Remembering the worst idea of all time: StageCon



Make it through the first nine circles of hell and you’ll find a bunch of average theatre people, in Shoreditch Town Hall, over a weekend taking selfies with millenials – for £160.

An idea, surely, no one in their right mind would pass off as entertainment or fan engagement.

The inaugural and ironically, probably last ever ‘Theatre Convention’ was just stupid and criminally naive. Looking back now, it’s obvious that in 2018 the industry is caught in the strange no man’s land between commercialism and exploitation.

StageCon, announced in August, was due to take place in November 3 and 4 at Shoreditch Town Hall in London. Sharon D ClarkeCarrie Hope FletcherMichael Xavier and Christina Bennington were among the stars set to appear, but today after backlash the organisers said some of the contributors had to pull out due to offers of professional work.

Translation: they got a better offer too.

The whole thing was not good. In fact it was the opposite of good. It was very, very bad.

Shed no tears, though, for StageCon or the rats jumping ship. Spread out over a long weekend, the point of StageCon was completely lost on me, but our interest was meant to be held by an ‘exciting programme of events.’

Where are we now? Well, this week Michael Xavier pulled out, for starters, the event was pulled from Shoreditch Town Hall’s website and today was officially ‘postponed’ until 2019.

Woah there, folks. Back up the truck.

True to form, It fooled absolutely no one, of course, least of all me. Of all the irritations that came with StageCon over the summer, it was the cost, partnership with the WhatsOnStage and smugness that got me the most.

Additionally, now United Theatrical will now be the sole organiser of the event. All ticket holders have been contacted and offered a refund or the option to transfer their ticket to next year’s StageCon, apparently.

A spokesperson today said: ‘The organisers are also keen to engage with those who have previously shared their feedback, in order that the community has the chance to contribute to an event created for the community, and that it has every opportunity to become a regular and celebrated fixture on the UK’s theatre calendar.’

That’s why the organisers kept defending, deflecting and denying any incentive to cash in. They got dumb and greedy, and quickly discovered, as was inevitable, that supply had outstripped demand.

This is not just my opinion, obviously. Almost everyone who has looked at the nuts and bolts of StageCon have concluded it’s not good enough.

Anyway, StageCon will be postponed until next year after feedback from fans. Don’t, however, rule out the possibility of a last-minute redemption.

I’m not exactly holding my breath here, though.

We live in nutty times.

Andy Smith and Fuel’s Summit at Shoreditch Town Hall



‘We need to use our imagination. We need to imagine that change might be possible. That change is possible, however hard or impossible it might seem’

Renowned theatre maker Andy Smith invites the audience to meet, listen and take action in his latest work SUMMIT, which will play at Shoreditch Town Hall as part of a UK tour.

In a blend of languages, including fully integrated BSL, three performers tell a story from three perspectives.  It is the story of an international meeting.  A meeting called to respond to a crisis. A meeting at which something happened and in that moment everything changed.

Exploring ideas of language, equality and how we communicate with each other, over three acts and in three different ways.  SUMMIT tells the story of a meeting organised to discuss and resolve a potentially catastrophic situation – our situation.

Andy Smith said “After opening at Brighton Festival in 2017, I’m thrilled that we have found an opportunity to tour SUMMIT. In both form and content, the play looks to explore ideas of diversity, inclusion and agency, and I am looking forward to presenting it in many places and for many audiences across England this autumn.”

Kate McGrath, director of Fuel said ‘This is a brand new work that could not be more timely. It’s about crisis, communication, and community and for me it’s also about finding courage. It’s a privilege to be working with Andy and the rest of the team to bring this unique event to audiences around the UK, as part of our ongoing commitment to sharing our work with the widest possible audience.’

The performers are Jamie Rae, Nadia Anim and Aleasha Chaunté.

Andy Smith is a leading UK theatre maker.  His  solo  projects  include  All  That is Solid  Melts  Into  Air  (2011)  and  Commonwealth  (2012).  Along  with  Karl  James,  Andy  is  also  the  co-director  of  the  award  winning  plays  An  Oak  Tree,  ENGLAND and The  Author  by  Tim  Crouch.  He has  also collaborated  with  Tim  Crouch  on  What  Happens  To The Hope  At The End  Of  The  Evening (2013),  a  commission  for  The  Almeida  Theatre,  as  well  as  the  world  premiere  of  Adler  &  Gibb  at  The  Royal  Court  in  2014.  His solo show The  Preston  Bill,  was  commissioned  by  Fuel  as  part  of  their  project  New  Theatre  in  Your Neighbourhood and has toured the UK since 2015.

Suitable for ages 14+ with running time of 60mins without interval.

Co-commissioned by South Street Reading in association with Reading University, Brighton Festival, Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, UCLan/Derelict and Lancaster Arts. Supported by Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Funded by Arts Council England and Peggy Ramsey Foundation. In association with Unity Theatre, Liverpool.


Tuesday 9 to Friday19 October

Shoreditch Town Hall

Tickets: 020 7739 6176




StageCon. No. Just, no.


I have been getting slowly obsessed with StageCon. Not because it’s any good – it is, of course, utterly dicey– but because of the shamelessness of it. Events featured will include live performances, sing-a-longs, discussions, cast reunions, panels, games, previews, workshops, meet and greets and showcases. 

As you may have noticed, StageCon was announced and Twitter lost its mind. I suppose an outrage is the new zeitgeist and can generally be more useful than total indifference, though the ultimate decision lies in the hands of the public.

You expect this reaction, obviously, during the summer: theatre’s silly season. 

A raft of musical theatre stars including Michael XavierLouise DearmanCameron Blakely and Stuart Matthew Price have been announced. So, you knew, long before you clicked to see who else will be in attendance that the elusive Carrie Hope Fletcher would be involved. 

I was surprised, though, to see Sharon D. Clarke in this questionable line-up; very obviously, the best theatre person not just from that selection. 

The really depressing thing is, though, that the ‘first ever UK theatre convention’ is presented in association with WhatsOnStage. Oh, and Day tickets for the event cost £85 and a Weekend ticket costs £160. In 2018 extra opportunities for theatre lovers to engage with their favourite musical star will continue to seduce theatre fans. 



Just how watered down is StageCon going to be? Well conceptually, even, StageCon is just a ripoff cousin of New York’s theatre convention: BroadwayCon

‘A portion of profits from StageCon will be donated to The Royal Theatrical Fund’. The organisers say: StageCon approached Royal Theatrical Fund as it is a charity that does a lot of great in supporting the Theatre community and so will support it with a portion of profits from ticket sales. This is an arrangement both parties are happy with.

That’s that then. 

It is a shame then that the pricing is as predictable as the sun rising in the morning. The ticket prices are not ideal, they are targeted for the privileged. The organisers have failed to realise there is only one simple rule to be observed when producing these kinds of events: Make it accessiblefools

Even if we ignore the fact that they have assumed that there are this many people who will part with this much cash, to attend a theatre convention in Shoreditch, something pretty staggering is going on here.

But it is important to remember that there’s room for everything, and such events are just moments of funWe are living in an age of boundaries being demolished: teenagers would rather have a selfie with a star than their autograph. It is no longer necessary to wait like a fruit-loop outside a stage door as Kelli O’Hara flees from another exit: you can book an appointment to meet her in the time it would take to arrange a visit to the dentist. It would quite possibly be the same price, and there’s every chance you would get a cupcake. 

More names and events will be announced in due course, incidentally, and there will be more Olivier-worthy action from StageCon and their forward-planning department next month, I’m sure. 

StageCon is at Shoreditch Town Hall in November 

 Education, Education, Education comes to Shoreditch Town Hall

Education Education Education
Education Education Education

Education Education Education

Award-winning theatre company The Wardrobe Ensemble has announced today that their smash-hit Edinburgh Festival production Education, Education, Education will come to Shoreditch Town Hall from 1721 April 2018. Recipient of The Scotsman Fringe First Award and The Stage Edinburgh Award the production played through August to both sold out audiences and widespread acclaim at the Pleasance Dome and is currently on a UK tour.

Following their exploration of sex, relationships and intimacy in 1972: The Future of Sex, The Wardrobe Ensemble dissects education and responsibility at the dawn of Blair’s Britain in 1997 in Education, Education, Education. Recent winners of The Kevin Spacey Foundation Artists of Choice for theatre, The Wardrobe Ensemble use irreverent humour and inventive theatricality to confront issues that are most pertinent to the twenty-first century experience.

It’s May 1997. Tony Blair has won the election and Katrina and the Waves have won Eurovision. Channel 5 is a month old. No one knows who Harry Potter is.

At the local secondary school it’s a different story. Miss Belltop-Doyle can’t control her year 9s, Mr Pashley has been put in charge of a confiscated tamagotchi and Miss Turner is hoping that this muck up day goes more smoothly than the last. Things can only get better.

Education, Education, Education follows bright but disruptive student Emily Greenslade through the day, as she takes justice into her own hands with far-reaching consequences.

Education, Education, Education is The Wardrobe Ensemble’s love letter to the schools of the 90s and asks big questions about a country in special measures, exploring what we are taught and why, and where responsibility lies.

The cast of Education, Education, Education will include: Greg Shewring (Paul McIntyre), Ben Vardy (Tim Pashley), Kerry Lovell (Louise Turner), Jesse Meadows (Susan Belltop-Doyle), Emily Greenslade (Emily Greenslade), James Newton (Tobias) and Tom England (Hugh Mills).Education, Education, Education has been devised by The Wardrobe Ensemble and directed by Jesse Jones and Helena Middleton.

Earlier this month The Wardrobe Ensemble also announced that it will now work in collaboration with international touring theatre company Complicité as part of their Complicité Associates programme. Work as part of this relationship will be presented in 2019.

Education, Education, Education is a co-production between The Wardrobe Ensemble, Royal & Derngate, Northampton, and Shoreditch Town Hall, supported by Kevin Spacey Foundation and Arts Council England. The production was rehearsed and developed at Royal & Derngate.


A Wardrobe Ensemble, Royal & Derngate and Shoreditch Town Hall co-production:

Education, Education, Education
17 – 21 April 2018, 7.30pm
Press Night: 18 April 2018
Box Office: 020 7739 6176 /

Directed by Jesse Jones and Helena Middleton
Written by The Wardrobe Ensemble
Design: Lucy Sierra
Lighting Design: Katharine Grant
Sound Design: Ben Grant
Dramaturg: Bea Roberts

Cast List:
Tom England- Hugh Mills
Emily Greenslade- Emily Greenslade
Kerry Lovell- Louise Turner
Jesse Meadows- Susan Belltop- Doyle
James Newton- Tobias
Greg Shewring- Paul McIntyre
Ben Vardy- Tim Pashley


Shoreditch Town Hall announces extra shows to 2017 season

Lisbeth Gruwez
Lisbeth Gruwez

Shoreditch Weekend Lisbeth Gruwez Photo Luc Depreitere

Shoreditch Town Hall today announced an additional programme of shows to its 2017 season.

In October Shoreditch Town Hall welcomes Dance Umbrella for the first time who take over the venue with a programme including Lisbeth Gruwez Dances Bob Dylan; award-wining dancer and choreographer Julie Cunningham; spoken word poet Vanessa Kisuule, and the London première of Charles Linehan and Lithuanian photographer Karolis Janulis’s film The Shadow DroneProject.

Added to the theatre programme is The Letter Room’s new show No Miracles Here, featuring live music and wall-to-wall dancing; and the London premiere of The Claim by Tim Cowbury, directed by Mark Maughan, a comically absurd, quietly shattering and imaginative response to the stories of those seeking refuge in the UK.  Following a successful run in 2016, there is also a return to the Town Hall for the Almeida Young Company with a preview of their interactive show From the Ground Up before it travels to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

There is further dance from Gillie Kleiman whose new show Recreation is about the things that we do that aren’t work, featuring professional dancers alongside non-professionals, including a guest performer from Shoreditch; and an early look at former Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner Will Adamsdale and Ed Gaughan’s new show The Lost Disc, directed by Tom Parry from acclaimed sketch group Pappy’s.

The music line-up includes one of the driving forces of the UK jazz scene, Kansas Smitty’s House Band and the North London Chorus who perform their Shoreditch Town Hall debut concert alongside the Swiss Contrapunto Chor, with a programme of Mendelssohn, Vaughan Williams and a new composition by Contrapunto Chor’s musical director Beat Dähler.

These events join the previously announced 2017 programme featuring Kneehigh’s production of Gunter Grass’s epic novel The Tin Drum, and Kazzum’s production for children and families, The Boy, the Bees and the Blizzard, written by Mike Akers.

SHOREDITCH TOWN HALL                                                                                                                                LISTINGS

Harry Clayton-Wright


Fri 2 June, 8pm

The Ditch



Royal Academy Opera


Thu 15 June – Sat 17 June, 7pm (2.30pm matinee on Sat 17 June)

Assembly Hall

£7 – £20


Royal Academy of Music in association with Shoreditch Town Hall


A series of site-specific events including new work for voice and ensemble, cabaret, sound installations and animation

Thu 15 – Sat 17 June, various times

The Ditch



Theatre Re


Mon 19 – Fri 23 June, 10am – 5pm each day

Large Committee Room




Mons: 19 June, 11 September, 2 October, 30 October, 1.30pm

Assembly Hall

£5 (advance); £6 (door)


Crouch End Walks


Sat 24 June, 11am

Shoreditch Town Hall



Communion presents


Fri 30 June, 7pm (doors); 8pm (start)

Assembly Hall




Saturdays: 1 July, 30 September & 11 November, 10am

Council Chamber




Sat 1 – Sun 2 July, 12.30pm – 10.30pm each day

The Ditch & Committee Rooms

From £19


Penned in the Margins


Commissioned by Ledbury Poetry Festival and Shoreditch Town Hall

Fri 7 July, 7.30pm & 9.00pm

Sat 8 July, 5pm, 7.30pm & 9pm

The Ditch

£12.50 (save £5 when Fri 7 July 7pm & 8.30pm, or Sat 8 July, 7.30pm & 9pm are booked together)


Simon Jones in collaboration with Upstart


Sun 30 July, 7.30pm

The Ditch



Almeida Young Company


Supported by Shoreditch Town Hall

Mon 7 – Thu 10 August, 7.30pm

The Ditch

£11 (full price); £5 (25 and under)


The Letter Room


Supported by Shoreditch Town Hall

Mon 25 – Thu 28 September, 7.30pm

Large Committee Room



Upstart & Shoreditch Town Hall


A festival of playful and inventive new performance

Fri 29 September, from 7pm

Sat 30 September, from 2pm

The Ditch

£8 (Fri); £11 (Sat)


Night of Stuff presents


By Will Adamsdale & Ed Gaughan

Commissioned by Shoreditch Town Hall

Wed 11 – Fri 13  October, 7.30pm

The Ditch



Gillie Kleiman


Commissioned by ARC Stockton, Shoreditch Town Hall & Yorkshire Dance

Tue 24 October, 7.30pm

Assembly Hall




Produced and presented by Dance Umbrella in partnership with Shoreditch Town Hall

Thu 26 – Sat 28 October, 7.30pm

Assembly Hall & Council Chamber

£25 (£20 each for groups of 4+)




Commissioned by Shoreditch Town Hall

Wed 8 – Sat 18 November, 10.30am; 1.30pm & 4.30pm

The Ditch

£12 (full price); £10 (children); £8 (schools)


London premiere of Tim Cowbury’s


directed by Mark Maughan

Supported by Shoreditch Town Hall

Tue 7 – Fri 17 November, 7.30pm

Large Committee Room



Fane Productions


Fri 17 November, 7pm (doors); 8pm (start)

Assembly Hall

£20 – £25



Sat 25 November, 6.30pm (doors); 7.30pm (start)

Assembly Hall

£10 – £25


Kneehigh with Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and West Yorkshire Playhouse


Tue 5 Dec – Sat 23 Dec, 7.30pm; Wed & Sat, 2.30pm (except 6 Dec)

Assembly Hall

Nick Giles announces final season as director of Shoreditch Town Hall

Nick Giles

Nick Giles

Nick Giles today announced his final season as Director of Shoreditch Town Hall which features brand new work from some of the UK’s most cutting-edge artists, returning productions from regular Shoreditch Town Hall collaborators and the continued expansion of both the venue’s music programme and its local community engagement.  Last week Giles announced he would be stepping down at the end of March 2017 after five and a half years leading the organisation.

Following the successful run of Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs) in December 2015, Kneehigh returns to Shoreditch Town Hall this Christmas with its new adaptation of Günter Grass’s novel The Tin Drum. Created by the same team as Dead Dog in a Suitcase (writer Carl Grose, composer Charles Hazlewood and director Mike Shepherd), the production runs from 5 – 23 December in the Assembly Hall. The season also sees brand new work from Idiot Child who come to Shoreditch Town Hall for the first time with What If the plane falls out of the sky?, Penned in the Margins withFair Field and a new production for children and young people, The Boy, the Bees and the Blizzard, presented by Kazzum.  The Town Hall also presents an exciting weekender with Dance Umbrella in October, of which further details shall be announced in May.

There are appearances from several companies that have featured regularly during Giles’ tenure – in May, the Council Chamber hosts runs of TOOT’s Focus Group* and Greg Wohead’s Comeback Special, and Nigel Barrett and Louise Mari with AK/DK return to The Ditch basement spaces with margate/dreamland.

Over the last five and half years of Giles’ leadership, Shoreditch Town Hall has become an important part of local Hackney life and in April, it ventures out into the community with One Tenth Human & China Plate’s interactive show for young people We’re Stuck!, following its sell-out run in March 2016. The show runs from 12 – 15 April in The Ditch before being transported by the Town Hall to The Edge, one of Young Hackney’s Youth Hubs, from 19 – 22 April. The Town Hall will also, alongside its regular programme of Town Hall Tea Dances and workshop activity, present new monthly tours of the building led by Crouch End Walks.

Alongside the theatre programme, the season also includes a wide breadth of musical acts including performances from the Royal Academy of Music and Kandace Springs, as well as the annual ARGComFest, a packed weekend of Edinburgh comedy previews, in July.


Nick Giles said today, “This season brings together an eclectic mix of adventurous artists, new performance, music and comedy. I am particularly happy to welcome back regular collaborators, such as Kneehigh and Greg Wohead, as well as new artists such as Idiot Child and Dance Umbrella – all creating surprising and transformational experiences. This has been my ambition from the start: bringing the building to life with work made for, inspired by, or at home in our unique spaces.”



Nick Giles to step down as director of Shoreditch Townhall

Nick Giles

Nick Giles

Today Nick Giles announced that he will step down as Director of Shoreditch Town Hall, leaving at the end of March after five and a half years leading the organisation.  He will take a break before pursuing new consulting and leadership opportunities in the arts and third sector.  He will also remain an Associate Director and Trustee of Shoreditch Town Hall.

Nick Giles said today, “Shoreditch Town Hall is a remarkable building and it has been both thrilling and a huge privilege to have been able to continue its restoration over the past five years as well as lead it into exciting, new territory as a vibrant arts space. It’s been especially rewarding to welcome thousands of audiences to the building to experience the artistic and participation programmes we’ve built here since I joined, especially those from our local community who previously had no reason come through our doors. This has always been a very personal project, to realise the building’s full potential – artistic, creative and financial – but as is always the case with challenging projects, it has been a team effort.  I have been fortunate to be surrounded by a talented, hugely dedicated group of co-workers and collaborators, as well as supporters, artists, clients, stakeholders and our community who have not just enthusiastically embraced the Town Hall during my years here, but have been fundamental to getting us to where we are.  I know I am leaving the building in safe hands and with people who will continue to keep exploring and striving, as I hope I have done, to find new and exciting ways for the building to come alive.  And above all, during its 150thanniversary year, to ensure that it is still here to be enjoyed and reinvented by future generations, as a continuing, vital part of London’s cultural landscape and of Shoreditch and Hackney life.”

Stephen Robertson, Chair of The Trustees, said “Nick’s tenure at STH has been literally transformative. His vision, passion and total dedication has moved this historic venue well and truly into the 21st century whilst enhancing the links with its historic past and the surrounding community. The breadth, diversity and quality of the artistic programme has allowed the venue to carve a distinctive place for itself in London; capacity is at record levels and average turnover has almost trebled in just 5 years. Nick, and the team under his watch, have delivered more than any of us might have imagined in our wildest dreams. We know that Nick is excited about the next chapters in his career and are delighted that he will remain an Associate Director and active Trustee going forward.”

Over the past five years Shoreditch Town Hall has been transformed into a key off-West End arts space and flagship live events venue for Hackney. Raising and investing £2.8m funding into capital works and the artistic programme, Giles has enabled the building to operate fully as a theatre and live events venue for the first time since the late 1960s. This has included bringing the Assembly Hall back to its full 800 audience capacity – one of the last large-scale Victorian music hall auditoria remaining in the East End – as well as establishing the warren of basement spaces as a home for immersive, site specific performance.

As a result, since the arts programme was established at Shoreditch Town Hall the venue has welcomed 96,000 audiences and participants through its doors – a significant proportion of which have come from the local area and the vast majority first time visitors. It has included 190 productions, 18 new commissions and supported work, and 40 premières. Turnover has increased from an average of £340,000 five years ago to £1.1m today, and building occupancy, once just 15-20%, is now 80% of available capacity.

As the venue has never received revenue funding from either Arts Council, England or London Borough of Hackney, Giles has established a predominantly self-funding model underpinned by an expanded commercial events business, including bringing in the now Michelin starred Clove Club as a tenant.  This model allows the venue to support 85-90% of its core running costs and has funded, along with investment raised for projects, the development of the arts and community programmes.

A core aspect of the venue’s artistic work throughout Nick’s time at the venue has been supporting and investing in artists – theatre and performance makers in particular – to develop and present original, imaginative new work in the building’s numerous non-traditional theatre spaces. This has ranged from full commissions and financial investment, to mentoring, free or subsided rehearsal space and production / R&D time. Since 2013 this has placed artists at the centre of the venue’s creative work, with 80-100 artists and companies supported every year, ensuring up to 80% of the presented programme is made up of work Shoreditch Town Hall has either invested in or supported.

 Jamie Lloyd, whose current Philip Ridley double-bill is running in the basement of Shoreditch Town Hall, said of Giles, “Nick has achieved something truly remarkable at Shoreditch Town Hall. Starting from scratch, he has turned the building into a dynamic crucible of creativity. Never have I felt so free and so nurtured when creating work. Nick and his staff are energised and dedicated; they allow your imagination to flourish and give you the confidence to explore new territory. He has created an environment in which you can truly thrive and push the limits of your practice as an artist.”

Recent artistic commissions under Giles’s leadership have included The Wardrobe Ensemble’s 1972: THE FUTURE OF SEX, SLEEPLESS from Analogue, and Ross Sutherland’s PARTY TRAP.  Immersive or site sensitive new projects include the current double-bill of Philip Ridley’s THE PITCHFORK DISNEY and KILLER, directed by Jamie Lloyd, and recent productions of dreamthinkspeak’s ABSENT, Nigel Barrett & Louise Mari’s PARTY SKILLS FOR THE END OF THE WORLD and One Tenth Human & China Plate’s WE’RE STUCK! In the past two years the programme has included new work from Kneehigh, Andrew Schneider, Spymonkey, RSC, Greg Wohead, Toot, Verity Standen, Upstart Theatre, Jonny Woo, On The Run, Ira Brand, Gillie Kleiman, Gary McNair, Vincent Dance Theatre and Curious Directive.

Giles notified the board of his intention to step down in the latter part of 2016, and a further statement regarding his successor will be made in the coming weeks.

Listings Information                                                                                                       Shoreditch Town Hall

Venue:                 Shoreditch Town Hall

Address:              380 Old Street, London EC1V 9LT

Box Office:          020 7739 6176


Shoreditch Town announces additional programme of events to complement Philip Ridley Double-Bill

The Pitchfork Disney

The Pitchfork Disney

Shoreditch Town Hall today announces a series of additional events, talks and readings running alongside its double-bill of Philip Ridley plays in its basement spaces.

These include rehearsed readings of Ridley’s The Fastest Clock in the Universe and Ghost from a Perfect Place which, along with The Pitchfork Disney, complete his East End Gothic Trilogy, an adaptation of Ridley’s book for children Krindlekrax and post-show Q&As with the casts of The Pitchfork Disney and Killer.  For full details on the events please see below.

The Ridley double-bill, directed by Jamie Lloyd, features a new critically acclaimed production of his contemporary classic The Pitchfork Disney, starring George BlagdenTom Rhys HarriesSeun Shote and Hayley Squires, which is running until 18 March; and the world première of Killer, a collection of monologues, which opens on 27 February.  The two productions play in rep from 28 February until 18 March with Killer then continuing to run until 8 April.

Full programme of activity

Until Saturday 8 April, before and after performances of The Pitchfork Disney and Killer

Rebels and Rubble: An exhibition of photographs by Philip Ridley


 Thursday 16 February, 7.30pm

BSL interpreted performance of The Pitchfork Disney

Standard ticket prices (free ticket for a carer or companion)

Saturday 4 March, 10am

Rehearsed Reading of Krindlekrax followed by a Q+A and book signing with Philip Ridley


(On Friday 3 March there will be dedicated schools performances of Krindlekrax at 9.30am and 1.30pm. Please contact Shoreditch Town Hall directly for further information and availability)

Friday 10 March, following 7.30pm performance of The Pitchfork Disney and Friday 24 March, following 6.30pm performance of Killer

Lovesongs for Extinct Creatures: Poetry with Philip Ridley

Free for those attending that evening’s performance of The Pitchfork Disney

Philip Ridley’s performances of his own poetry have become something of a cult hit over the past few years.  At Shoreditch Town Hall, for two evenings only, he will read his sequence of poems that chart the journey of a love affair; from wanting love through to the grief of losing that love.

Saturday 11 March, 11.30am

Touch Tour of The Pitchfork Disney

Free for those who have also booked a ticket for the audio described performance

 Saturday 11 March, 1pm

Audio Described performance of The Pitchfork Disney

Standard ticket prices

Wednesday 15 March, following 7.30pm performance of The Pitchfork Disney

Q+A with George Blagden, Tom Rhys Harries, Hayley Squires and Seun Shote

Chaired by Jamie Lloyd

Free for those attending that evening’s performance of The Pitchfork Disney

Thursday 16 March, 7.30pm

Rehearsed Reading of The Fastest Clock in the Universe, directed by Rupert Hands, followed by a post-show Q+A with Philip Ridley and company. Chaired by Terri Paddock

We’re all as bad as each other. All hungry little cannibals at our own cannibal party. So fuck the milk of human kindness and welcome to the abattoir!

In a strange room in East London, a party is underway. Cougar Glass is celebrating his ‘birthday’. He is nineteen years old…again. And to celebrate your ‘last year as a teenager’ as you are slipping into your thirties requires a lot of preparation: the cake has to be perfect, the cards have to be perfect, but the most perfect thing of all has to be the guest of honour. For it’s the guest of honour – Foxtrot Darling – who will bring the most precious gift of all. The gift Cougar would kill for…Youth!

Philip Ridley’s second play was his breakthrough work. It caused a sensation when it premièred at Hampstead Theatre in 1992, winning Ridley the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Most Promising Newcomer, the Meyer Whitworth Prize, the Critics’ Circle Most Promising Playwright Award and a Time Out Award.  Its exploration of ‘metrosexuality’ and the ‘culture of youth’ was years ahead of its time, and it is now regarded as a contemporary classic.


Thursday 23 March, 7.30pm

Rehearsed Reading of Ghost from a Perfect Place, directed by Rupert Hands, followed by a post-show Q+A with Philip Ridley and company. Chaired by Aleks Sierz

 I’m not threatened by you. Or your gang. I was threatening people before any of you were born…I’m Travis Flood!

When one-time gangster Travis Flood returns to his old East London stomping ground after a twenty-five years he finds much has changed.’ A girl gang, clad in gold skirts and blond wigs – with a penchant for pyromania and revenge against men – have spread fear where once Travis held sway. But Travis is instantly captivated by the hauntingly beautiful gang leader, Rio Sparks. And soon a shocking story begins to emerge. A story that shatters both their distorted memories.

Ridley’s third stage play was a cause célèbre when it premièred at the Hampstead Theatre in 1994. With its on stage violence and depiction of a ‘girl gang’ it provoked The Guardianto label it ‘pornographic’.  But it went on to be nominated for the Evening Standard Best Play Award and with its exploration of a ‘post truth’ world and the dangers of nostalgia –  has, like most of Ridley’s plays, proved itself uncannily prophetic.


Saturday 25 March, 1.30pm

Touch Tour of Killer

Free for those who have also booked a ticket for the 3pm performance

Thursday 30 March, following 7.30pm performance of Killer

Q+A with John MacMillan and Philip Ridley. Chaired by Jamie Lloyd

Free for those attending that evening’s performance of Killer


Shoreditch Town Hall announces immersive Philip Ridley double-bill directed by Jamie Lloyd



Today Shoreditch Town Hall announces an immersive double-bill of Philip Ridley plays, including the world première of Killer and a new production of Ridley’s contemporary classic The Pitchfork Disney, his first stage play which premièred in 1991. The productions will both be directed by Jamie Lloyd and run in ‘The Ditch’ basement spaces of Shoreditch Town Hall in spring 2017.

The Pitchfork Disney, starring George Blagden (TV credits include the leading role of King Louis XIV in Canal+ / BBC2’s Versailles and Athelstan in the History Channel’s hit Vikings), Tom Rhys Harries (theatre credits include Hotel at the National Theatre and MOJO at the Harold Pinter), Hayley Squires (recently seen as Katie in Ken Loach’s Palme D’Or winning film I, Daniel Blake) and Seun Shote (Salome, directed by Jamie Lloyd for Headlong and Play Mas at Orange Tree Theatre), opens on 2 FebruaryKiller, a series of monologues starring John MacMillan (recently seen in Yerma at the Young Vic, Jamie Lloyd’s production of The Homecoming at Trafalgar Studios and the BBC’s Silk) opens on 27 February, with the two productions playing in rep from 28 February.

Jamie Lloyd said today, “Philip Ridley is a maverick iconoclast of British culture, whose work includes plays, screenplays, novels, music, performance art, painting, photography and more. His innovative output has been a major influence on my own practice, and I am fascinated to explore the depth of his work via his first play alongside, and in the context of, his most recent theatre piece. The Ditch at Shoreditch Town Hall is one of the most atmospheric spaces in the country – the perfect environment in which to delve deep into Ridley’s imagination with these two projects, together with a raft of special events to be announced at a later date.”


 Shoreditch Town Hall presents

The Pitchfork Disney

By Philip Ridley 

Directed by Jamie Lloyd; Designed by Soutra Gilmour; Lighting by Richard Howell

Sound by Ben Max Ringham and George Dennis; Composition by Ben & Max Ringham

Casting by Charlotte Sutton

 Cast: George BlagdenTom Rhys HarriesSeun Shote and Hayley Squires

 27 January – 18 March

Press night: Thursday 2 February at 7pm

You know why the ghost train is so popular? Because there are no ghosts. Once you’ve learnt that you can make a fortune.

Presley and Haley have bolted their East London home against the terrors of the world. Since their parents died ten years ago, they have found comfort in chocolate, medication and fantasies of nuclear apocalypse. But, one night, Presley sees a beautiful stranger on the street outside. And while Haley sleeps, he lets their worst nightmare in.

Claustrophobic, comic and deeply unsettling, Philip Ridley’s seminal masterpiece played a revolutionary role in changing the face of British theatre when it premiered in 1991 to critical acclaim and controversy. Its exploration of ‘a climate of fear’, living in ‘alternate worlds’ and persistent thrum of sexual anxiety has continued to act as a tuning fork for the zeitgeist – a play whose relevance is forever in the now.

Step into Shoreditch Town Hall’s atmospheric basement spaces and experience this unique, immersive revival of Ridley’s debut play deep in the eerie underbelly of East London.


Shoreditch Town Hall presents

The world première of


By Philip Ridley 

Directed by Jamie Lloyd; Designed by Soutra Gilmour

Sound by Ben Max Ringham and George Dennis; Composition by Ben & Max Ringham

Casting by Charlotte Sutton

 Cast: John MacMillan

 22 February – 8 April

Press night: Thursday 27 February at 7pm

A killer! That’s what I am. And if I’m not very much mistaken…You could be too!

A loner finds an albino ostrich that can perform miracles. A teenager stumbles on a mysterious doorway leading to a Jurassic world. A one-legged surfer grows a new limb. Killer is a magical and, at times, menacing anthology of stories told in the recesses of the dark…

Employing binaural sound, director Jamie Lloyd takes you on an intimate journey within the bowels of Shoreditch Town Hall and the depths of your psyche. In this world première production, Philip Ridley’s darkly comic collection of new monologues shiver with the anxiety of our age.

Philip Ridley’s stage plays include The Fastest Clock in the UniverseGhost from a Perfect PlaceVincent River, Mercury FurLeaves of Glass, Piranha Heights, Tender NapalmShiveredDark Vanilla Jungle (winner of an Edinburgh Festival Fringe First Award), Radiant VerminTonight With Donny Stixx and Karagula plus several plays for young people: Karamazoo, Fairytaleheart, Moonfleece (named as one of the 50 Best Works About Cultural Diversity by the National Centre for Children’s Books), Sparkleshark and Brokenville (collectively known as The Storyteller Sequence), and a play for the whole family, Feathers in the Snow. In 2001 he was one of the writers chosen to contribute to the National Theatre’s Chain Play (celebrating the venue’s 25th anniversary).  He wrote the screenplay for The Krays feature film (winner of Evening Standard Best Film of the Year Award) and has also directed three feature films from his own screenplays: The Reflecting Skin – winner of eleven international awards (including the prestigious George Sadoul Prize) – The Passion of Darkly Noon (winner of the Best Director Prize at the Porto Film Festival) and Heartless (winner of The Silver Meliers Award for Best Fantasy Film).  He studied painting at St Martin’s School of Art and his work has been exhibited widely throughout Europe and Japan.  He has written several books for children and adults. In 2012 What’s On Stage named him a Jubilee Playwright (one of the most influential British writers to have emerged in the past six decades). Ridley has won both the Evening Standard’s Most Promising Newcomer to British Film and Most Promising Playwright Awards, the only person ever to receive both prizes.

George Blagden plays Presley Stray. His stage credits include the upcoming production of Platinum at Hampstead Theatre Downstairs. His TV credits include the leading role of King Louis XIV in Canal+ / BBC2’s Versailles and Athelstan in the History Channel’s hit Vikings. His film credits include No Postage Necessary, The Three of US, Wrath Of The Titans, Les Misérables, After Dark and Blood Moon.

 Tom Rhys Harries plays Cosmo Disney. His theatre credits include Hotel (National Theatre) MOJO (the Harold Pinter) Creditors (the Young Vic) Four(the Old Vic) Dedication (the Nuffield) Torch Song Trilogy (Menier Chocolate Factory) and The History Boys (Sheffield Crucible). His television work includes Jekyll & HydeHinterlandParades EndD Day: Last Letters Home and Under Milk Wood; and on film The Inbetweeners: the Long GoodbyeCrowHunky DoryHot Property and Panic.

John MacMillan’s theatre credits include YermaThe Member of the WeddingIn the Red and Brown Water (Young Vic), The Homecoming (Trafalgar Studios), Children’s ChildrenThe Last Days of Judas Iscariot (Almeida Theatre), Piranha Heights (Soho Theatre), Cymbeline (Cheek by Jowl international tour), Macbeth (Royal Exchange Manchester – Nominated for the Ian Charleson Award) and Hamlet (Donmar/Broadway – Nominated for the Ian Charleson Award). His television credits include Ordinary LiesThe WindsorsChewing Gum, New TricksSilkMiranda UnwrappedSherlock Holmes: The Blind Banker and Hustle. His film credits include FuryMaleficentWorld War Z and The Dark Knight Rises.

Seun Shote plays Pitchfork Cavalier. His theatre credits include Salome (Headlong), Play Mas (Orange Tree Theatre), Egusi Soup (Menagerie Theatre), Routes (Royal Court Theatre) and One Man Two Guvnors (National Theatre and international tour). His television credits include Birds of a FeatherOne ChildSkins and Little Britain.

Hayley Squires plays Haley Stray.  Her theatre credits include As Good a Time as Any (The Print Room). Her television credits include Murder (episode 1), SouthcliffeComplicitand Call the Midwife.  She was recently seen as Katie in Ken Loach’s Palme D’Or-winning film I, Daniel Blake. Her other film credits include Giantland, AwayPolar Bear and A Royal Night Out.

Jamie Lloyd is the Artistic Director of The Jamie Lloyd Company. His recent work, presented by The Jamie Lloyd Company, includes Doctor Faustus (Duke of York’s) and The MaidsThe HomecomingThe Ruling ClassRichard IIIThe PrideThe Hothouse and the Olivier Award-nominated Macbeth (all at Trafalgar Studios). His other recent work includes Assassins (Menier Chocolate Factory; Evening Standard Award nomination for Best Director),Urinetown (St James & Apollo), The Commitments (Palace Theatre), Cyrano de Bergerac (Roundabout Theatre Company; American Airlines Theatre, Broadway), The Duchess of Malfi (Old Vic), She Stoops to Conquer (National Theatre), The Faith Machine and the Olivier Award-winning The Pride(Royal Court), Inadmissible EvidenceThe 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, the Evening Standard Award-winning Passion and Polar Bears(Donmar Warehouse), Piaf (Donmar Warehouse, Vaudeville Theatre, Teatro Liceo in Buenos Aires & Nuevo Teatro Alcala in Madrid; Olivier Award nomination for Best Musical Revival, Hugo Award for Best Director, Clarin Award for Best Musical Production, ADEET Award for Best Production), The Little Dog Laughed (Garrick Theatre), Three Days of Rain (Apollo Theatre), The Lover and The Collection (Comedy Theatre), Elegies: A Song Cycle(Arts Theatre), The School for Scandal (Theatre Royal, Bath), Salome (Headlong), Eric’s (Liverpool Everyman), and The Caretaker (Sheffield Crucible & Tricycle). For radio, he directed and co-adapted Orson Welles’ Heart of Darkness (BBC Radio 4). He has also directed work as a part of the Old Vic’s 24 Hour Plays and Musicals and at the Royal Court International Residencies, and was on the panel for the 2015 Kevin Spacey Foundation Theatre Awards. He was Associate Director of the Donmar Warehouse from 2008 to 2011 and a former Associate Artist of Headlong. Jamie is frequently featured in the top 20 of The Stage 100 list and the Evening Standard’s Progress 1000 list, and was a Macgeorge Fellow with the University of Melbourne in 2016.

The artistic programme at Shoreditch Town Hall is made possible by the generous support of Old Possums Practical Trust, The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation & Arts Council England.

Listings Information                                                                                       The Pitchfork Disney & Killer

Venue:                 Shoreditch Town Hall

Address:              380 Old Street, London EC1V 9LT

Box Office:          020 7739 6176





27 January – 18 March

Times: Various (1pm / 2.30pm / 3.30pm / 6.30pm / 7.30pm / 8pm / 8.30pm)


Previews: £18

Mon – Thu performances: £25

Fri – Sat performances: £28

Under 25 tickets for Mon – Thu performances (not including previews or press night; limited availability per show): £12

All tickets subject to additional booking fees.




22 February – 8 April

Times: Various (3pm / 6pm / 6.30pm / 7.30pm / 8.30pm)


Previews: £15

Mon – Thu performances: £22

Fri – Sat performances: £25

All tickets subject to additional booking fees.

Ticket Deal: Purchase tickets to see both productions on any one Saturday during the run and get £5 off (Total price reduced to £48 from £53; available on Sat 4 MarchSat 11 March and Sat 18 March; not available for previews; limited availability per show)


Shoreditch Town Hall announces first Town Hall takeover

Shoreditch Town Hall today announces the first ever Town Hall Takeover, taking place on Saturday 29 October, featuring a packed programme of free theatre, dance, music and art activities happening throughout the building, aimed at families and young people up to the age of 14.  The line-up includes a number of events from local East London organisations such as Hackney Shed, Hackney Playbus and LandSky and there will be workshops and activities led by independent Hackney artists.

Town Hall Takeover

Town Hall Takeover, Shoreditch Town Hall

Deputy Director of Shoreditch Town Hall James Pidgeon said today, “Whether you’re after hula hooping, storytelling, a disco for 0-6 year olds or just some dancing to live up-tempo Balkan and Turkish music, Town Hall Takeover has something for everyone as we throw open the doors of Shoreditch Town Hall for the first event of its kind in the building. As a flagship venue for Hackney and our local community it’s incredibly important for the Town Hall to produce such events as part our programme, welcoming people to the building from across the borough, as well as from further afield. It’s also particularly brilliant to have so many local organisations and Hackney-based artists involved in the delivery of activities on the day, helping to ensure that this is a real event for our local family audiences and one which we hope will become a regular fixture in the Shoreditch Town Hall calendar.”

The confirmed activities include:

  • Hackney Shed will be offering up a taste of the building’s past in their workshop which celebrates Shoreditch Town Hall’s rich heritage. From the ground-breaking days of early medicine in the basement, to the wild trance nights of Whirlygig.
  • Trans-Siberian March Band: this group of Balkan brass party-starters will play riotous Balkan, Gypsy and Turkish tunes, up-tempo Russian Songs and even upper-tempo Klezmer.
  • Baby Loves Disco UK: a daytime dance party for parents and carers with babies, toddlers and young children (0-6 years) with real club DJs spinning and mixing retro floor-fillers. to Baby Loves Disco UK involves a £4 fee)
  • LandSky with the help of some wonderful storytellers, will be creating poems in response to the Town Hall’s magnificent and sometimes mysterious architecture.
  • Upstart Theatrelooking at how playing games is a serious business! (Upstart’s production Phone Home also runs in the Council Chamber from 21 – 30 October

The day is free to attend (although there is an entry fee of £4 for Baby Loves Disco).  All under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Shoreditch Town Hall gratefully acknowledges financial support for the Takeover from UCL through the Volunteering Services Unit’s One-off Grant Scheme funded by the Lloyds Scholars programme.

About Shoreditch Town Hall:
Shoreditch Town Hall
380 Old Street, London EC1V 9LT
020 7739 6176 
A vibrant destination space in East London, sitting at the heart of one of the most exciting areas of London, Shoreditch Town Hall was for over 100 years one of the grandest Vestry Halls in the city. Having ceased to be a home for local government during the 1960s it was restored and reopened as an independent venue in 2005. Now the Town Hall is a home to original and adventurous arts and artists as well as a distinctive contemporary performance and events programme. Recent renovations have brought the magnificent Victorian grandeur of the Assembly Hall and Council Chamber and the warren of untouched, atmospheric basement spaces to the forefront of the 21st century, including an increase in seated audience capacity and state of the art hydraulic technical rig in the Assembly Hall, and the installation of an internal passenger lift for the first time in the building’s history.