The Wheel

IOU's New Interactive Mobile Stage Production presented at Festival of Thrift, Culturedale 2024 and York University Festival of Ideas

IOU The Wheel is a moving mechanical sculpture

The Wheel is a mobile stage production and giant moving, remote-controlled sculpture. Within a gleaming self-propelled hub-less wheel, a miniature character walks inside, on a seemingly epic journey. 

An intriguing and intimate meditation on our sense of personal identity as we face the world. The thumb-sized character walks within the giant wheel which turns almost imperceptibly.  The sculpture moves through the streets at a snail’s pace and audiences are invited to slow down, to look, contemplate, and imagine the possible narratives it inspires.

Audiences are able to share their own interpretations of The Wheel and of the lone character, through drawings, stories and poems. These are collected and displayed in a mobile gallery, which also acts as a way-marker, leading the way for the character and audiences, as it slowly travels along the road a little ahead of the Wheel itself.  Here desk spaces and materials are provided for audiences to write or draw their thoughts and responses to the work – which will be displayed as part of a future exhibition.

The Wheel at York University's Festival of Ideas 2024

In collaboration with York University Institute for Safe Autonomy, The Wheel is mounted with sensors to record and research responses to automated vehicles in public spaces

The Wheel made its Calderdale debut at the launch of CultureDale Year of Culture Celebration 2024. Starting in Halifax Town Centre, The Wheel then made its way to the historic Piece Hall.

The Wheel at CultureDale

Over 1000 people experienced the giant mobile sculpture with 75 children and adults taking part in the live drawing sessions

I love how it clashes art and industry, in keeping with the history of Calderdale. My young daughter loved that she could make a drawing for it

UK Premier of The Wheel at Festival of Thrift 2023

The UK premiere of The Wheel took place at Festival of Thrift, Billingham, Stockton- on-Tees, Saturday 23 September 2023.

Over 900 people saw performances with 100 engaged in live drawing sessions, creating stories and drawings of the Character on their journey and where they might be heading that were displayed there and then on the mobile Gallery.

See a selection of audience drawings HERE

Production Credits

Devised and designed by Artistic Director: David Wheeler

Maker, Designer: Andy Plant

Senior Producer: Joanne Wain

Assistant Producer & Performer: Lydia Murray

Technical Manager: Loui Binns

Fabrication: White Cross Ring Fabricators

Academic Research: Dr Fanta Camara, Institute of Safe Autonomy, University of York

Dr Darren Read, Senior Lecturer in Social Sciences University of York

Commissioned & Premiered by: Festival of Thrift