Plays by Tom Wells

About A Goth

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

A short monologue play about a young man who volunteers in old people’s homes and suffers paroxysms of love and hate for its residents.

Nick is seventeen, a Goth and gay. In between volunteering at his local old people’s home where he conversely gets chatted up and abused by its residents and having to attend re-enactments of Medieval battles with his slightly barmy parents, he finds the time to hang out with best mate, Greg. But a sudden death at the home forces him to confront his fears of coming out as well as perhaps giving his pessimistic mindset a rethink. Wells is well known for his touching comic monologues that are ideal showcases for young actors.

About A Goth was first performed at Òran Mór in Glasgow in 2009.

Broken Biscuits

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Tom Wells's play Broken Biscuits is a coming-of-age story about three teenagers who decide to solve their personal problems by forming a band. It was first performed at Live Theatre, Newcastle upon Tyne, on 5 October 2016, at the start of a UK tour, in a co-production by Paines Plough and Live Theatre.

The play takes place in Megan's shed. Megan and her friends Holly and Ben are sixteen-year-old school leavers who by their own admission are 'total losers'. Determined to reinvent themselves for the start of the college term, Megan co-opts Holly and Ben into forming a band, armed with a drum kit and a tin of broken biscuits.

The premiere production was directed by James Grieve and designed by Lily Arnold, with songs by Matthew Robins. It was performed by Faye Christall as Megan, Grace Hogg-Robinson as Holly and Andrew Reed as Ben.


Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Tom Wells' play Folk is a comedy about three unconventional people finding themselves through music. It was first performed at The STUDIO at Birmingham Repertory Theatre on 14 April 2016 at the start of a tour by Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Hull Truck Theatre and Watford Palace Theatre.

The play is set in the front room of 'an old Victorian terraced house on Bannister Street, Withernsea', belonging to Sister Winnie, an Irish nun in her fifties. Winnie is no ordinary nun: she swears, she smokes, she drinks Guinness, and she loves a sing-song with Stephen (also in his fifties), who plays a battered guitar and some home-made tin whistles. But everything is about to change as Kayleigh, a reticent fifteen-year-old, extremely unsure of herself, throws a brick through Winnie's window without knowing what she was thinking, and is invited in by Winnie.

The premiere touring production was directed by Tessa Walker and designed by Bob Bailey, with Patrick Bridgman as Stephen, Chloe Harris as Kayleigh and Connie Walker as Winnie.

Jumpers for Goalposts

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

A comedy drama about a five-a-side football team in Hull who are down on their luck.

Barely Athletic are part of a four-team five-a-side football league which Viv, their bullish head coach, is desperate to win. Or if they can’t win, at least they should try not to lose. Chucked out of the Lesbian Rovers for being too bossy, she desperately tries to instil some competitive spirit into the boys. Problem is, Beardy Geoff is copping off with the opposition, Danny is nursing a painful secret, Luke only joined because he fancies Danny and Viv’s brother-in-law Joe is trying to cope with his grief after losing his wife. Together, they might just be able to claw back up from the bottom of league. Wells’ drama bears the hallmarks of his warm comedic style, which were displayed in his previous hit play The Kitchen Sink, and is a paean to the virtues of friendship and love.

Jumpers for Goalposts was produced by renowned new-writing theatre company Paines Plough and was first performed at Watford Palace Theatre in 2013 on the first stop of a regional tour.

The Kitchen Sink

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Tom Wells’ second full-length play to be professionally produced is about a family in crisis. The Kitchen Sink was a commercial and critical success on its premiere, praised for its inventive turn of phrase, which the Guardian likened to Alan Bennett in its five star review, and its accurate portrayal of family life.

Things aren’t going to plan for one family in Withernsea, Yorkshire. Pieces are falling off Martin’s milk float as quickly as he’s losing customers and something’s up with Kath’s kitchen sink. Billy is pinning his hopes of a place at art college in London on a revealing portrait of Dolly Parton, whilst his sister Sophie’s dreams of becoming a ju-jitsu teacher might be disappearing down the plughole. Amid the dreaming, the dramas and the dirty dishes, something has to give.

Wells’ comic touch, glimpsed in his earlier monologue pieces and short play, Me, As A Penguin, is given full rein here. The play depicts how small changes in our lives can nonetheless have a big impact in a similar manner to the ‘kitchen sink dramas’ of the 1950s, which were labelled as revolutionary by the theatrical establishment at the time.

The Kitchen Sink premiered at the Bush Theatre in London in 2011 and won Wells the Most Promising Playwright at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards and the George Devine Award.

Me, As A Penguin

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

Tom Wells’ professional debut play is an offbeat comedy about coming out, knitting, penguins and Battenberg cake.

Stitch is hitting the gay scene in Hull. Or at least dipping his toe in the water whilst staying with his heavily pregnant sister, Liz, and her shabby sofa-loving partner, Mark. Little do they know however that Stitch is harbouring a baby penguin in their bathroom having nicked it from a local aquarium and carried it home in his Transformers lunchbox. Meanwhile, his burgeoning relationship with Dave is not quite all he hoped it would be and his sister is about to go in to labour complicating his life even further. Wells’ first play showcased his gift for warm-hearted and truthful comedy with a distinctive Northern bent.

Me, As A Penguin premiered at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds in 2009 as part of their new-writing season, Northern Exposure. It subsequently went on a regional tour including a run at the Arcola Theatre in London in 2010.

Notes for First Time Astronauts

Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

A comic monologue from Tom Wells warning of the perils of self-abuse in zero gravity conditions.

Our unnamed male narrator is about to take off into space as the cameraman on board a rocket to the moon. However, there is someone special he’s left back at home, in Huddersfield, thousands of miles below and it is to him that this monologue is addressed. He runs through the dangers of masturbating and sleeping in space as well as reliving his schooldays and the tender moment when a tentative romance was sparked between them.

Notes for First Time Astronauts was first performed by the author himself at Soho Theatre in London in 2009 as part of Paines Plough’s LATER programme.


Nick Hern Books
Type: Text

A short monologue in which a teenage girl roams the streets of Withernsea in search of aliens.

Nora may seem your stereotypical fourteen-year-old girl: playing truancy and nicking vodka to neck behind the wheelie bins, but looks can be deceiving. Today is a special day for Nora and her homemade alien radar kit. She’s sure all the signs are pointing to a possible contact, tonight, and she wants to make sure she doesn’t miss it. Though Wells’ monologue has many comedic highlights, it is also tinged with melancholy too as the audience slowly realises who Nora is really trying to reach.

Spacewang was first performed at Hull Truck Theatre in 2011.

Picture of Tom Wells

© Casarotto Ramsay & Associates Ltd

Tom Wells is from Kilnsea in East Yorkshire.

His plays include Notes for First Time Astronauts (Paines Plough Later at Soho Theatre, 2009); About a Goth (Paines Plough/Òran Mór, 2009); Me, As A Penguin (West Yorkshire Playhouse, 2009 and Arcola/UK Tour, 2010); Spacewang (Hull Truck Theatre, 2011); The Kitchen Sink (Bush Theatre, 2011 and winner of the Critics’ Circle Most Promising Playwright and George Devine Awards); Jonesy (Nabokov, 2012) and Jumpers for Goalposts (Paines Plough UK Tour, 2013). Tom’s work for television includes Ben & Lump for Channel 4’s Coming Up season in 2012.

In 2009 Tom was a member of the Paines Plough/Channel 4 Future Perfect scheme and in 2012 he was Associate Playwright at Hull Truck Theatre.