Plays by Joel Horwood

I Caught Crabs in Walberswick  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Joel Horwood's play I Caught Crabs in Walberswick is a drama about teenage hopes, dreams and frustrations in rural East Anglia. It was first performed as part of the HighTide Festival 2008 at The Cut, Halesworth, Suffolk on 2 May 2008, in a co-production with Eastern Angles.

The production transferred to the Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, on 1 August 2008, as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and then toured from 3 September to 11 October 2008. It transferred to The Bush Theatre, London, on 11 November 2008.

The play is set on a sweltering summer's day in Walberswick, a sleepy Suffolk village known for hosting the British Open Crabbing Championship. Fitz and Wheeler are two sixteen-year-old boys from nearby Reydon who ought to be revising for their last GCSE exams, but instead have gone crabbing. Wheeler is a high-flying comprehensive kid destined for university, while football-mad Fitz is struggling to cope with his dysfunctional father and his schoolwork. They are ambushed by Dani, the most desirable girl on the beach. So begins a crazy twenty-four hours that will change the lives of the three sixteen-year-olds forever.

The premiere production at HighTide was directed by Lucy Kerbel and designed by takis. It was performed by Joseph Arkley (as Fitz), David Hartley (as Wheeler), Matti Houghton (as Dani), Paul Trussell and Judith Scott.

Stoopud Fucken Animals  

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Joel Horwood's play Stoopud Fucken Animals is a black comedy with songs set in the 'Wild East of England', about dark family secrets, the threat of violence and the search for identity. It was first performed at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, on 1 August 2007 in a production by loose collective.

The play's action opens in Suffolk, the 'Wild East of England'. Charlie sells bull semen for a living, while Dim, his twin brother, is the oldest paperboy in the village. Meanwhile, Lefty is playing his Last Legs Tour of the pubs. When a dark family secret is unearthed, Charlie and Dim's lives collapse around them and an old fashioned showdown is on the horizon.

The premiere production was directed by Kate Budgen and designed by Becky Hurst, with music by Arthur Darvill. It was performed by Robert Goodale (as Lefty), Carl Prekopp (as Charlie), Joseph Arkley (as Dim), Wendy Nottingham and Nicola Harrison.

This Changes Everything

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Joel Horwood's play This Changes Everything is a play about an attempt to create an idealistic, all-female community. It was commissioned by Tonic Theatre in partnership with Nick Hern Books as part of Platform, an initiative comprising a series of big-cast plays with predominantly or all-female casts, written specifically for performance by school, college and youth-theatre groups, with the aim of addressing gender imbalance and inequality in theatre.

This Changes Everything was published on 11 June 2015, along with two other plays inaugurating the Platform series: The Light Burns Blue by Silva Semerciyan and Second Person Narrative by Jemma Kennedy.

The play's action mostly takes place on a platform out at sea, where a group of disillusioned young women have formed 'The Community': a new type of society attempting to lead a better way of life. Three girls, Alva, Kim and Klara, arrive at The Community having followed two of its members, Maja and Sam, back there. They are determined to convince the others to let them stay. It transpires that Maja and Sam made their shore-run (they occasionally visit the mainland to replenish their store of crisps) with a third girl Hanne, who has not returned. Maja steadily assumes leadership of The Community with Kim as her minder. Sam leaves and suspicions about what happened to Hanne begin to fester. Rows break out about the relative value of the different types of work that needs to be done. The Code by which they are all supposed to live is repeatedly edited by Maja. One of girls is put on trial for making a joke about The Leader. And then Hanne turns up.

In an introduction to the published text, Horwood poses a series of questions: 'What kind of a world would you like to live in? How could you start afresh? Is it ever possible to start afresh? What obstacles might you face? If it all collapses and fails is that the end? Or is failure part of a journey towards success? ... How could we change the world? Should we? Where do we start?'

Joel Horwood a playwright, director and dramaturg, and is a creative associate at the Lyric Hammersmith theatre in London. His work includes: Wolves Are Coming For You (Pentabus Theatre, 2017); This Changes Everything (Tonic Theatre Platform scheme, 2015); I Caught Crabs in Walberswick (Eastern Angels at the Pleasance/UK tour/Bush, 2008); Stoopud F*cken Animals (Traverse Theatre, 2007); and Food (The Imaginary Body, 2006; Fringe First Award).