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Writers' Block: A Cautious Path   
The last century of Czech history
Tristan Bates Theatre - November 2008

To commemorate 90 years of the Independent Republic of Czechoslovakia on 28th October 2008, OTC's latest Writers' Block presents a fantastic opportunity to experience six classic and contemporary plays exploring theatre’s engagement with momentous events from the last century, significant for their part in the formation of the vibrant and indomitable Czech identity.

Periphery by František Langer(1925)
Directed by Samuel Miller
Cast: Sam Taylor, Lisa Diveney, Scott Christie, Roberto Cavazos, Sarah Hynds, Matthew Ashcroft and Paul Lavers

The Mother by Karel Čapek (1938)
Directed by Irina Brown
Cast: Paola Dionisotti, Nicholas le Prevost, Mark Letheren, Dan Mason, Laurence Mitchell, John Sackville, Abigail Andjel and Oscar Pearce

Cat on the Rails by Josef Topol (1965)
Directed by Cat Totty
Cast: Susuan Prior, Ace Bhatti, Adrian Deasley and Sam Hoare

We’ll Start it (up) Tomorrow! by Václav Havel (1988)
Directed by Sarah Norman
Cast: Jane Goddard, Claire Louise Amias, Sarah Rutherford, Laura Gunnell, Stephen Connery Brown, Mark Duncan and Graham Hornsby

Sorrow, Sorrow, Fear, the Rope & the Pit
by Karel Steigerwald (1990)
Directed by Alex Summers
Cast: Jacob Krichefski, Colm Gormley, Christopher Gilling, Karren Winchester, Kevin Heaney, Daisy Aitkens, Staten Eliot, Claudia Sermbezis and Emily Chugg

Theremin by Petr Zelenka (2006)
Directed By Georgina Sowerby
Cast: Simon Meacock, Mark Fleischman, Graham O'Mara, Dami Olukoya, Samantha Whittaker, Joseph MacNab, Stephan Middleton and Caroline Devlin

Main sponsors:


by Alex Jones
Arts Theatre/ Latitude Festival - July 2008
theatre503 - August 2008


Welcome to the world of 14-year old Katie as she battles her way through the bitches, the chavs, the misery of school discos and the desperate search
for a worthy boyfriend.

The cult theatre comedy that asks tough questions about the rise in suicide as a 'life' choice. As featured on Radio 4's Woman's Hour, BBC London Breakfast, BBC TV News, BBC London Radio and much more.

Click on the image for more info>>

Kelly, right, Kelly the bitch decides to have a party on the very same night as my sleep over - the very same night!And I know she's done it on purpose. And she invites everybody - absolutely everybody...except me of course...
I want to die! I’m such a minger!

Featuring Alex Jones
Directed by Amy Bonsall
Designed by Maira Vazeou
Lighting by Phil Hewitt


Writers' Block - {a week of new work}
6 of the very best plays in development
Tristan Bates Theatre - June 2008

Saxophone by Chris Lee
Adapted from the novel by Laura Mamontova
Directed by Gene David Kirk
Cast: Joseph Arkley, Victoria Bavister, Alan Cox and Catherine Cusack

Lullaby by Dominic Leggett
Directed by Ken Christiansen
Cast: Simon Chadwick, Charles De'ath, Rachel Sanders and Sophie Trott

The Elastic Man by Ed Hime
Directed by Steve Harper
Cast: Victoria Bavister, Lisa Diveney, Keith Dunphy and Daniel Mutlow

Toby-Dog-Savage by Julie Bokowiec
Directed by David Tucker
Cast: Nigel Cooke, David Hounslow, Freddie Machin, Wendy Morgan, Andrew Neil, George Rossi and Sarah Stone

Halfway Out by Sarah Grochala
Directed by Anouke Brook
Cast: Lewis Barfoot, Amy Fox, Mona Goodwin, Grant Gillespie, Lorraine Hodgson, Andrew Hogben, Nikki Leigh Scott, Owen Oakeshott and Daniel Pinto

Tinned Peaches In Syrup by Alex Jones
Directed by Amy Bonsall
Cast: Graham Fox, Dennis Herdman, Jillie Meers, Michael Redston, Sarah Ridgeway, Romy Tennant, Joe Tucker and Simon Watts


Writers' Block - {a week of new work}
6 of the very best plays in development
Tristan Bates Theatre - December 2007

Hundreds & Thousands by Louise Ramsden
Directed by Lisa Spirling
Cast included Charlie Anson, Dorothy Atkinson,
Lorna Beckett and Alex Kirk

My Father the Angel by Ciaran McConville
Directed by Jamie Harper
Cast included Kate Donmall, Simon Harrison,
Victoria Lennox, Colin Mace and Howard Ward

Skin in Flames by Guillem Clua
Directed by Elly Green
Cast included Tamzin Aitken, Will Barton, David Cann
and Laura Glover

Marvellous Animals by Keith McLean
Directed by Trevor Griffiths
Cast included Jason Baughan, Kate Cook, Alex McConnell, Rob Ritchie, Peter Sproule, Darren Strange
and Anthony Warren

Mr Lorrimer by Steven Lally
Directed by Tom Mansfield
Cast included Michael Ballard, Simon Darwen, Laura Dos Santos, Susanna Fiore, David Morley Hale
and Catherine Harvey

Agatha and Enid by David Culverwell
Directed by Guy Retallack
Cast included Sally Dexter, Craig Gazey, Gary Gazice, Belinda Lang and Robert Portal


Isle Of Joy – by Searle Kochberg
6 August 2007, Tristan Bates Theatre

Isle of Joy

Directed by Ken Christiansen
Musical arrangements by Chris Lee
Movement by Vanessa Mildenberg
Additional dramaturgy by Diane Samuels

With Scott Ainslie, Daniel Bartrope, Jenny Bede, Daniel Cane, Daniel Gentely, Joan Hodges, Shai Metuki, Jonathon Pembroke, Rowan Schlosberg and featuring Josie Walker

Main sponsor:


Writers’ Block – {a week of new work}

6 of the very best new plays in development
11 - 16 June 2007

Monday 11th June - Modern Living @ Its Finest
by Ben Ellis directed by John Terry
Cast: Joanna Bacon, Catherine Cusack, Elizabeth Healey, Robert Gillespie and Gordon Taggart

Tuesday 12th June - Brute
by Alan Harris directed by Tessa Walker
Cast: Crystal Condie, Henry Gilbert, Geraint Hardy, Luke Norris, Fred Lancaster and Carolyn Tomkinson

Wednesday 13th June - Nest
by Bathsheba Doran – directed by Irina Brown
Cast: Michael Begley, David Burke, Colin Mace, Faye MacLaughlin, Dan Mason, Steve Nicolson and Madeleine Potter

Thursday 14th June - Prayers for an Angry God
by Chris Lee – directed by Gene David Kirk
Cast: Toby Alexander, Andrew Barron, Brid Brennan, Philip Brodie, Alan Cox, Amy Edge, Bernard Hill, Nadine Lewington and Laura dos Santos

Friday 15th June - A Torture Comedy
by Anders Lustgarten – directed by Ken Christiansen
Cast: Russell Bentley, Zena Birch, Annabel Capper, Sean Chapman, Margot Leicester, Ben Miller and Malcolm Sinclair. With support from Darren Hill, Adam Jackson-Smith and Frank McGinty

Saturday 16th June - Frog March
by Gbolahan Obisesan – directed by John Hoggarth
ast: Juliet Moore, Ricky Sekhon, Chris Streeks, Antonia Thomas and Jonathan Wrather

Main sponsor:

Supported by:


The Vanek Plays:
by Václav Havel

To mark the 70th birthday of Czechoslovakia’s greatest living playwright Operating Theatre Company in association with the Tristan Bates Theatre present the Presidents’ legendary comic masterpieces.

Directed by Jamie Harper
Designed by Rachael Canning
Cast: Elisa Boyd, Richard Crawley and Simon Yadoo

'Havel is a symbol of the fight of powerless people against a huge power, and a symbol of the fact that a dissident can become a very successful president!'

27th February – 1st March 2007
Tristan Bates Theatre


Writers' Block 5:a week of new (world) work
Tristan Bates Theatre
October 2nd - 7th 2006

The very best of new World Drama comprising six UK premieres by an array of diverse International talent.

Monday 2nd - Commentaire d'Amour
by Jean-Marie Besset (France)
Translated by Christopher Ashley & Jean-Marie Besset
Directed by Ken Christiansen
With: Doon Mackichan and Greg Wise

Tuesday 3rd - We Might Be Angels
by Marta Emmitt (Britain)
Directed by Sarah Chew
With: Gunnar Cauthery, Ben Christo
and Kate Steavenson-Payne

Wednesday 4th - Insurgency by Jason Hall (Canada)
Directed by Adam Barnard
With: Lewis Barfoot, Michelle Bonnard, Davood Ghadami, Gary Mackay,Qarie Marshall, Paul O’Mahony, John Sheerman, Sophie Trott and Susie Zara

Thursday 5th - Dark Yellow by Julia Jordan (America)
Directed by Simon de Deney
With: Ruth Gemmell and Michael Maloney

Friday 6th - Elysian Fields by Hanna Åkerfelt (Finland)
Translated by Hanna Åkerfelt
Directed by Amy Hodge
With: Paul O’Mahony, Katerina Jugati, Jessica Sedler
and Samuel Yates

Saturday 7th - The Stonewatcher
by János Háy (Hungary)
Translated by Phil Porter
Directed by Crispin Bonham Carter
With: Alex Beckett, Ken Christiansen, Grae Cleugh, Lucy Dobbing, Karen Henthorn, Becky John, David Royle, Adam Shipway, Hugh Skinner and Rosie Thomson

Supported by: 


Writers' Block 4
20th-25th February 2006
Tristan Bates Theatre

Dream of the Dog by Craig Higginson
Directed by James Albrecht
Cast: Peter Cartwright, Sello Maake KaNcube,
Janet Suzman and Thandi Zulu

Our Style Is Legendary by Daniel Hoffmann-Gill
Directed by Ken Christiansen
Cast: James Floyd, Mark Holgate, Ralph Ineson
and Jonny Wright

Myrna Molloy by John Donnelly
Directed by Crispin Bonham Carter
Cast: Michelle Fairley, Lee Ross, Colin Tierney
and Harry Treadaway

It Is Now by Rachel Wagstaff
Directed by Adam Barnard
Cast: Miranda Cook, Sam Crane, Paul Goodwin, Paul O'Mahony, Alex Robertson and Cameron Slater

A Wish I Had In My Pants by James Lance
Directed by Jo McInnes
Cast: Philip Cox, James Lance, Richard Mileland
and Lee Ross

I Must Not Think Bad Thoughts by Rob McIndoe
Directed by Kirsty Housley
Cast: Geoffrey Beevers, Martine Brown, Keir Charles, Carey Mulligan and Charlie Roe


a cowing play
by Sophie Stanton

more images from Cariad »

'Cariad is supremely well written. That Stanton also turns in a raw, winning performance as the scarred, wickedly funny Blodwen marks her out as a formidable talent.
Tight, clever direction' - THE TIMES ****

'A brilliant creation, excellent performances'

'A tentatively moving examination of how other peoplerescue us from our families' - THE GUARDIAN

Operating Theatre Company
in association with the Tristan Bates Theatre
Directed by Ken Christiansen
Designed by Robin Don
Lighting by Prema Mehta
Original Score by Jane Watkins
Cast: Becky John, Rachel Sanders and Sophie Stanton

"You could smack my chops with a sack of dirty herons! Bloody hero bloody worshipped you me and you up and bloody leave me when I'm nine. Why didn't you phone, you cowing twat from hell?"

23rd November - 17th December 2005
Tristan Bates Theatre

This production was supported by:


writers' block

WRITERS' BLOCK – {a week of new work}

Six premieres of new plays
@ the Actors Centre June 20th - 25th 2005

Private View: A play by Sarah Weatherall
Directed by Ken Christiansen
Cast: Kirsty Bushell, Simon Chadwick, Francis Lee, A J Simon, Sophie Stanton, Rosie Thomson, Gary Turner
and Angus Wright

Special appearance by Bob and Roberta Smith

The Cracks In My Skin by Phil Porter
Directed by Crispin Bonham-Carter
Cast: Erin Davies, Lucie Dobbing, Megan Fisher,
Bernard Gallagher and Kieron Jecchinis

Someone Else's Shoes by Drew Pautz
Directed by Tessa Walker
Cast: Kirsty Bushell, Michael Gilroy, John Moraitis and Rachel Morris

Snowdrop by Gene David Kirk
Directed by Charlotte Gwinner
Cast: Toby Alexander, Neal Barry, Paul Fowler,
Laurence Mitchell and Matthew Noble

I’m In the Caravan by Robin Hooper
Directed by Mary Roscoe
Cast: Ken Christiansen, Richard Clews, Eliza Hunt,
Will Irvine, Ewen Macintosh and Peter Moreton

Crocodile Seeking Refuge by Sonja Linden
Directed by Ariella Eshed
Cast: Viss Elliot, James Coombes, Karina Fernandez,
Daniel Kobbina, Kath Rogers and Clive Wedderburn


This event was sponsored by:



WRITERS' BLOCK - {a week of new work}
@ the Actors Centre
24th-29th January 2005

Buicks by Julian Sheppard
directed by Ken Christiansen
cast – Stuart Goodwin, Nuria Inglada, John Moraitis
and Josie Walker

August Again by Colette Kane
directed by Matthew Dunster
cast – Leanne Best, Gary Cargill, Geoff Leesley and
Maggie Ollerenshaw

Lemonade Joe by James Deacon
directed by Hanna Berrigan
cast – Stephen Boswell, Lucy Dobbing, Nitzan Sharron
and Danny Webb

DejaVu by Edoardo Erba
directed by Crispin Bonham-Carter
cast – Kieron Jecchinis, Diana Quick and Colin Tierney

Cariad by Sophie Stanton
directed by Erica Whyman
cast – Raquel Cassidy, Tonya Smith and Sophie Stanton

The Cobbler by Bryan Delaney
directed by Andrew Steggall
cast – Niall Buggy, Nora Connolly, Keith Dunphy, Frank Dunne, Fiona Glascott, Damian Kearney, JD Kelleher, Edward MacLiam and Tony Rohr


by Rebecca Lenkiewicz.
Originally developed by OTC, this play went on to be produced by the NT.
For more details see the National Theatre's website.



by Matthew Hurt
No. 1 in Critics’ TOP FIVE ‘MUST SEE’
Soho Theatre November 2003.
directed by Ken Christiansen
cast: Simon Callow, Rula Lenska, Josie Walker
A bittersweet reflection on the many pitfalls of the enticing world of show business.
more images »


6 World Premieres of cutting edge new writing.
27 November – 14 December 2002


THE NIGHT SEASONby Rebecca Lenkiewicz
directed by Ken Christiansen
cast: Alan Cox, Jackie Everett, Natasha Joseph,
Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Elizabeth O’Brien, John Sackville
and Jack Shepherd.

A MINOR DARK AGEby Larry Kramer
directed by Drew Ackroyd.
cast: James Albrecht, Amanda Boxer, Annabel Field,
Alexis Gregory, Daniel Hart, Paul Imbusch
and Madeleine Potter

ANNIE LEE by Lucy Edkins
directed by Kirsty Bushell
cast: Richard Armitage, Stephen Casey, Jo Dunn, Lisa Ellis, Annabel Capper, Rez Kempton, Gerard O’Hare
and Rosie Thomson

INTERIOR DESIGN by Christine Harmar-Brown
directed by Gillian Diamond.
cast: Karl Johnson, Lesley Nightingale, Colin Tierney,
Julia Watson and Diana Quick

Staged Work:

...LOADED By Polly Wiseman
Directed by Matthew Hurt
Tristan Bates Theatre December 2002

Polly Wiseman’s first play after the success of Bright at the Soho Theatre in 2002 focuses on an ageing porno star and a young hack’s attempts to discover the facts behind the fiction.

Cast: Megan Fisher, Linda Marlowe and William Osborne
images »

VALENTINE by Matthew Hurt
Directed by Ken Christiansen
Tristan Bates Theatre December 2002

Mother, son and daughter refuse to act their age - living in a secret world - until one day they’re forced to open the door.

Cast: Joseph Bennett, Adam Moore, Catrin Rhys,
Rachel Sanders and David Sturzaker

more images »



NECKLACE by Matthew Hurt
Directed by Ken Christiansen
Cast: Rosie Thomson, Wil Johnson, Julie Riley,
Danielle Urbas and Nick Oshikanlu


RADA 10 March 2003
(in association with Fireraisers )

ELEVATION by Polly Wiseman
directed by Polly Wiseman
cast: Ken Christiansen, Jeff Lewis, Rachel Sanders

CALL TO PRAYER by Matthew Hurt
directed by Ken Christiansen
cast: Dominic Cooper, Mary MacLeod, Lyndsey Marshal


RADA 4 November 2002

…LOADED by Polly Wiseman
Directed by Matthew Hurt
Cast: Carol Drinkwater, Megan Fisher, William Osborne

SINGING & DANCING by Matthew Hurt
Directed by Ken Christiansen
Cast: Rula Lenska, Rosie Thomson





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