Coming to Manchester in the wake of the ‘worst year ever’, Party Skills is a none-too-serious tonic for the alarmists of the modern age.