Great Expectations – Getting to know Rupert Sadler

rupert sadler headshots

Rupert Sadler is studying English Literature at King’s College London. Enthusiastic about drama, Rupert has been involved in student productions including Cabaret, Twelfth Night, King Lear, Guilty Parties and is also a member of the Running A-Mock Improv Troupe during his time at Kings. Rupert has also acted outside of university, such as working with NYT and performing Feather Boy at the Lyric, Hammersmith. Rupert has performed in two productions and one tour with Cyphers so far: Henry V (2014-2015)and Great Expectations (2015).


Quick Questions…

1. What’s your favourite scene or character from ‘Great Expectations’?

When Pip confronts Estella and Havisham after meeting his mysterious benefactor. It’s a powerful, moving scene; and I feel it has a lot of Dickens in there, a lot of personal turmoil from the author that underpins the curious relationship between Pip and Estella.


2. What’s the last project you worked on?

The last project I worked on was the revival of Henry V with Cyphers! A big tonal change from the radio play,but a rewarding opportunity that I got a lot out of. Plus, it’s a blast working with actors and crew, both old and new!


3. What’s the last book you read?

The last book I read was One Hundred Apocalypses by Lucy Corin, some chilling stuff…


4. Not a lot of people know that I…

Used to have an irrational fear of hoovers! Well… it seemed rational at the time!


5. What really grinds your gears?

It takes a lot to grind my gears, to be honest. Cold callers are the closest I guess, but I don’t blame ’em – they’re just doing their job.


You can hear Rupert Sadler playing Pip Pirrip in our upcoming radio adaptation of Great Expectations – broadcasting on The Blackshaw Arts Hour from Sunday 3rd January 2016.

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Available to download or stream here.


Great Expectations – Getting to know Jessica Brien

© Michael Wharley Photography 2014

Jessica trained at The Bridge Theatre Training Company.
Theatre includes: ‘Cinderella’ in Cinderella, ‘Belle’ in Beauty and the Beast (Evermore Productions, UK Tour 2015), The Princess and the Pea, Jack and Molly and the Beanstalk (C theatre, Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2015), Flight (Opera Holland Park, 2015), Peter Pan, Jack and the Beanstalk (Say Two Productions, UK Tour 2014), ‘Helena’ in Shakespeare in the Garden: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Snow Queen (C theatre, Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2014) and ‘Paulina’ in The Winter’s Tale.

Follow her on twitter @jessbrien

Quick Questions…

1. What’s your favourite scene or character from ‘Great Expectations’?
It has to be Miss Havisham!

2. What’s the last project you worked on?
Touring Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast

3. What’s the last book you read?
Not That Kind of Girl by Lena Dunham

4. Not a lot of people know that I…
Was the headteacher’s daughter at secondary school

5. What really grinds your gears?
Radio phone-in debates!

You can hear Jessican Brien playing Miss Havisham in our upcoming radio adaptation of Great Expectations – broadcasting on The Blackshaw Arts Hour from Sunday 3rd January 2016.

Subscribe on iTunes.

Available to download or stream here.


Great Expectations – Getting to know William Holyhead

Will Holyhead Headshot

Will is a graduate of King’s College London, where he studied English. He was most recently seen in Cyphers’ revival of Henry V – the original production of which he made his professional debut in. Other work for Cyphers includes Great Expectations, as ‘Herbert’ and ‘Miss Havisham’. Before graduating, he appeared in a number of productions including: Flare Path at RADA Studios; Broken Glass at The Bloomsbury Theatre; The Seagull at The Etcetera Theatre; Measure For Measure at The Bristol Shakespeare Festival; King Lear; Twelfth Night; Spring Awakening and The Importance of Being Earnest. You can follow Will on twitter @WJHolyhead.


Quick Questions…

1. What’s your favourite scene or character from ‘Great Expectations’?

Bentley Drummle


2. What’s the last project you worked on?

Henry V with Cyphers


3. What’s the last book you read?

Operation Mincemeat, by Ben MacIntyre


4. Not a lot of people know that I…

Once aided and abetted my French teacher smuggling a large quantity of champagne into the UK on a ferry and was almost placed under Captain’s arrest on the same ferry for ‘borrowing’ a large quantity of salt an pepper from the ship’s restaurant to use as poker chips…


5. What really grinds your gears?

The jumping of red lights and zebra crossings!!!! (especially by Taxis and cyclists)


You can hear William Holyhead playing Herbert Pocket in our upcoming radio adaptation of Great Expectations – broadcasting on The Blackshaw Arts Hour from Sunday 3rd January 2016.

Subscribe on iTunes.

Available to download or stream here.


Looking back at 2015

We’ve had a corker of a year, and as we settle down in front of the fire with a mulled wine in hand and snazzy christmas jumper firmly on, we thought we’d take you through the highlights…


The Blackshaw Arts Hour on Wandsworth Radio (fortnightly from Jan 2015)

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Subscribe on iTunes.

Available to download or stream here.

Read more about it and listen to past episodes.


10-29th November 2015 – Staying Alive by Kat Roberts, at the Pleasance Islington

Published by Nick Hern Books.  Buy your copy here.
“explosive emotion…a strong cast…lively and full of wit…” West End Wilma


“Proof that given enough time, talent and perseverance, theatre that really says something about the human condition can be made.”
5-starsFemale Arts


“highly original, nuanced and enlightening…deeply observed social comedy…compelling from start to finish”
5-starsRemote Goat


“wonderfully human…a really powerful exploration of grief – honest and tender…”
four-star-rating-black-hiLondon Theatre 1

Read more here.


25th November 2015 – Blackshaw’s Scare Slam, at the Horse & Stables, Lambeth


Read more here.


4-5th July 2015 – Alice in Wonderland by Richard Stratton, at the British Home as part of the Streatham Festival


Read more here.


Sunday 7th June 2015 – Blackshaw’s 5th Birthday Party!


Read more here.


2-16th May 2015 – Alice in Wonderland by Richard Stratton, at the Battersea Library
A sell-out run, as part of the Wandsworth Arts Fringe.
“…creative, imaginative and seemingly effortless style…The whole performance buzzed with energy, fun and joy.”
5-starsLondon Theatre 1


“The fun-filled show brims with chaos, madness and high jinks…the wild but classic tale of Alice in her fantastically retold Wonderland.” – A Younger Theatre


Read more here.

25th March, 17th May, 29th July, 30th September 2015 – New Writing Nights at the Horse & Stables, Lambeth




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Read more here.


9-14th March 2015 – Character by Florence Vincent, at the Tristan Bates Theatre
“a delightful theatre production on in Covent Garden. Funny, nostalgic, well acted 2 hander” – London Culture Blog


“a witty play…reminiscent of Ab Fab’s Edina and Saffy” – In & Around Covent Garden magazineSONY DSC

Read more here.


15th Jan 2015 – Staying Alive by Kat Roberts, at the Pleasance Islington 
One night only industry showcase – Winner of Blackshaw’s Showcase Award 2014.


Read more here.


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!


See you in 2016.


Ellie & the Team at Blackshaw


Xmas Blackshaw Logo


The Blackshaw Arts Hour – Episode 22

This week on the show, Matt, Alex and Iasha are in the studio with new wrting to play and lots of reviews.
First up Matt reviews the new pixar film Inside Out and we talk in the studio about what it takes to make us cry in films.

Next up is Alex talking about a new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream that he is appearing in in a few weeks. The play is on at the Tea House theatre from the 10th – 12th of September and all the details can be found here.

We also played “Have You Seen Spiderman 2?” a piece of new writing we recording last year, written by Joe Banks and performed by Grace Felton and Smith Lowe.

Vikki came to us via pre-record to review some of the shows she saw a few weeks ago at the Edinburgh Fringe and then Helen Johnson reviewed the Cyphers Chekov double bill that was performed at The Proud Archivist a couple of weeks back.

Next up on the show was part 2 of The Whistling Room following up from the last Blackshaw Arts Hour where we left you halfway through an original Carnacki story read by our very own Matt Boothman.


NEWS: Staying Alive tickets now on sale!


Tickets for the very wonderful new play, Staying Alive, by Kat Roberts, are now on sale.


At the Pleasance Theatre 10-29th November 2015, 7.45pm, £12/10.


We’re thrilled that Alexander Pankhurst is joining the cast, playing the role of ‘Jack’.  Marcus Bazley is also joining the team, as Assistant Director.

More info about the show, photos from the industry showcase in Jan, and other lovely content, can be found here.

New Writing Night – March 2015 – The Showcase Shortlist

Sleeping Dogs by Lisa Lawrence
Directed by Kat Roberts
Ben— George Collie
Anna— Rose Turner
Jack— Stanley Eldridge
Annette— Diana Brooks

Eromenos by Nick Cheesman
Directed by Matt Beresford
Sheri— Janie Shepherd
Nigel— Richard Zanik

Call it Even by Naila Vazquez Tantinya
Directed by Marcus Bazley
Jamie— Jonathan Cobb
Macarena— Eden Avital Alexander

The Meeting by Michael Halliday
Directed by Stephen Bailey
God— Isaiah Ellis
Muse— Freya Evans
Fate— Caitlin McMillan
Demon— Charlie Woodward
Administrator— Colson Dorafshar

Photos by Richard Stratton

Quick Questions in Wonderland – Marcus Bazley

What are you most looking forward about working on Alice in Wonderland?

There are a number of things I’m looking forward to about working on Alice. For a start I’ve never worked with Blackshaw on a full production and having worked on various new writing nights over the last year or so I’m really looking forward to joining the team on a full project. I also love the space we are performing in! Creating an adaptation of Alice for a library space is interesting enough but when it’s for one as characterful as Battersea Library it opens up so many creative opportunities.


What’s your favourite scene or character in Alice in Wonderland?

I think it would have to be the White Rabbit. I quite like rabbits anyway so a talking, hyper-energetic, perpetually late rabbit is quite appealing! He’s also effectively the gateway into the magic of the story so he is a pivotal character.


What was the last project you worked on?

My last project was directing a French translation of The Diary of a Madman by Gogol at the Reine Blanche theatre in Paris. It’s a truly astonishing text that presents the world through the eyes of a schizophrenic. I think everyone should read it not only as a fascinating exploration of mental illness but also because Gogol’s dark genius makes it incredibly funny throughout.


What’s the last book you read?

I recently finished Crime and Punishment by Dostoevsky. Another fascinating read and a novel that really gripped me. There’s a frantic, desperate energy that drives through the novel that is terrifying but also irresistible – and it really tests your moral compass.
Besides Alice, what’s your favourite past role (or favourite past project you’ve worked on) and why?

Very tough to decide between previous projects! I think if I had to choose, it would be the production of Shakespeare’s Henry V that I directed as the first production with my company, Cyphers. It was very special to bring that group of people together. Building an ensemble and developing ideas of how we work as a company was a fantastic challenge and one that was immensely rewarding. It’s probably my most important project to date, in that it marked a clear shift in the way I wanted to work as a director.


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

Continuing the Russian theme… I recently saw an adaptation of Eugene Onegin by the Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre at the Barbican. Wow. This production completely blew me away. I had never seen anything like it on stage before and it made me reassess my views on theatre as a whole. It was a beautifully choreographed piece of storytelling – truly inspiring.


Not a lot of people know that…

In France, stage-left is known as cour and stage-right as jardin. This derives from the one of the first theatres in Paris being situated between the jardin des Tuileries to the right and the cour du Carrousel to the left.


What’s your guilty pleasure?

The Musketeers on BBC. I watch very little TV but this always brings a smile to my face. It’s hardly high art but it’s just pure romanticised, swash-buckling fun. I’m immensely jealous of all the actors who get to dress up in fantastic seventeenth century costumes and play with swords for at least 15 minutes an episode, all in the most beautiful settings too!


What really grinds your gears?

Politics. I just try and avoid the subject now.


You can see the product of Marcus’ work as Assistant Director, in Alice in Wonderland at the Battersea Library 2-16th May 2015 – more details and buy tickets here.