The Talking Shop


A Cultural & Democratic Information Centre

The Talking Shop™ and The Democracy Box™ and all associated content is copyright Omidaze Productions/Yvonne Murphy 2020

“Every town should have a Talking Shop” Talking Shop Visitor

All Talking Shops© will contain The Democracy Box©.

The Talking Shop© is a cultural and democratic information centre.

The Talking Shop© encourages and facilitates public engagement with creativity, arts and culture, and democratic systems and structures.

The Talking Shop© is a space for the public and creatives to collide, converse, connect, collude and create. It is a public R&D space which encourages and promotes cultural and democratic participation.

A space in which to articulate, champion and strengthen the role of the creativity and democracy in society and empower through a sharing of information and knowledge.

The Talking Shop is a physical ‘what’s on’ hub which everyone helps curate. It is a public space which explores the intersection between cultural and democratic participation. A shop which sells nothing and where talk is rich and never cheap.

A space with information, creation and conversation at its core.

The Talking Shop© – transforming cultural and democratic participation one conversation at a time

Watch the short Talking Shop explainer film.

Read the full report or story so far can be found here

The Talking Shop has lead to The Democracy Box project funded from 2020-21 by Clwstwr

The Talking Shop has been created by Yvonne Murphy and is an Omidaze Productions project.

Breaking News Spring 2022

The Talking Shop has re-opened.

Cardiff 36-38 Castle Arcade April 8 onwards

Newport Unit 9 Friars Walk Newport April 1-30

Open Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm except Bank Holidays.

We are working hard to keep the Cardiff one open for a minimum of 12 months while we trial secondary Talking Shops™ in other towns across Wales and create a blueprint for how to use TTS/TDB as models for ‘A Conversation with the Nation’ and to increase democratic participation both at and beyond the ballot box. Currently we have enough funding to stay open until July 10th.

The first trial secondary Talking Shop in Newport opened  April 1st for one month until April 30 with two of our collaborators the Riverfront and Youth Cymru

We are hoping to create month long trials also in North and West Wales and in the Valleys.

The hosting model – each Talking Shop is hosted by a paid and fully trained freelance creative together with a co-host from one of the collaborating organisations from the cultural and democratic sectors.

How is The Talking Shop Funded? – The main cost of The Talking Shop is the freelance hosts. To date we have secured funding for one month trail in Newport and three months in Cardiff. We were delighted to be part of the first Cares Family Multiplier Programme funded by UnLtd and were awarded a small grant towards reopening & developing The Talking Shop™in 2022. This has covered one month of the Cardiff Shop. A Local Government Elections Division Third Sector Grant awarded to the Riverfront is supporting one month of the Cardiff Talking Shop  and the one month Newport trial Talking Shop. Omidaze went into partnership with the Future Generations Commissioner in November 2021 . We are developing The Democracy Box™ and The Talking Shop™ through this partnership and their investment in Omidaze is supporting the third month of the Talking Shop™ in Cardiff .

Talking Shopcollaborators Omidaze are the Electoral Commission‘s Youth Voice partner in Wales and additional Talking Shop collaborators include  National Theatre of Wales; The Abbey Theatre, Dublin;  Clwstwr; University South Wales; OperaSonic; Cardiff Council; Senedd Cymru; Menter Caerdydd; Menter Iaith Merthyr Tudful Theatr Soar; Riverfront Newport; Youth Cymru; Heads4Arts;NoFitState Circus; Dr Anwen Elias Aberystwyth University & Dr Matthew Wall Swansea University; Wales Millennium Centre and the Institute of Welsh Affairs.  Collaborators and partners contribute to the running of the Talking Shop by providing in-kind support in the form of co-host staff, evaluation and resources.

For further information or if you would like to support this work and/or be a collaborator and discuss a trial Talking Shop™ in your town or city please email Yvonne Murphy aka Omidaze (OhMyDays!)Productions 

The Talking Shop™ and The Democracy Box™ and all associated content is copyright Omidaze Productions/Yvonne Murphy 2020

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.


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 seven short chapters. 

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™ 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


Please click on the links below for info on our four productions to date: