world factory workshop

World Factory Workshop

METIS has developed a bespoke World Factory workshop that can be adapted for a variety of settings. Please click below for further information:




On 20th February, World Factory ran a workshop for current AHRC-funded (Arts and Humanities Research Council) PhD students at Cambridge University. Each group played the game in a custom-designed space, adapted for a smaller number of participants, while keeping the flavour and experience of the full show. The group members knew different amounts about the issues raised by World Factory – some were working on labour laws and the global garment trade, but others worked in disciplines such as literature or history.

Afterwards, there was plenty of time for everyone to discuss how they had found the experience, and what they had got from it. People commented on the ‘incredibly stimulating’ atmosphere and the ‘very engaging and fun’ format, while others saw it as a ‘good opportunity to learn about agency and structure in the global economy.’

When thinking about what World Factory had led them to consider, one participant had gained perspective on their daily choices, saying: ‘Sometimes we make important decisions without realising how important they are.’ For another, their reflection was wider, saying that ‘as a human being this is a very welcome wake-up call regarding our world’.

Review of World Factory Workshop held at Cambridge University – by Graham Riach



If you would like to inquire about the workshop, please email


CVS Media House Residency

We have a very productive few days at CVS in Ipswich trialing the World Factory game.  Kate O’Connor documented all the activities in her blog:

Day 1: 13/02/15

METIS arrived at CSV, Ipswich, yesterday to set up in Courtroom 1 for workshops and trials of the World Factory game. We received a warm welcome, with staff and volunteers at the centre coming in to get an insight into the project. With new cards and an immense spidery map on the wall, the game is being tweaked, sharpened, and new stories added all the time. We’re looking forward to a visit from some CSV visitors tomorrow, to become our latest World Factory players!

Day 2: 14/02/15

Today the METIS team opened the doors of courtroom 1 to CSV visitors, for trials of the World Factory card game. Led by two performers dealing the cards and calling the shots, they split into four teams, each representing rival Chinese garment factories. The game began with a player shouting “Let’s make money!”, but concluded with a thoughtful, open discussion on the ethical consequences and potential alternatives to a globalised economy.

Through the afternoon the focus fell on the software which is mediating the game through a barcode system; discoveries about performer- audience interaction are constantly feeding into this development, so all elements evolve simultaneously.

 Day 3: 15/02/14

Today CSV was full of groups from the Chinese community in Ipswich, who joined METIS for another test of the World Factory game. Our youngest audience yet turned out to be the most competitive from the outset, one player saying, “It’s not a competition, because we’re going to win.” Half an hour later the same team was telling us how the most important thing for them had been to respect and look after the workers in their factories.
Meanwhile it’s full steam ahead in the writing process, with big decisions on the storylines and audience experience being made all the time. The team are also slightly obsessed with a fantastic money-counting machine which is in the room at the moment.

Day 4 – 16/02/15

In our final day at CSV more members of the METIS team joined in Ipswich. We had writer, lighting designer and a new performer all there for one last trial with visitors to the centre. These teams became completely immersed in the factory landscape, juggling practicalities, ethics and finances. We also had visitors from the New Wolsey stopping by to become familiar with the show before it arrives on their stage in April. In looking at the model box, however, it’s clear that the World Factory stage will not just be for performers, but audience too!
We’ve had a great time this week, and are hugely grateful to the team at CSV for allowing us to take-over Court Room 1, and introducing us to all the great workshop participants.


Shanghai-based theatre company – Grass Stage – took up residency in Cambridge

This residency in the Judith E Wilson drama studio was the continuation of an ongoing relationship between Metis Arts and Grass Stage, a theatre company based in Shanghai. Since 2012 these artists have been collaborating on World Factory, a project exploring the global textile industry and the ways it links the UK and China across the globe and across history.

These two performance companies exist in very different cultural contexts, so the project has taken various shapes in its two locations. The arrival of Zhao Chuan and Wu Meng in Cambridge was an opportunity for them to present video material, informing our understanding of the social, political and economic backdrop to creating theatre in China.

The second phase of the residency was taken up with discussion of the insights thrown up by these discoveries, and their impact upon Metis’ own work. Following this, all five artists put their heads together to brainstorm and develop the UK World Factory project, which is heading for performances in Spring 2015.

The culmination of the residency period was a workshop given by Zhao Chuan and Wu Meng, open to students of the university. They introduced Grass Stage’s methods for devising work from performers’ personal experience, and participants got the chance to create their own miniature World Factory performance piece.

The residency was documented by two Cambridge students, Mareike Zobel and Yu Qui. The following are five sound recordings from the residency:

 Representation and Authenticity

How can theatre depict the reality of factory work? Questions of distance, representation and authenticity. A discussion with Zhao Chuan, Zoë Svendsen and Simon Daw.


Politics and Dissidence

What does it mean for theatre to be political? From dissidence to social relations: theatre as a rehearsal of the imagination. Zhao Chuan and Zoë Svendsen discuss. This sound file is in two parts:



Zhao Chuan on China

Shanghai-based theatre director Zhao Chuan talks about his work in the Chinese context.


Wu Meng on Performance

Wu Meng, performance artist and member of the theatre group Grass Stage, gives insights in her work and talks about her understanding of performance. Translated by Zhao Chuan.



 Consumerism and Critique

Concluding remarks on consumerism and critique by Zoë Svendsen and Zhao Chuan.



Copyright © Metis Arts 2013