BTEC students from Rubicon Dance showcased a small dance performance titled ‘ONCE UPON A 2024’ at the Volcano Theatre on 18th April 2024 as a part of the upcoming The Shape of Things to Come 2024.

‘Once Upon a 2024’, a beautiful dance reflection throwing light on the growing cost of living crisis, was choreographed by Marianne Tuckman and directed by Deborah Ford, BTEC course leader. The musical dance performance had the sound mastering done by Ariel Schlichter.


Marianne Tuckman and Deborah Ford


The short dance performance depicted the lives of six girls— played by Laura Gilchrist (19), Mia Da Silva (20), Seren Vodden (18), Madeleine Orwin (19), Taleigh Vodden(17), and Mia John (20)— who are on the verge of leaving their houses this September to different cities and have to deal with managing the rising cost of living.


From the right: Laura, Mia da Silva, Seren, Maddie, Taleigh, Mia John

From the left: Laura, Mia da Silva, Seren, Maddie, Taleigh, Mia John


A still from the dance performance.


The preparation for the performance was very ‘intense’ says Marrianne, as the girls had just 2 weeks to prepare for the dance from scratch.  Meanwhile, Deborah remarked that it was a ‘new’ and ‘rewarding experience’ for the girls to present a multidisciplinary art form, involving text and acting in addition to their dancing.

The dance was a reimagination of the popular fairytale ‘The Little Mermaid’ by Hans Christian Anderson. The dance was set on a stormy night during the raging housing crisis and depicted the resilience of the girls in challenging circumstances.

“And if it gets too damp to dance, no worries. We’ll swim from here (Ancient Proverb, dated 2024)!”

The short yet impactful performance ended with a monologue penned down by Mia John. The text of the monologue read:


Dear Me (in 10 years),

I don’t expect you to have it all figured out.

I don’t expect you to understand why some people have no money
while others have too much,

Or why this family of 3 live in a 5 bedroom house with a bathroom
each, and this family of 5 live in a 2 bedroom house and all share the
same shower.

But maybe, you have moved on from what’s hurt you. And your
dreams are less far away than you once thought.

I don’t expect you to have solved world hunger, but hopefully you’re
earning some money, and putting food on the table for someone you

I hope that table is in a house of your own, covered in colours and
warmth, without a hint of cold or damp.

1 hope you can afford to keep dreaming. Dream of the muddy paw
prints left on your extra large Queen size bed – the one you’ve always
wanted. Hope that you toilet trained your dogs before letting them
come upstairs.

Your life has only just begun- Look after yourself as you would the
little girl bubbling deep inside of you. Do everything she needs from

Lots of love,



We talked to the girls after the performance. They all currently live with their families in Cardiff but will soon be moving out. Mia John said that she is ‘nervous and excited’ about her upcoming university experience. “You can use dance to express most of the things,” said Seren. Mia da Silva added that topics like the housing crisis are “something very relevant and a lot of people can relate to it.”

This summer, the Volcano Theatre is open for informal afternoon gatherings, offering tea and cakes before a stellar lineup of performances. The event was free to attend but accepted donations which went to the Rubicon Dance group.

You can follow them on Instagram: Rubicon Dance and Marianne Tuckman.

Applications for admission to the Rubicon Dance is open until 26th April 2024.

The Volcano Theatre in Swansea gives space for small-scale commissions to freelancers since 2022. The theatre provides room for short performances that ‘look toward the future in some way’ and makes imaginative use of spaces in its ‘cavernous building’. The aim is to make up for the lack of opportunities for freelancers and also give the audience a space for planning a big night out in the wake of the cost of living crisis.