The Talking Shop - everyone's invited

What is The Talking Shop?

Evocative and inspiring to a level I could not imagine.” Talking Shop pilot visitor 2019

The Talking Shop™ is a cultural and democratic information centre which encourages and facilitates public engagement with creativity, arts and culture, and democratic systems and structures.

Love this space. Very Welcoming and Open” Talking Shop Pilot Visitor 2019

The Talking Shop™ is a public space in which to articulate, champion and strengthen the role of culture and democracy in society and empower and inform people and thereby increase participation through a sharing of information and knowledge.

We invite all  artists & creatives and the public to use the space to work, to think, to talk, to find stuff out, to share, to be. To collide, converse, connect, collude & create. Together.

36-38 Castle Arcade Cardiff Mon-Sat 9-5. The space is yours, it is free to use and so is the tea.

What can you do inside #TheTalkingShop

Well you can..

Watch stuff, find stuff out - what's on and what's what. You can add to the whats on. help create and curate this physical 'what's on' space. You can go upstairs for some peace & quiet. Read, work, draw, write, paint, dream. 

You can meet up with other creatives either on purpose or by accident. You can collide, converse, connect, collude & create in the space. You can book a slot when you want to share something you've made or are making & we'll tell people you'll be there if they wanna come along or just drop in and take a chance. It might be quiet. It might be busy. There may be just the host & co-host. there may be a room full of strangers having a conversation. It is a tiny shop brimming with information and possibility. You decide what's possible

You can a book, listen to a podcast, doodle in a vistor's book, add to our tree of thought, take a survey, read the story of our UK democracy that every citizen should know in 7 short chapters on the walls, on print outs, chat to others, pick up a leaflet,


A Cultural Information Centre 

In The Talking Shop™ you can find out things. What is on in theatres and performance spaces in your town or city. What shows are on in galleries, what exhibitions were happening, concerts and workshops. You can find out about creative learning and participation projects and how to book an artist to deliver work in your school or business. It was a physical listings hub. A place to drop in and find stuff out. To add to. To be part of. It was a physical ‘What’s On’ Space which everyone helps create and curate.

A Democracy Information Centre

The Talking Shop™ is a place to find out about and understand our democratic structures and systems. It had no political bias or party affiliation. Our democratic systems are explained. The difference, for example, between local elections and general elections. You can pick up leaflets and information about the engagement team at the Welsh Parliament or book a workshop to come to your school. You could find out about all our UK parliaments, how to start a petition and who holds the power and who represents you. Access, Engagement and Social Justice were and are key. The Talking Shop pilot led to Omidaze’s creation of The Democracy Box and now The Talking Shop contains  The Democracy Box and the story of our UK democracy which every citizen should know in se...

A Creative Centre

The Talking Shop™ is for artists, creatives and the public to get together, share ideas, collaborate. It is a new way of working. We invite people to just pop in and sit on the sofa. Have a cup of tea and be inspired, challenged, informed. Work. Listen. Network. Research. Artists and creatives and members of the public are invited to use the space, to just drop in and meet each other. To share information, ask questions, discuss. Questions are all around the shop and the public are invited to discuss a new question each day, to step inside. To think about this. Together.

The background & The Talking Shop pilot 

The pilot took place between March 25 and April 20 2019 in 33 High Street Arcade Cardiff and was an Omidaze Productions R&D project made possible through the support of National Theatre Wales with additional support from Catherine Paskell & Dirty Protest, Creative Cardiff, Senedd Cymru & our team of volunteers Lewis Gwyther, Jennifer Lunn, Ella Maxwell, Shane Nickels & George Soave.

The Talking Shop™ was designed by Yvonne Murphy along with 2nd year USW Design Students Bethan Thomas & Ashley Phillips with illustrations by 2nd year Cardiff Met CSAD students Maria Elorza Saralegui & Vicky Yang and was further curated during the month it was open by over 550 visitors including creatives and artists or all disciplines and members of the public from all over the world. Everyone had free tea courtesy of Cardiff City Council.

We know that we want to focus on political and cultural engagement. Omidaze wanted to research two things in the Talking Shop pilot -our next production(s) and the concept of The Talking Shop itself.

To do both these things we knew we had to seek out voices that are currently under-represented in our theatres, our live performances and our audiences. We decided to listen carefully to what excites, angers, engages and inspires people in Wales and Britain today. We wanted to hear people’s views and thoughts on politics, culture and society. We knew we needed to not be behind closed doors to develop our next piece. We knew we needed to stop doing the talking and listen. Really listen. And perhaps have some difficult conversations.

And we did.

As an old Japanese proverb says

“None of us are as smart as all of us”


The Talking Shop pilot writers in residence

Tracy Harris, Kyle Lima & Dick Johns were The Talking Shop pilot writers in residence and received dramaturgical support from Omidaze and our partners National Theatre Wales and Dirty Protest.

A sample of their work which came from The Talking Shop was presented as Public Rehearsed Readings in June 2019. Kyle Lima has since received a seed commission from National Theatre Wales to write the first full draft of his play. Both this and Dick Johns’ first draft are ready for rehearsed readings which we hope to programme soon inside the new Cardiff Talking Shop

“Just wanted to send you a message after Thursday’s Talking Shop event, to say how important I think your work is. I know the Talking Shop has all sorts of amazing benefits but the key on for me is the social side of things – not only finding people through networking which allows us to take steps toward leading the life we want, as well as helping others do the same – but also just simply finding people to talk to… There’s such a feeling of importance to this whole project. I hope something can come out of it.”

Lucy – Talking Shop Visitor and Rehearsed Readings Audience Member

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