Founded by John Fox in Bradford in 1968, Welfare State International – WSI for short – is a consortium of freelance associates, many of whom have a fine art background. Funded by the Arts Council to research prototype forms of visual, celebratory theatre and ceremonial art, the company has achieved an international reputation for its original and pioneering work, having worked for and with communities throughout Britain and Europe, and as far afield as Japan, Australia, the USA, Canada, and Tanzania. Handcrafted celebratory events may variously incorporate specially made pyrotechnic animations, iceworks, architectural lanterns, carnival orchestras, oratorios of popular song, clay grottoes, mobile tableaux of performance art, theatrical transformations, surreal films, and infernal sculptural machines. WSI has consistently explored the territory between theatrical product and applied anthropology. In the original series of Theatre Quarterly, a feature in TQ8 (1972), compiled by John Fox, described and illustrated the company's early years, and in 1983 Tony Coult and Baz Kershaw edited a ‘Welfare State Handbook’ for Methuen, entitled Engineers of the Imagination. As the company celebrates its twentieth anniversary, its Development Director, Michael White, looks at some current directions and preoccupations in WSI's work and thinking.