Cecilia Knapp: “The biggest challenge was grappling with the formal conventions of playwriting…”

This season, we’re extremely lucky to be joined by performer and writer Cecilia Knapp, who will be performing here at TOM not once, but twice! We managed to catch up with her to talk about her career, her journey so far and the challenges she has faced when jumping between performing and writing.

Hi Cecilia! Thanks for taking the time to chat to us – can you tell us a little bit about how you got started in your career and why you wanted to do what you do?
It was by complete chance! I was very young and living in London alone and a bit directionless. I signed up for a  year long poetry course at the Roundhouse and it all kind of spiralled from there. I’d always loved reading and writing but never saw it as a career really. I began with poetry, going to lots of open mics and building it up from there then got into theatre and fiction.

You’re both a performer and a writer. Do you have a preference between the two or do you find it differs from time to time?
At the moment its writing. I love performing and the exchange you have with an audience, the ability to share something but there’s nothing quite like the feeling of writing. When you crack something and get it down, its incredible.

Your first show, Finding Home, has just finished touring the UK. How did it all go?
It was amazing! Really fun visiting new towns and meeting new audiences. I was sad to let the show go, it was such a big part of my early writing life but touring is hard and I needed to make room for new work.

You’re going to be at TOM to perform ahead of the performance of I Wanna Be Yours. Are you looking forward to being in Brighton?
Yes! Its my home town! Every time I come and do a gig down in Brighton it feels so special. I look at ideas of home and place in my work quite a lot and so there’s lots of mentions of Brighton and it feels powerful talking about those things to a home crowd.

The show is Zia’s debut play. As you’ve made that jump from poet to playwright yourself, from your perspective, what would you say is the biggest challenge when writing for a different performance purpose?
I actually didn’t find it too challenging, I found it incredibly freeing. You’re giving over your words to another performer, to amazing actors. Its such a joy to see what they do with it, how they interpret your characters, your dialogue, they are so talented and intuitive, they bring a whole new layer to the piece and to the characters. I guess the biggest challenge was just grappling with the formal conventions of playwriting – I had no experience so was sort of learning on the go about structuring a piece and how to present it. Luckily I have an awesome director Beth Pitts who helps me get to grips with all of that.

You’re also going to be back at TOM in November, performing as part of the BHAC Poetry Festival alongside Hollie McNish. Can you tell us what you might have planned for your return visit?
I have no idea yet! I’m writing a lot at the moment so hopefully some new poems. 

Outside of this, you’re an ambassador for the charity C.A.L.M (The Campaign Against Living Miserably). Can you tell us a little bit about why this cause is important to you?
I just think they do important work in both breaking down the mental health stigma whilst also lobbying for more mental health provision and funding. They support those suffering and also those bereaved by suicide (which I myself am, and so many people I know)  so I think the work they are doing is essential. The way they go about it is fantastic- building communities, getting the message out, supporting people through art, sport, creativity, and celebrating creativity as a way to raise awareness and help people. They’re a truly great bunch.

Final question – what exciting projects have you got in the pipeline?
I have a run of my play coming up in November at the Roundhouse (20-22nd) and a small tour next year. I’m writing new poems all the time and have just finished the manuscript for a novel!

Cecilia will be performing as support ahead of I Wanna Be Yours on Wed 30 Oct. Click here for more info

She will also be a part of the BHAC Poetry Festival on Sun 24 Nov. Click here for more info

Choreocracy interview with Tim Casson

This year, as part of our #TOMtech programme, we have the exciting democratic dance show Choreocracy coming to TOM on 17 September. We caught up with one of the show’s creators, Tim Casson, to talk about the project’s origins and the development of audience interaction in live shows.

This is a really exciting collaboration! Can you tell us a little bit about how the project came about?
Seb and I met at South East Dance’s Dance Hack event back in 2014. We met and bonded over our shared belief that our respective art forms, dance & technology, could both be a little intimidating – and so wanted to change that. We both make work that is really fun, and the first thing we made together was what would ultimately become our rainbow laser dance. We thought there was something exciting about the idea of putting the audience in control of a show, so we continued working together very slowly, and finally created the full show in 2018.

How would you describe the show to somebody who is unfamiliar with your work?
Someone described it as Bandersnatch meets Greatest Dancer, which I quite like! Fundamentally, it’s a show that the audience control in real-time via their mobile phones. It’s really an entertainment show – so it’s fun, colourful, comic, silly, sparkly, lasery.

It seems a difficult time for the idea of democratic decisions, especially when it comes to their integration with new technologies. What made you want to explore this idea in Choreocracy?
I suppose it was the challenge of making a show that was totally democratic, we started the process by going out into the streets of Brighton to ask people what they’d like to see in a show. We then spent a lot of time exploring what elements of a show it was possible to give the audience control of in real-time. I suppose there’s an idea in art that it has to come from this one genius creative mind, and I suppose we wanted to debunk this and see what kind of decisions would be made if the audience were in control collectively. A major difference with Chorecracy is that the democratic processes that we use in the show are really transparent and fair!

As labels, both ‘dance’ and ’tech’ can sometimes be seen as intimidating to people who don’t feel literate in these fields. Are there any barriers that audiences will need to overcome to get the most out of this show?
Only those preconceptions! You really don’t need to know anything about dance or technology to enjoy it. The show is also really funny, which I don’t think people expect from either of those things! You don’t need to download an app, we help everyone get set up when they enter the theatre, it’s all pretty straightforward!

The idea of audience interaction in real-time is a central theme to our #TOMtech programme this year, and a central theme to Choreocracy. How important do you think it is to reach out to audiences as active participants in live experiences?
I think that theatre is really demanding more of audiences in recent years and that there is a real audience for more interactive, immersive and playing/game-theatre. Previously audience participation was a bit naff or intimidating, and only seemed to happen at pantomimes, but I think it can be really meaningful. We’ve found that when people describe the show, they don’t say “I want to see it again” but rather “I want to play it again” which is great that they feel such an important part of it! I mean, with Choreocracy we need the audience to make decisions or there’s quite literally no show!

Choreocracy is at TOM on 17 September!

Two minutes with Kieran Hurley

Way back in 2013, we had Kieran Hurley’s stage show Beats here. Kieran played the starring role alongside a pumping soundtrack from a live techno DJ and intoxicating live visuals. The show was part of a wave of theatre that would start to test boundaries of genre, bending typical conventions of what shows should look like, and stretching them into fresh new forms. Kieran’s new show Square Go comes to us in a few weeks and it continues in this punk tradition. It’s raucous, riotous fun that Broadway Baby said acted as “a great big middle finger to proper theatre” in their ★★★★★ review.

Ahead of Square Go coming here on 27 and 28 September, and the film adaptation of his play Beats being screened on 14 October, we managed to grab Kieran for five minutes for a chat with the award-winning writer, performer and theatre-maker about the show, the film and his influences.

We had the one-man-show version of Beats here back in 2013 and now the film is coming to our film club! Can you tell us a bit about your experience here back in 2013, and the show’s journey from stage to screen?
We had a great time at the Old Market with Beats as I remember. It was a monologue, but it was also performed with a DJ, Johnny Whoop, and live visuals mixed by Jamie Wardrop – so when you add in Adam the tour tech there was a bit of a team of us on the road and it was a really fun time. It all begins to blur a bit but I seem to remember the Brighton audience really enjoying the show. At that point I was just beginning to make plans for the screen adaptation with Brian (Welsh, co-writer and director of the film) and the prospect of it being made felt like a long way away.

Beats is an ode to the 90’s free party scene, was that a scene that you were a part of?
Nah, in 1994 when the story is set I was about 9 years old. So no, I just missed it. I had an older brother who would’ve been Johnno’s age though and I had my own generational equivalent I suppose, of the music, the culture, the associated politics, the associated drugs…

We’ve got the show you co-wrote with Gary McNair, Square Go, coming here in September, how would you describe the show to someone who isn’t familiar with your work?
Square Go is a bonkers wee play that Gary and I wrote about growing up as teenagers in Scotland and the kind of violent bullshit that we teach young men about how to be in the world from a very young age. It’s funny, and explosive, and told entirely on the level of these two young kids – who are both played by adults – as one of them prepares for a fight at the school kids with a boy much, much harder than him. There’s lots of laughs, lots of getting the audience to cheer them on, and it helps if folk come prepared to get into and create a bit of atmosphere – but there’s also a serious point in there, and a hopefully quite touching wee story about male friendship.

Both Beats and Square Go talk about adolescence, friendship, and coming-of-age, how much does your younger self inform or inspire your writing?
I guess it does quite a lot. I think a lot of writers mine those incredibly formative years in even slightly more hidden ways, continuously. That there’s a bit of thematic overlap between these two plays is not a huge surprise as they were actually both written round about the same time. Square Go sat in a drawer for years – it’s one of the weird rhythms of being a writer, your newest work isn’t always actually new. So I’m glad it’s out now and doing well because I’m incredibly fond of it.

Square Go comes to TOM on 27-28 September. Click here for more info.

Beats will be screened as part of TOM’s Film Club on 14 October.

The year that was and the year to come…

(Pictured: Kiri Pritchard-McLean)

So folks, 2018 is done, end of, finito, no more… and what a year it was.

We’ve had scandals galore, political turmoil, icons falling and cars in space. Here at TOM, we had a great year, chock full of fantastic entertainment.

2019 is looking set to be even bigger, both in the news and here at our wee venue. So to honour the new year, some of our team have hand-picked their favourite shows from last year, and they’ve also picked out what they’re looking forward to most this coming year.

To everyone who supported us in 2018, thank you so so much. The upcoming year is going to be big for TOM, and we hope you’ll join us for the journey.

Much love,
Team TOM x

HELEN – Programmer

Favourite from 2018
“1927 are a company that never cease to amaze. This particular show was with us a few years back, and it was such a treat to have it here again. The way that everything comes together is so exact, it really is a treat for the eyes and ears. I can’t wait to see what they have in store in 2019.”

Looking forward to in 2019
“If you haven’t seen it, watch the trailer. Need I say more? KoKo is a captivating performer and someone who is able to take music and spoken word to another level.”

ROB – Bar Manager

Favourite from 2018
“We didn’t exactly know what to expect with this night. I don’t think many people knew to be honest! But it’s those nights that are often the most magical. The vibe was so unique, the atmosphere was positive, the film and performances were great. Just a top night all round.”

Looking forward to in 2019
“I’m the Bar Manager, so what else was it gonna be? Being able to return to our roots and actually run a market here once again is exciting, and the brews on offer will be second to none.”

LAURA – Box Office Manager

Favourite from 2018
“I loved the TV show, so being able to see it live was a real treat. Maddie Rice held the audience in the palm of her hand from start to finish, and it was the perfect way to get the summer started!”

Looking forward to in 2019
“Kiri’s ability to connect with the audience is what makes her stand out from anyone else working in comedy today. Her material can be somewhat unusual for stand-up (last years’ show was about her wish to mentor vulnerable kids), but that’s what makes her even more intriguing.”

JAMES – Development Manager

Favourite from 2018
“I was extremely proud of everything that took place during the #TOMtech season this past year, but having the Makropol guys in from Denmark was special. It affected audiences in so many different ways, some people were moved to tears, some felt relief. Being a part of that was magic.”

Looking forward to in 2019
“I can’t wait to get tickets for this (the marketing team tell him it’s sold out). Right then, better check out the other comedy coming up…”

MARK – Marketing Manager

Favourite from 2018
“From the first moment I heard Ben Caplan’s voice, I was hooked. Then, the story kicked in – a moving tale of love through hard times. It worked on so many levels, the cast were incredible and setting the entire show in a shipping container was so clever.”

Looking forward to in 2019
“Yeah, I’m kind of cheating, but… oh well. Starting of with one of my favourite
anime’s of all time in Your Name, this season looks like the strongest yet. We’ve just announced the Korean thriller Burning as well, which I can’t wait to see!”

“My world was tumbling into the unknown…”

This October, we’re really excited to welcome Dom Coyote back to TOM, who will be presenting his new show We Can Time Travel here on 30 October. To get a glimpse into Dom’s mind, read on to learn more about the show, the man, and the reason to climb a mountain…

What is WCTT about?
We Can Time Travel is a theatrical, time travelling odyssey with loads of songs, electronic instruments and live looping. It’s a gig and it’s a story, in a basement in central London. A story for anyone who can let their imagination run wild. A story about time. How complicated it is. It’s about memory, about loss and about hope. It’s totally intimate and immersive and full of music.. I’ve been an artist with Kneehigh Theatre for a long time, and they instilled in me the natural balance of music and storytelling.

What inspired you to create this piece?
When Trump got into power, I was on tour and my relationship was in trouble. My world was tumbling into the unknown. I wanted to make something immediate. About how to cope with turbulent times. I rang my friend Rich Rusk, the most brilliant director I know, and told him I wanted to make something new. He suggested The Time Machine by HG Wells. It felt perfect. The idea of going back in time and changing past events, or tumbling forward to see what might become of us was hugely appealing. our imaginations got fired up and the Time Machine became the springboard to We Can Time Travel. 

What can audiences expect when they see WCTT?
Loads and loads of music, an epic story in a beautiful, intimate space, awesome musical gadgets and analogue synthesisers, to be taken to the edge of time and back, a surprising amount of gags, and a dying sun, casting out a melody through time.

Can you tell us more about gig-theatre?
For me personally, gig theatre is quite simply a cross between a music gig an a piece of theatre. It’s very different to musical theatre. There are instruments on stage and it is completely direct address. So I mean no forth wall. It works well with storytelling and standup for that reason. We are all in a room together, experiencing something. It doesn’t feel like a play. Music is at the heart of it, but everything on stage is filled with meaning, every instrument has some place in the imagined world you are creating.

How does WCTT use time travel to reflect on the present?
The character in We Can Time Travel, (who is called Dom and is basically me but a bit weirder) is obsessed with time travel. He works out how to do it and he goes back in time and forward in time but he can’t change anything, he can’t even be seen, he is an observer, a ghost, unseen, unheard. He tries to get back to his present, but he can’t, he’s lost in time. It’s a metaphor really, I use this device to explore apathy, and disengaging from reality. The show is a provocation to anyone that sees it. To grab the present, to look up and speak up, to hold hands and tell someone you love them before it’s too late.

Having travelled time, what advice do you have for everyone in the present?
Well I haven’t managed to alter any of my behaviours yet, but here is my personal plan – stop scrolling on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, help a stranger, ring an old friend, climb a mountain, get a bike, notice the seasons change. Life is fleeting, every moment becomes the past immediately Life is so quick. So grab the present moment tight, it is the most precious thing there is.

If you could travel anywhere in time, where would you go and why?
I would either go and visit the druids and find out what the hell was going on with stone henge (my guess is ancient stone computer) or way into the future to see what might become of us strange humans.

We Can Time Travel is on Tuesday 30 October at TOM – tickets are available here.

To find out more about Dom and his work, be sure to check out his website by clicking here.

“Nothing is off limits…”

Ahead of her visit to TOM this October, Canadian comedy maestro Mae Martin spoke to BN1 Magazine about all things Brighton, Canadian humour, comedy’s role in politics… and Bette Midler…

Are you looking forward to returning to Brighton?
I LOVE BRIGHTON. I had the best jacket potato of my LIFE in Brighton. I still think about it.

What kind of dialogue would you like with your Brighton audience; is there anything you’re hoping they don’t ask?
Nothing is off limits. I want them to put all sorts of questions in my bucket (I don’t know why that sounds like a euphemism). The only questions I find difficult are ones related to niche British politics and referencing people I don’t know.

What’s the funniest experimental gig you’ve ever done?
I did one where a girl from the audience came on stage and we reenacted my recent break up, with her playing my ex. At the end of it I felt like we’d really shared something. Not sure how she felt. 

You’ve been living in the UK for seven years now – do Brits have better humour than Canadians? How?
It’s just different! Audiences are more vocal. And self deprecation reigns supreme. I love it. Canadian humour is pretty close to British, though. Closer than American for sure.

How do your life experiences influence your comedy?
Most of my comedy is really personal and quite uncomfortably exposing, so I’d say yes, massively.

Your BBC Radio 4 series, ‘Mae Martin’s Guide to 21stCentury Sexuality’, explores the millennial generation’s sexual revolution and its developing attitudes in relation to gender. What makes these issues such a rich source of comedy?
Everything is shifting and changing all the time so it’s an interesting thing to track and explore. Also it’s so universal – we ALL have a sexuality, and an identity, and nothing could be more human.

Do you think comedy should play a role in politics?
Comedy has a rich history of social commentary and subversion, so it absolutely must play a role in reflecting the world back at us and bridging divisions and misunderstandings. I wish I was better at political comedy but I leave it to people who it’s their specialty.

You started performing when you were 13. How did those early experiences shape the comic you are today?
I had a tumultuous adolescence in and around comedy clubs and those experiences absolutely inform who I am today. One positive thing is that I was able to experiment with different comedy styles and genres and attitudes before the era of youtube, and get it all out of my system relatively early so that in my twenties I knew who I was on stage more clearly. 

If you didn’t do stand-up, what else do you think you’d be doing?
I have no other qualifications and never went to school so I’d probably be pretty screwed. But probably music! Or I’d like to be Bette Midler’s personal assistant.

Do you have any more exciting projects lined up for the future?
I have a Netflix stand up special coming out in January 2019, and exciting stuff to announce in the coming months, too!

The Mae Martin Experiment is on Wednesday 17 October at TOM – tickets are available here.

For more lovely interviews and content like this, check out our friends at BN1 Magazine here.

TOMtech 2018 is here!

Now in it’s fourth year, TOMtech is our in-house programme of performances using new technologies. Not content with the traditional artforms (we still love them – have you seen our packed autumn season?) we are leading the way forward with new forms of storytelling, immersive entertainment and cultural experiences that take your breathe away.

This year, we are showcasing virtual reality experiences that illustrate the best of what is possible in this medium. Carefully selected from festivals, artists and design studios both here and around the globe, these vary from the enchanting to the extreme. As you look through, be sure to reference our rating symbols to know what will suit you best.

It is not all VR though. Opening the programme this year, we are delighted to welcome the beamer community into the building to adorn our walls with light powered art.

Beyond the public events, we are running a course for theatre makers to learn how to create immersive content and developing our own multi-user production (thats under wraps, for now…)

TOMtech allows us to dream on what the entertainment of the future will be. Over the last few years our VR shows and events have seen sold out crowds coming to the venue to try the latest experiences. 2018 is no different. This year’s programme includes the chance to have a 1-2-1 biology lesson with Sir David Attenborough at the Natural History Museum, a heart-stopping journey beyond the grave (in Doom Room) and a unique view on the relationship between twins thrown apart by one night.

Pop-Up Brighton and TOMtech

14-15 Sep

Bring Your Own Beamer has been wow-ing crowds in Brighton for six years. Launching our TOMtech programme with two nights of projector powered digital art expect to find the building transformed in to a digital wonderland.

Alongside the open sessions – join Pop-Up Brighton for parties, workshops, masterclasses and talks. Check online for schedule.


Makropol and TOMtech
20-30 Sep

A boundary-defying live VR experience from Danish collective, Makropol. You are invited to put on a blindfold and begin a guided meditation where you are transported to the afterlife. Technological wizardry combine with heart-stopping live performance in this remarkable work. WATCH THE TRAILER HERE.

Contains scenes of an extreme nature that some audiences may find disturbing. Please see website for trigger warnings BEFORE booking.  



20-30 Sep

A 10-day curated installation that invites you to enjoy some the finest immersive works the world has to offer.  Your ticket covers guaranteed slots on the three main exhibits below and overleaf, curated for small groups over one-hour sessions. Programme includes:

HOLD THE WORLD WITH DAVID ATTENBOROUGH (Sky VR/Factory42/Natural History Museum)

A unique one-on-one encounter with a digitally realised Sir David Attenborough, in which he teaches you how to examine remarkable specimens from the Natural History Museum’s collection.  Go behind the scenes to areas usually closed off to the public to get up close with a stegosaurus, a trilobite, dragonfly, blue whale and a pterosaur. WATCH THE TRAILER HERE.

IS ANNA OK? (BBC/Aardman Animations)

A true story of twins thrown apart by one night.  Step into their shoes and a beautifully illustrated world, explore memories through objects, and uncover what happened from both perspectives.

EMPIRE SOLDIERS (Metro-Boudot-Dodo)

Empire Soldiers tells the compelling stories of the forgotten Caribbean and South Asian soldiers of World War 1.  Hear the captivating stories of the battlefield as you are joined by a returning soldiers and share the emotional experience of the return home. As the journey continues to the present day, focus turns to the resulting changes of the last 100 years, and the impact of migration on the world today.

TICKETS AND MORE INFORMATION (See all three above for one price)

Hatsumi VR
20-23 Sep

Scientists and meditation gurus alike have sung the praises of mindfulness as a technique we can harness to improve our mental wellbeing. Whilst living in an age of hyper-connectivity often perpetuates mental distress, perhaps we can use technology as a tool to connect with ourselves, regulate our emotions and regain control over our minds and bodies.  Join us for an hour-long journey through three immersive experiences, inviting you to breathe, embody and visualise mindfulness.


TOMtech and MakeReal
4-7 Oct

One of the most popular events during Brighton Digital Festival, vrLAB brings together immersive experiences and experiments from the world of arts, gaming, documentary/film and … well, wherever we can find interesting things to share! Pick your slot time and explore the latest technological advancements from our digital mavericks.


For full listing information, to book tickets or find out more, visit the venue’s main site via www.theoldmarket.com/tomtech

TOMtech is funded by Arts Council England through National Lottery Project Grants and supported by Sheffield Doc/Fest, Make [Real], Virtual Umbrella, BBC and Pop Up Brighton. TOMtech is part of Brighton Digital Festival the UKs largest exploration of digital culture. Check out the programme here.


We’re a bit in love!

Ahead of Britney Spears headlining Brighton & Hove Pride – Official Page on 4 August, 201 Dance Company have created a dance video to her track “Gimme More” – featuring loads of classic Brighton landmarks. They’re here with their new show 201 Dance Company: Skin on Fri 7 Sep, and you’re not going to want to miss it!

Tickets for the show are available by clicking here, and you can watch the video in full by clicking here






Festivals ’18 – Team TOM’s picks…

With Festivals season lurking around the corner, we’re getting a wee bit giddy to say the least. So to celebrate, some members of the TOM Team have picked out what they are most excited about this season and why…

Helen (Programmer)
The Fabulous Backstrom Brothers is sure to be a giggle! Spymonkey’s outrageous and brilliantly disruptive influence on even the most highbrow art forms is a complete joy to behold. I can’t wait to see how director Toby Parks works with two Finnish opera singing brothers in this musical cabaret that is billed as Richard Wagner meets Johnny Cash in a Ring of Fire!!

Andy (Marketing Officer)
I can’t wait to see Hammerhead, the latest offering from Joseph Morpurgo. He is famed for his razor sharp wit and immense talent for improvisation – if you’ve ever seen his performances as part of the Jane Austen inspired improv group Austentatious then you’ll know how good he is. If you haven’t seen him, he’s unlike any other comic act on the circuit so well worth a watch. I can’t wait (but I’m going to have to…)

Tanya (Operations Manager)
Ooo, there’s a lot I want to see this season! All of the Finnish Season, Benjamin Zephaniah, Fleabag… but I’m probably most looking forward to The Lovers Circus. This is a new venture for us, a really exciting one! There’s going to be some fantastic music throughout the night (love The Turbans particularly) and a variety of entertainment including poetry, VR, workshops and more. Loads to keep you busy partying into the night!

Mark (Marketing Manager)
Just recently, I made my first visit to TOM’s Film Club and had a wonderful evening, so I’m eager to see the next offer – the Nick Cave Double Bill. The atmosphere at the club screenings is unlike any other cinema I’ve been to, so relaxed and welcoming, and I think I’m the only person in my family who hasn’t seen either of these films. Even so, the family are coming with me to see them again! I’m particularly looking forward to One More Time With Feeling, Andrew Dominik is a great director (Chopper anyone?)

Emily (Finance Assistant)
It’s got to be Fleabag. There is sooo much hype for this show, it’s won loads of awards, it’s selling out everywhere it goes (we’re on course for a similar outcome here!) and I loved the BBC3 series. Imagine Miranda, but a really, REALLY bleak version. I think everyone has those moments of social anxiety that they can relate to, and this show breaks it all down in a filthy, yet somehow charming way.

These are just some of our opinions. There’s a lot more on offer, including DollyWould by the wonderfully named Sh!t Theatre (pictured below), David Shrigley’s Problem in Brighton, a collaborative concert with Sarah Jane Morris and Antonio ForcioneThe Great Escape Festival and more, so we’re sure they’ll be something for everyone.

Have a look at our full lineup here, and we’ll see you very soon!

Team TOM x

Interview with Robin Hood composer and performer Callum McIntyre

This half-term, we welcome back New Mutiny Theatre Company with the world premiere of a new staging of Robin Hood. We spoke to Callum McIntyre – company founder, composer and actor who plays the title role of Robin – about why this new adaptation promises to be a such a swashbuckling experience.

Can you tell us a little bit about New Mutiny Theatre Company and how you formed?

The company first formed in 2013. We all met at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and in our second year one of our projects was to create an hour-long adaptation of Romeo and Juliet to perform to families and schools around the southwest. We had so much fun making the show that we decided to take it up to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe that year. It was so well-received that we thought we might be on to something, From that point our mission was simple: to reimagine classic stories for family audiences, and to present them in a challenging and engaging way. Thanks to the faith shown in us by The Old Market, we have been able to establish the company and keep making work that excites us!

This is New Mutiny’s second full length production, following your very well-received debut, Romeo & Juliet. Why did you decide to adapt Robin Hood?

After starting with Shakespeare for our first production, we really wanted to look at classic tales. One of the main reasons we chose Robin Hood was the characters. There are some fantastic and richly drawn characters that we think we know well, and yet also know very little. When we looked back at the old tales and legends of Robin Hood we found that we had so much scope to play with these characters.

Live original music is a key part of this production. Can you tell us more about it, and how you work with musicians and composers when creating a new show?

Music is such an important part of storytelling. We like to take inspiration from the music we ourselves enjoy, and to work it into every show we produce. As well as playing Robin, I am also the company’s resident composer, and I’ve been able to create the music for the show in the rehearsal room as the action is being shaped. However, like all of our work, everything we create is done as a group: the process of creating the music is always very open and fluid. It relies on all of the performers to collectively shape something that is really exciting!

What can audiences expect to take away from seeing this production?

Our version of Robin Hood is about lots of things: friendship, growing up, responsibility, family and justice to name a few – audiences can expect the show to explore all these ideas and more. But ultimately we believe theatre should be fun. Our shows grow out of a sense of play, and Robin Hood is no exception. Expect beautiful music, exciting action and lots of silliness.

This is your second time performing at The Old Market. What do you like about the venue, and performing in Brighton & Hove?

Much like Brighton & Hove, The Old Market is beautiful: the space is warm and versatile, the setting is gorgeous, and most importantly, the people are brilliant. The staff at TOM work tirelessly to ensure everyone who enters the venue – whether audience or performer – has the best possible experience. They are passionate about what they do, and it shows. So why do we keep coming back? That’s easy: because it feels like home.

If there’s one character in the show you identify with, who would it be and why?

Personally I think I identify most with Tuck: a bit grumpy and curmudgeonly, but ultimately an alright bloke. Also I’m a big fan of a good meat pie with gravy…

New Mutiny Theatre Company’s production of Robin Hood premieres at The Old Market from Fri 6 – Sat 17 February 2018. More info & tickets >