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What is
Exhibition Theatre?

The short answer is that Exhibition Theatre is an artistic experiment. As with any experiment, there is a desire to prove that a theory works...

My name is Sam Kioni and I used to think of myself as a theatre-maker. Even that title was an attempt to somewhat understand and label my skills and artistic instincts, and is a lot less specific than some of the titles that many may associate most with the inner workings of theatrical work- terms like 'actor', 'director', 'producer', 'technician', 'designer', and even lesser-known and harder-to-define terms like 'dramaturg'.

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These are all important roles that theatre-makers take on, especially with regards to particular productions, but I would still argue that theatre-maker is a very good title for all of these people, as their contributions should not necessarily be limited to one particular set of skills. I think that the term 'theatre-maker' is catching on as more and more people work collaboratively and make the decision to try new roles out, expanding their skillsets and allowing the variety of work they make to broaden along with their horizons.

The term was no longer accurate for me, however. My heart remains with the theatre- it is my artistic home, and the format through which I have mainly learned about artistic expression, but I believe that I, and many others who describe themselves as theatre-makers should take the next step and label ourselves 'artists'.  That is because there is so much work that we produce which can be seen as theatrical, and yet can also be labelled as something else. There is a huge amount of artistic expression that is seen as separate and almost opposed to other forms of art, but in my mind this cannot be the case. All forms of artistic expression are equally valuable, and are not separate. The theatre may be one of the best formats in which to present art, but that does not mean that in and of itself it is the best form of art. I'm not sure any form of art could ever be described as 'the best'- nor should it be.

This has all stemmed from meditations on the theme of art I've been having for a fair old time now. It's important to acknowledge that much of my thinking was inspired by my own and others' studies at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London, UK. My personal journey there began in September 2020 at a time when doing some quite in-depth thinking was what we'd all been forced to do for months on end thanks to COVID. I came to a conclusion that I think many would agree with- that art defies convention by its very nature, and works against being codified into a set of rules or exact ideas. Much of that which exists as 'art' is defined by each individual person who observes, participates in or consumes it. Rules can apply, sometimes- and yet so frequently they do not. Just as with truly being able to explain what 'beauty' actually is, human language is often lacking when it comes to finding words to describe art, what it does, what it means and how it works. Instead of working against all of this, my collaborators and I seek to embrace it.

Thus, Exhibition Theatre is an attempt to use two formats of presenting artwork (performance and exhibition respectively), blend them together and show how important it is to value the power and value of all forms of art. Equally, this fresh, intriguing style of Exhibition Theatre is about democratizing all art, allowing audiences, observers and participants to come to their own conclusions about what each piece of artwork means, if it has to mean anything. We will produce art events that are based on collaboration and working with many different disciplines. Poetry, movement, painting, sculpture, puppetry, writing, dance, sound-art, film, music, and more will be explored and valued equally, in a setting which allows them all to be mixed in together, and equally allows an audience to take in what they want to without spending vast amounts of money, in this age where entertainment and artistic experiences are so popular, and yet equally so restrictively expensive.

This style of art event is an experiment, and must be codified (as much as possible) and refined, but with the help of my skilled collaborators, I am sure that our goals can be achieved and that we will be able to introduce the world to the exciting possibilities that Exhibition Theatre can offer to all artists, and all those who love art.

Our Debut Team

Sam Kioni is the project lead and originator of the Exhibition Theatre style. He studied Drama and English Literature at the University of Manchester from 2015-2018, and then studied Advanced Theatre Practice at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama from 2020-2022. He has been involved with theatre and art from when he was very young, with both his mother and grandmother being practicing artists and arts-educators. His proudest achievements to date involve founding the Shakespeare Society at the University of Manchester, producing two shows at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2018 and 2019 respectively and leading the first Exhibition Theatre event in June 2022. He now lives in Leipzig, Germany.


Oona Webster-Jones is a producer and theatre-maker based between London and North Yorkshire in the UK. She works across the music and theatre sectors, with more extensive experience in festival work. She has a particular interest in multimedia performance that values different theatrical elements such as light, sound and text equally. When working with Exhibition Theatre she was studying Experimental Art and Performance at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.

Celeste Cahn is a multi-talented writer, director, actor and facilitator originally from New Orleans. She came to London by way of New York to get her masters in Applied Theatre from Central. She is particularly interested in comedy, feminism, history, and facilitating spaces that build a sense of community.

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Helin Ekin is a London-based Spotlight registered actress and theatre maker of Kurdish origin. She moved to the UK from Turkey in late 2016. Since then, she has trained at The BRIT School and performed across London and Stratford-Upon-Avon including the RSC Open Air Theatre, New Wimbledon Theatre and Arcola Theatre as well as becoming a member of both the National Youth Theatre and National Youth Film Academy. The NYFA produced film 'Intrusion' she was a part of was shown at the RainDance Film Festival in 2020 to critical acclaim. She is due to graduate from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in 2023. Ekin is keen on taking on new projects where possible, while also working hard to get the most out of drama school hence why she is really excited to be partaking in this project.

Aditi Dalal is a performer, director and drama facilitator with a background in Psychology. She has worked with children and young adults, corporates and developed Drama-based pedagogical tools for teachers. She has curated performances with neurodiverse children in Mumbai and is passionate about using theatre for advocacy. When working with Exhibition Theatre, she was studying for an MA in Advanced Theatre Practice at RCSSD.


Joel Li is an interdisciplinary designer for performance, with a wide interest in design and sound design as well as physical performance. He was brought to this project due to a fascination with the idea of living in the moment of performing, devising and improvising, being permitted not to be too attached to a specific result and a restrictive concept. Joel believes an Exhibition Theatre style creates freedom within a moment where creativity can blossom in a way that is ephemeral and transient. This is where everything can begin.

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