Looking back at…The Scare Slam & Halloween Tales

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)
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.

NEWS: Alice in Wonderland at WAF 2015

The Wandsworth Arts Fringe (WAF) is coming up in May, and we’re thrilled to announce that we’ll be transferring last year’s WAF production, Alice in Wonderland by Richard Stratton, to the Battersea Library (Clapham Junction) 2-16th May 2015*.

It’s especially exciting because 2015 is the 150th anniversary of the original book’s publication by writer Lewis Carroll.

The show will be directed by Blackshaw’s Managing & Artistic Director, Ellie Pitkin, with assistance from Marcus Bazley.  Zahra Mansouri is designing set/costume, with associate designer, Michelle Bristow.  Andrew Crane is designing sound and lights.

Some original cast are returning, and some new faces are amongst us…



Alice has lost her cat, but when her search leads her to the library, Alice discovers more than she could ever imagine. Fall down the rabbit hole with Alice as her world is turned upside down in this new adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic tale. Suitable for ages 4+ (and plenty of jokes for the grownups).

ALICE-000207“this ingeniously directed production by Ellie Pitkin showcases all the theatrical tricks one can imagine…this resourceful and clever production” **** – Public Reviews

“an imaginative production…highly entertaining and engaging…a fun afternoon adventure” – Everything Theatre

“tightly directed and precisely performed – and gloriously silly” – Cumbria PR


*Sat 2nd May (6 & 7.30pm shows), Bank Holiday Mon 4th May (3pm and 4pm shows), Fri 8th May (7.30pm show), Sat 9th May (6 & 7.30pm shows), Fri 15th May (7.30pm show), Sat 16th May (6 & 7.30pm shows).

Blackshaw Arts Hour – Episode 2

Check out the second installment of our radio show, Blackshaw’s Arts Hour.

We’ve got our film critic, Matt Boothman, live in the studio talking about ‘Birdman’, a review of ‘Private View’ (by Plunge Theatre, showing at Theatre Delicatessen), and a radio play, the fantastically freaky ‘Fetch’ by Duncan Gates.

Sadly ‘Fetch’, was only available for one week, so you missed the boat but we have more radio plays in other episodes, to wrap your ears around!

[podbean resource=”episode=w9v72-58a83c” type=”audio-rectangle” height=”100″ skin=”1″ btn-skin=”107″ share=”1″ fonts=”Helvetica” auto=”0″ download=”0″ rtl=”0″]

5 Minutes with Alex Yaghma

Alex Yaghma, playing Col in ‘Fetch’

The lovely Alex, who plays Col in Fetch, gave us 5 minutes of his time to answer some questions.

What do you like best about your character in Fetch?

What I like best about my character is Col’s naivety, he is completely unsuspecting, nothing unusual ever happens and he wouldn’t notice it if it did.  But he is thrown into a situation he can’t avoid and I like seeing how he deals with it.

What’s your favourite past production that you’ve worked on?

My favourite past production was a production of Othello. By Jove theatre company cast Othello as a woman and took a contemporary look at the struggles of being a woman in a mans world.

What’s the best show you’ve ever been to?

The best show I have ever been to was at the Battersea Arts Centre and it was a spoken word/poetry/music show called Brand New Ancients by Kate Tempest.  It was inspirational, powerful and down to earth.  Art at its most affecting.

What’s your favourite horror movie?

One of my top five, would be Paranormal Activity…not being able to physically fight back against something is really scary.

What scares you silly?

Not many things scare me silly…I usually do the scaring.  I hide and scare my friends a lot.

You’re going to a Halloween party, what are you dressing up as?

If I were going to a Halloween Party I would dress up as my own doppleganger…simple and effective.

Not a lot of people know that…

I’m from Birmingham.

What really grinds your gears?

People repeatedly pressing the ‘open door’ button on the tube…JUST DON’T PRESS IT, IT DOESN’T WORK.

You can see Alex performing as Col in Fetch by Duncan Gates as a part of our Halloween Tales production on 30th, 31st October and 1st November. Tickets available now.

Blackshaw’s Favourite Horror Movies

If you’re stuck for ideas of what to do with yourself this Halloween, Blackshaw has two outstanding suggestions to help you out.

First, come to see our production Halloween Tales on the 30th, 31st October and 1st November. Get your tickets now!

Then, once you’ve been to see Halloween Tales, and scared yourself silly, have a super spooky movie marathon with these TERRIFYING suggestions from our cast and crew.

1) Ellie Pitkin, Director of Halloween Tales, picks: Insidious 

via edgeoftheplank.com
via edgeoftheplank.com

Most terrifying moment: All the stuff with  the baby monitor

Why it’s her favourite: Ellie says, “It’s full of classic  jump moments as well as an actual plot – plus it has all my favourite horror story things: ghosts, children, possession and ghost hunters.”


2) Duncan Gates, writer of Fetch, picks: The Ring

via huffingtonpost.com
via huffingtonpost.com

Most terrifying moment: The entire last ten minutes

Why it’s his favourite: It’s lo-fi, downbeat, oddly un-demonstrative, with a terrific ebbing undercurrent of ‘OH GOD WHAT IS THIS EVEN ALL ABOUT’, which lasts through the ENTIRE film and makes the real world seem even more terrifying afterwards


3) Writer M.J. Starling, performer in Halloween Tales reading ‘The Whistling Room’, picks: ALIEN

Via http://geekshizzle.com/
Via http://geekshizzle.com/

Most terrifying moment: Ripley, unarmed and in her underwear, realising she’s not alone on the shuttle.

Why it’s his favourite: It’s a classic haunted house story … IN SPACE. And what CAN’T be improved by adding “IN SPACE”?





4) Bethany Arnold, Blackshaw’s Events Manager for the Howling Halloween Party, picks: Sleepy Hollow

via youtube.com
via youtube.com

Most terrifying moment: Aside from the fact that Bethany’s mum showed her this film at the tender age of 7, when the little boy is under the floorboards and his mums head rolls on the floor and he can see it looking at him, and then he’s trying to stay silent but the horseman realises he’s hiding and starts hacking at the floor. (I think we can all agree, this bit’s horrifying).

Why it’s her favourite: Although it’s horrible (and scarred her for life), Johnny Depp is awesome.


5) Rosie Marsh, actor playing the part of Ally in Fetch, picks: Dumbo

via filmwerk.co.uk
via filmwerk.co.uk

Most terrifying moment: When Dumbo gets drunk and all the clowns go all pink and psychedelic and start floating around him laughing. Rosie knows that Dumbo isn’t strictly speaking a ‘scary movie’ but she makes a good point

Why she really doesn’t like it: Rosie says, “how is that a kids film?!? It’s terrifying, I thought he’d never escape from them! Couldn’t sleep for weeks. I now hate clowns and floating pink things.”


6) Nicole Locke, Blackshaw’s Administrator, picks: Fright Night (not the David Tenant re-make)

via electricshadowsfilmblog.wordpress.org
via electricshadowsfilmblog.wordpress.org

Most terrifying moment: When Jerry is hiding in Charley’s room, and then jumps out to threaten him

Why it’s her favourite: The marvellous 80’s special effects, particularly towards the end when a fake bat swings across the room.




7) Alex Yaghma, actor playing the part of Col in Fetch, picks: 28 Days Later

via superstarfantasyblog.wordpress.com
via superstarfantasyblog.wordpress.com

Most terrifying moment: When they are being chased up a tower block staircase by rage infected zombies

Why it’s his favourite: Alex says, “something about being chased and hunted really freaks me.”





8) Siobhan Whelan, Blackshaw’s Publicity, Press and Marketing Manager, picks: The Blair Witch Project

via movie666.com
via movie666.com

Most terrifying moment: ALL. THE. GIGGLING. CHILDREN.

Why it’s her favourite: Siobhan says, “despite it being a bit over now, it still absolute scares the pants off me. If I see piles of sticks anywhere, I assume death is imminent.”



9) Bryony Tebbutt, actor playing the part of Vic in Fetch, picks: Saw

via cinemablend.com
via cinemablend.com

Most terrifying moment: *Spoiler Alert* When the guy saws off his foot, and the “dead” guy wakes up.

Why it’s her favourite: Bryony says, “When Saw first came out it was a great original idea, and the story captured me, then at the climax of the film, when this happened, was so shocking and heartbreaking it has always stuck with me.”


10) Vikki Weston, Blackshaw’s Strategy and Planning Manager, picks: The Shining

via whatculture.com
via whatculture.com

Most terrifying moment: The Grady Twins. Always.

Why it’s her favourite: Besides the incredible soundtrack, what’s most brilliant about The Shining is that it’s really about a normal bloke going completely insane. Which is totally chilling.

So, whether we’ve inspired you to movie marathon your way through Halloween or not, do yourself a favour and get a ticket for Halloween Tales now!