Alternative theatre



Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Brainstorm is an ensemble community play exploring how teenagers’ brains work, and why they’re designed by evolution to be the way they are. It was created by Ned Glasier and Emily Lim with Company Three (formerly Islington Community Theatre), in collaboration with neuroscientists Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore and Dr Kate Mills. The play was designed to be adapted and performed by a company of teenagers, drawing directly on their personal experiences.

A scratch version of Brainstorm was performed at Platform Islington in March 2013. The version of the show published by Nick Hern Books was first performed at Park Theatre, London, in January 2015, then at the National Theatre, London, in July 2015 and April 2016.

Originally formed as Islington Community Theatre in 2008, Company Three is a theatre company working with young people aged 11–19, all referred or nominated by teachers and youth workers.

The 2015 premiere of Brainstorm was directed by Ned Glasier and Emily Lim, and designed by Charlie Damigos. It was performed by Michael Adewale, Doyin Ajiboye, Sama Aunallah, Yaamin Chowdhury, Jack Hughes, Noah Landoni, Dylan Lubo, Gracia Kayindo, Romeo Mika, Kassius Nelson, Tyrel Phan, Serafina Willow and Segen Yosife.


Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The war is raging, Dea, a heroine, has committed a terrible act and has been exiled. When she meets someone from her past, she is forcefully confronted by the broken society that drove her to commit her crimes. Edward Bond takes from the Greek and Jacobean drama the fundamental classical problems of the family and war to vividly picture our collapsing society.

The Education of Skinny Spew

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

The Education of Skinny Spew is a savage play, a brief journey through the life of a boy who gains consciousness in the womb and is immediately disgusted with the world. Skinny Spew is insulted by his parent’s inane attempts to talk to him, rips up his teddy bear, and eventually attacks those he sees as attempting to civilise him, and repress his right to play as he wants to.

It is part of Brenton’s group of ‘Plays for the Poor Theatre’ – plays with minimal theatrical requirements and small casts, but fierce intensity.

The Education of Skinny Spew was first performed in 1969 by the University of Bradford Drama Group.

The Static

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

In his Writer's Note, Davey Anderson says: ' I saw him on a train. There he was wearing a giant pair of headphones playing nothing but white noise. 'Why would someone listen to static?' I thought, 'What other sounds is he trying to drown out?' The question troubled me. I became a bit obsessed. I started remembering the delusion I used to have as a teenager, the awful paranoia that my thoughts were somehow seeping out of my head. I took the same train every day for a week. I never saw him again, but I started to paint a picture of him in my mind. I even gave him a name. Sparky.'

Sparky is a bright but volatile 15-year-old boy on the brink of permanent exclusion from school. Then one day he falls under the spell of a seemingly psychic girl called Siouxsie and develops his own kinetic superpower. But will it save him or push him over the edge?

Set in a high school in a small town on the west coast of Scotland, The Static is a coming-of-age love story about what happens when our darkest dreams come true. Commissioned and produced by ThickSkin, it was first performed on 4 August 2012 at Underbelly, Edinburgh.

A term that gained currency in Britain in the late 1960s and 1970s as a loose movement of individuals, groups and venues grew around a set of theatrical ideas opposed to the mainstream, which by then included the subsidized theatre that had once been the alternative to the commercial theatre. Fringe was seen as marginal and defined in relation to the mainstream rather than countering it. Generally, the term is applied to any theatrical practice that offers values in opposition to those of the predominant drama. Usually politically as well as aesthetically inspired, it often embraced an ensemble ideal.

from Colin Chambers, The Continnum Companion to Twentieth Century Theatre, ed. Colin Chambers (London, 2002).