Some of the most joyful moments in the last 10 years of Blackshaw making work, have been all about the making. Behind the scenes, the creation of shows has been busy and beautiful. The joy has been standing on a bookcase, taking a selfie between rehearsing scenes, having a nap, cleaning grubby chairs, recording a voiceover under a pile of coats, gripping camera kit on a windy beach, doing a quick change in a library…
In 2015 we began a weekly, and later, fortnightly, magazine-style culture show on Wandsworth Radio (now Riverside Radio). It included regular segments such as Matt Boothman’s film review, Vikki’s Arts things of the week, and Strat and Alex do Art, as well as interviews with industry folk and behind the scenes content for Blackshaw’s show. Later, we created and broadcast exciting radio drama, such as a serial adaptation of ‘Great Expectations’, new writing ‘Audience with the Ghost Finder, and many more!
After 100 episodes, we retired our radio mic, but have continued to produce some superb standalone audio drama. You can listen to the cracking catalogue of our radio show, as well as all that audio drama, on our podcast channel.
The 100th (and final) episode of the radio show, gives a great look back and highlights reel – have a listen!
by Chris Buxey
11-12th May 2018, Putney Arts Theatre
Performed in front of a live audience, with live foley (sound effects), this new radio play by Chris Buxey is a dark comedy about principles, money and the importance of family.
Stuart is the author of the beloved Young Adult literature heroine, Frankie Fightwell. While writing the next book in the series, Stuart realises that there might be more than just the usual vampire sharks and giant Nazi man-spiders preventing Frankie from making it to the end of her latest adventure!
We enjoyed the last live audio play so much we decided to do it all again. We had a larger live foley team for Chris Buxey’s delightfully camp, nazi spider romp. And safe to say it was a real treat for the audience and creative team. Oh, and it won Stagedoor’s Wandsworth Arts Fringe 2018 New Writing Award.
Tom Slatter – Dominic/Viktor
Abigail Morgan – Frankie/Rachel
John Rayment – Stuart
Ellie Pitkin – Director/Producer
Andrew Crane – Sound/Foley Designer
Vikki Weston – Producer
Megan Barbour – Foley Team/Intern
Charlotte Bishop – Foley Team/Intern
Alec Mills – Foley Team
Betty Smith – Foley Team/Intern
by Richard Stratton
13th May 2017, Putney Arts Theatre
A live radio play (hilarious sound effects included). A seemingly trivial case soon reveals a dastardly plot that could shake the very foundations of the British Empire. With her faithful valet by her side, Miss McSkimming must get to the bottom of it.
What do you do when you love new writing, audio drama and live theatre? Combine them all of course! The first of our live foley extravaganzas, Some Treachery, set the bar very high. Richard Stratton’s script and the interplay between the foley team and the actors created a brilliantly intriguing spectacle for the audience.
Director – Ellie Pitkin
Live Foley – Andrew Crane
Live Foley – David Turnbull
Sound engineer – Rebecca Hitchcox
Recording Manager – Vikki Weston
by Duncan Hands
11-19th May 2016, The Bedford
11-15th October, The Old Red Lion Theatre
“Sea-eagle to coot, come in please, can you hear me? Over.”
“Yes, yes, bloody yes!”
Rucksacks… Check. Walkie-Talkies… Check. Hip flask… Check. Gun… gun?!
Ruminating on the local myth of ghostly dog ‘Black Shuck’, two (inept) would-be smugglers await a shipment on the Norfolk Coast. Join us, where comedy meets horror in this hour-long new play by Duncan Hands.
Another bit of new writing being championed by Blackshaw you say? It’s almost like we have an MO…Duncan Hands blended the mystical, farcical and mundane in this black comedy. Rachel Nott and Alexander Pankhurst’s onstage chemistry really brought the whole thing to life. Special mention goes to Andrew Crane for once again delivering the quality aural goods to create the spookiest of atmospheres.
engaging and dynamic…boundless energy and spirit…a little bit silly, a little bit scary and thoroughly worth a watch!Theatre Bubble
a brilliantly written short piece…Rachel Nott is amazing…Art is played wonderfully by Alexander PankhurstLondon Theatre 1
a taut play that manages to walk the tightrope of genres but playing to the strength of allFemale Arts
Martha – Rachel Nott
Art – Alexander Pankhurst
Mr Big (voice only) – Tom Slatter
Fisherman (voice only) – Duncan Hands
Director/Producer – Ellie Pitkin
Sound Design – Andrew Crane
Sound and Lightening Tech – Andrew Crane
Set and Costume Designer – Michelle Bristow
Set Builder – Tom Hurling
Design Assistant – Sophia Debus
Promotional Images – Robin Savage Photography
Production Photography – Richard Stratton
Halloween Tales, 30th October – 1st November 2014, The Selkirk Upstairs
‘You think it’s all me and it’s not. It’s not always me.’
It starts as a normal night-shift – and then you start to see double…
Duncan Gates’ chilling short play, Fetch, alongside some spooky fireside stories, formed our first foray into scary short stories. Halloween Tales was almost certainly the spooky seed from which did grow the horror-bloom: Blackshaw’s Annual Scare Slam.
The Whistling Room by William Hope Hodgson, read by M. J. Starling
Wailing Well by M. R. James, read by Duncan Gates
Fetch by Duncan Gates
There’s a bunch of lovely photos, interviews, and behind the scenes joy available to browse.
ROSIE MARSH Ally (Fetch)
BRYONY TEBUTT Vic (Fetch)
ALEX YAGHMA Col (Fetch)
M. J. STARLING Storyteller
DUNCAN GATES Storyteller
ELLIE PITKIN Director & Producer
MICHELLE BRISTOW Set & Costume Designer
ANDREW CRANE Sound Design/Tech Operation
The Scare Slam, annually, October 2014-present
From the mind of Blackshaw associate, Helen Stratton, the Scare Slams were born. Over the years (we’ve done 5) the Scare Slam has been performed at The Horse & Stables, The Old Red Lion, and The Pleasance Theatre, as part of the London Horror Festival.
The show has provided a platform for the telling of terrifying short stories and poems. All in the dead of night. To the gentle hiss of a geriatric smoke machine…
Scare Slam 2015
Scare Slam 2016
Scare Slam 2017
Scare Slam 2018
Scare Slam 2019
You can drip some fear into your ear, and listen to the audio of the Scare Slams, whenever you like.
On January 6th 2011, Blackshaw presented its first New Writing Night at The Horse & Stables (Lambeth North). There began a decade-long love story between Blackshaw and new writing. We hosted over 30 events, first at The Horse, and then at the Hen & Chickens (Islington). The New Writing Nights brought together writers, actors, and directors to try out their work and get constructive feedback from the audience.
In 2014, we began the annual Blackshaw Showcase Award – winners were supported by Blackshaw through the development process of their play, to get the script performance-ready and then staged as a one-off industry performance.
2014 Winner: Staying Alive by Kat Roberts
2015: Call It Even by Naila Vázquez Tantinyà
2016: Cailleach Óg by Gerald Moynihan
2017: Moth Man by Nicole Locke
There are loads of brilliant photos, reviews, interviews and info on the New Writing Nights and Showcase Awards to look at.
Adapted by Marcus J Bazley
Recorded August 2015
Original Broadcast December 2015, Wandsworth Radio (now known as Riverside Radio)
Some of our members saw Cyphers theatre company perform Marcus J Bazley’s adaptation of Great Expectations, and jumped at the opportunity to work with them to produce the show as a serialised audio drama. It was a huge undertaking, particularly for our talented sound technician and designer, Andrew Crane, who created all of the soundscapes and effects from scratch. The results speak for themselves, and this project was a fantastic jumping off point for the audio dramas we would go on to produce.
Narrator – Jeremy Drakes
Magwitch/Pumblechook – Dylan Lincoln
Compeyson/Porter/Galley – Marcus J Bazley
Estella/Mrs Joe – Victoria Hamblen
Pip – Rupert Sadler
Joe/Wemmick/Drummle – Christopher Anderton
Sergeant/Jaggers – Alexander Pankhurst
Miss Havisham – Jessica Brien
Herbert Pocket – William Holyhead
Biddy – Rosie Marsh
Sound Recordist/Designer/Engineer – Andrew Crane
Producer – Helen Johnson
Associate Producer – Iasha Chapman
written by Kat Roberts
15th January 2015, Pleasance Theatre
10-29th November 2015, Pleasance Theatre
“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?
Winner of the first annual Blackshaw Showcase Award, Staying Alive was developed with support from Blackshaw, culminating in a one night industry performance at the Pleasance Theatre in January 2015. The show returned to The Pleasance for a two week run and the playscript was published by Nick Hern Books. Kat Roberts’ Staying Alive is a real success story and one that Blackshaw is immensely proud of.
Proof that given enough time, talent and perseverance, theatre that really says something about the human condition can be made.Female Arts
Highly original, nuanced and enlightening…deeply observed social comedy…compelling from start to finish.Remote Goat
It’s so painfully familiar and human…an elegant exploration of how friendships can break down and change under the weight of tragedy.Exeunt Magazine
Mary – Rachel Nott
Jack – Jonny McPherson/Alexander Pankhurst
Jenn – Eleanor Burke
Nathan – Brendan Jones
Portia/Sarah/Social Worker – Emily Rae
Will/Administrator – Stephen Ashmore-Blakely
Tom (voice) – Laura Mortimore
Director/Producer – Ellie Pitkin
Assistant Director – Marcus Bazley
Set and Costume – Michelle Bristow
Lighting and Sound – Andrew Crane
Producer – Vikki Weston
Photography – Richard Stratton
We have tons of interviews, reviews, photos and more.
adapted by Richard Stratton
3-18th May 2014, The Selkirk Upstairs
2-16th May 2015, Battersea Library
4-5th June 2015, The British Home
There have been many iterations of Alice in Wonderland, but I bet no others have involved a knitted tea pot. Brilliantly reimagined by Blackshaw stalwart Richard Stratton, it was performed three different times, on three different stages, with three different casts – all racing around, causing havoc and delight in equal measure. Every single show was sold out, every single time. What a rush. You didn’t have to be mad to be involved, but it certainly helped.
this ingeniously directed production by Ellie Pitkin showcases all the theatrical tricks one can imagine…this resourceful and clever productionPublic Reviews
an imaginative production…highly entertaining and engaging…a fun afternoon adventureEverything Theatre
tightly directed and precisely performed – and gloriously sillyCumbria PR
EMILY RAE – ALICE
NATALIE WINTER – MARCH HARE/DOOR 2
ANGELA FERNS – THE QUEEN OF HEARTS/SHOPKEEPER
DEAN BRAMMALL – MAD HATTER/DOOR 3 /FLOWERS
LIAM FLEMING – TWEEDLE DUM/SOLDIER 2/DOOR 4
ALEXANDER PANKHURST – TWEEDLE DEE/SOLDIER 1/DOOR 1
NATASHA GREEN – CHESHIRE CAT
CLARE HARLOW – WHITE RABBIT/CATERPILLAR
ELLIE PITKIN – DIRECTOR & PRODUCER
OLIVER GORDON – ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
ZAHRA MANSOURI – COSTUME & SET DESIGNER
ANDREW CRANE – SOUND DESIGNER & TECH OPERATOR
CHLOE WALTON – ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER
MATTHEW CONNELLY – ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER
JONELL ROWE – ASSISTANT STAGE MANAGER
BRUCE ASHER – PUBLICITY DESIGN
VIKKI WESTON – PROJECT MANAGER/PUBLICITY
STANLEY WALTON – PUBLICITY & MARKETING
ROBERT HUGILL – PUBLICITY & MARKETING
BARNEY BARRON – PUBLICITY & MARKETING
NICK TATCHELL – PRODUCTION PHOTOGRAPHY
ZAK THOMAS – PRODUCTION PHOTOGRAPHY
MICHELLE BRISTOW – COSTUME & SET DESIGN ASSISTANT
SHINO MINAGAWA – COSTUME ASSISTANT
KIRSTY YOUNG – COSTUME ASSISTANT
NARA JEONG – COSTUME ASSISTANT
EMILY RAE / RACHAEL STRATTON – Alice
ALEXANDER PANKHURST – Tweedle Dee/Caterpillar/Soldier 1/Door 1
NATASHA GREEN – Cheshire Cat
ROSIE MARSH – March Hare/Door 2
RICHARD STRATTON – Tweedle Dum/Soldier 2/Door 4
STEVE WICKENDEN – Librarian/Queen of Hearts
ALEX KHANYAGHMA – White Rabbit/Door 3/Flowers
ELLIE PITKIN – Director and Producer
MARCUS BAZLEY – Assistant Director
TEGAN CUTTS – Stage Manager
ANDREW CRANE – Sound & Lighting Designer & Operator
ZAHRA MANSOURI – Set & Costume Designer
MICHELLE BRISTOW – Associate Set & Costume Designer
VIKKI WESTON – Front of House Manager
SIMON ANNAND – Production Photography
ELLA OKEORE – Costume & Set Assistant
INEZ COONEN – Costume & Set Assistant
MARIA NOONE – Costume & Set Assistant
DODONA WHITE – Costume & Set Assistant
KATHERINE BURKE – Costume & Set Assistant/ASM