‘Staying Alive’ by Kat Roberts, 15th Jan 2015, at the Pleasance Theatre StageSpace

Blackshaw’s Showcase Award Winner 2014

“There’s nothing worse than old friends…they always think they know exactly who you are.”

Mary had a son. Now her son is dead. And that is all. But Jen is having a dinner party, just like they used to, a chance to catch up. No pressure. Nothing big. Just old friends. It would be great to see you. If you’re free. If you’re ready.

Staying Alive follows Mary’s efforts to build herself a life, after his death. Is it possible to regain any sense of normalcy? If not, how will her friends support her today, a year from now, 5 years from now? When is it time to ‘move on’?


RACHEL NOTT           Mary
Rachel graduated from the Poor School in 2008. Credits include Billy Liar (Coopers Arms), Pirates! (Polka Theatre), Saturday, Sunday, Monday (Workhouse Theatre), The Memory of Water (Rose and Crowne), FourPlay (Hen & Chickens), The Bill (Talkback Television). Rachel is also a co-producer for Four Eyes and the Peach. She is delighted to be involved in Blackshaw Theatre’s showcase of Staying Alive.
BRENDAN JONES       Nathan
Brendan Jones trained at The Poor School. His TV and Film credits include ‘The bell boy’ in Bright Young Things directed by Stephen Fry (2002) and ‘John Housman’ in Days That Shook The World directed by David Bartlett (2005).

Brendan’s theatre credits include ‘Eugene’ in The Wolf directed by Jamie Harper (2011), and ‘Joan Miro’ in Café Duende directed by Jamie Harper (2013).

ELEANOR BURKE         Jenn
Theatre credits include: News Revue (Canal Café Theatre), Julius Caesar (Brockley Jack Theatre); Timbre (Torn Apart Theatre), Sketchageddon Live (Canal Café Theatre), The Women at The Tomb, La Ronde (Theatre Collection) and for Blackshaw Theatre Company; Alice Springs, and Staying Alive (Blackshaw New Writing Nights).

Film & TV credits include: Kon Tiki (RPC & Nordisk Film), Suspect 13, Coming Out (Shoot Me Films), The Violinist, Newsnight (BBC), First Light (Fervent Films), Four Tongues (The Ideas Factory), Thomas The Tank Engine & Friends (Red Caravan), Tequila (Eternal Media Productions), Bunking Off (Nic Penrake Films), On My Own/Russell Crowe (London Comedy Writers).

Training: The Poor School

Jonny is a core ensemble member of ‘The Faction’, a theatre company interpreting classical texts with a contemporary aesthetic. He also plays the regular doctor, Charlie Cavanagh, on ITV’s Emmerdale.

IMG_3192Training: Webber Douglas

For ‘The Faction’: Strindberg’s Apartment, Twelfth Night, Mary Stuart, Miss Julie, Fiesco, Three Sisters, Blood Wedding, Hamlet, Thebes, The Robbers, Theatre Economy of Thought (Assembly George Square), Write Me a Murder (Southwold and Aldeburgh Summer Theatre), Eddie and the Gold Tops (UK Tour), Toad (Southwark Playhouse), The James Herriot Story (UK Tour), A Yorkshire Christmas Carol (UK Tour), Hard Times (UK Tour).

TV: Emmerdale

Training: The Poor School
Theatre includes: u/s ‘Jack’, ‘Colin’, ‘Simeon’ in Life of Riley, (2011), ‘Bob’ in Tea & Filth (2010), ‘Mike’ in The Memory of Water (2010), ‘David’ in Take It or Leave It, (2010), ‘Adrian’ in If the Cap Fits, (2009), ‘Peter Quince’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, (2009), u/s ‘Andy’, ‘Bill’, ‘Gerald’ in Woman in Mind, (2009 – West End Debut), and ‘Prince’ in Romeo & Juliet, (2008).

EMILY RAE        Portia/Sarah/Social Worker
Emily graduated from The Guildford School of Acting in 2013. Her credits during training include ‘Masha’ in Three Sisters, ‘Hermia’ in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, ‘Leonardo’s Wife’ in Blood Wedding and ‘Midas’ Daughter’ in Metamorphoses. Professionally, Emily has worked previously with Blackshaw Theatre Company in the role of ‘Alice’ in their production of Alice in Wonderland as part of the Wandsworth Arts Festival and Fringe. She has also completed two UK tours as ‘Gerda’ in Quantum Theatre’s production of The Snow Queen, ‘Mrs Owl’ In Blunderbus Theatre Company’s Hugless Douglas and has also been invited to perform at several ‘Constellation CoLab’ events at The Hospital Club in Covent Garden.

Emily is thrilled to have her feet firmly back on the ground in London and to be working on a brilliant new script with Blackshaw, a company she is very fond of.



Kat studied Drama and Creative Writing at Royal Holloway Univeristy of London, before leaving to train as an actor at the Poor School. At the beginning of 2014, Kat changed her focus from acting back to writing, and applied for Blackshaw’s Showcase Award with her short play, Take Me. As winner of the Showcase Award, Kat has spent the remainder of the year developing the piece with Blackshaw Theatre Company. The full length play, now titled Staying Alive, is her first in production. Kat is also in the final year of an English Literature degree with The Open University and is a volunteer counsellor for Childline London.

ELLIE PITKIN Director & Producer
Ellie is the Managing & Artistic Director of Blackshaw Theatre, which she founded in May 2010. Directing credits include Arcadia by Tom Stoppard (2006) and Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker (2009). With Blackshaw, Ellie has directed Gormenghast: Titus Groan by Mervyn Peake (2012), Alice in Wonderland by Richard Stratton (2014), Character by Florence Vincent (2014), London Pride by Katie McCullough (2013); Audience with the Ghost Finder by M. J. Starling (2013); Fetch by Duncan Gates (2014).

A graduate in Theatre Studies from Royal Holloway University (2008), Ellie also comperes Blackshaw’s regular New Writing Nights.

JO GREAVES Assistant Director
Jo Greaves is a South London based director. She has worked with numerous new writing companies across London and has had work performed at the Southwark Playhouse, Tristan Bates and Park Theatre. Having directed for the Blackshaw New Writing Nights, she is thrilled to be assisting on the Staying Alive showcase.

MICHELLE BRISTOW Set & Costume Designer
Michelle has previously designed costumes for One Small Step For A Man (2012, directed by Sam Hayes) and assisted with the costumes for Theatre Giants Houdini The Play UK & Ireland Tour (2013). Michelle has assisted on costume and set for previous Blackshaw productions – Alice in Wonderland by Richard Stratton (2014), London Pride by Katie McCullough (2013); Audience with the Ghost Finder by M. J. Starling (2013). More recently she designed set and costume for Blackshaw’s Halloween Tales (2014), featuring a candlelit reading and Fetch by Duncan Gates.

Michelle is a graduate in Costume Design from Wimbledon College of Arts (2014) and was also part of the collaborating design team for ASC Random’s recent production of Hamlet (2014).

ANDREW CRANE Sound & Light Design/Operation

VIKKI WESTON Producer & Front of House

SIOBHAN WHELAN Publicity Manager

STANLEY WALTON Publicity Assistant


NICOLE LOCKE Company Administrator

NICK TATCHELL Front of House


For their generous help with research: Nicola Whitworth Co-founder of SLOW; Dr Hannah Davies MBChB; Anna Anderson BA Hons. Social Work & Social Policy; Toby Herniman BEng.; David Goddard BMus.; Charlie Davies CEO iGeolise.

With special thanks to Nic for sharing her story with me.

Remembering Naomi Grace Whitworth (12/11/1997 – 06/04/2005) and all lost children.


The Selkirk and staff
The Weston family
Zak Thomas

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