Warwick has gained quite a reputation for creating exciting new theatre companies. More often than not, these companies comprise of students who are doing a degree in Theatre and Performance Studies. In 2015, theatre critic Andrew Haydon asked 'what's in the water at Warwick?' after discovering that his favourite shows from the Edinburgh Fringe that year all originated from our university. This led to Theatre and Performance Studies being shortlisted for the Stage Award for 'School of the Year' in 2016 - an accolade almost exclusively given to drama schools and conservatoires.
On this page you can find out more about some of the theatre companies that have emerged from Warwick in recent years.
Breach is a multimedia performance company founded by Billy Barrett, Dorothy Allen-Pickard and Ellice Stevens who graduated from Warwick in 2015. Their work has won multiple awards, including the Total Theatre Award for an Emerging Company in 2015, a Scotsman Fringe First Award in 2016 and The Stage Edinburgh Award in 2018 for It’s True, It’s True, It’s True, based on court transcripts of the trial of Agostino Tassi for the rape of the artist Artemisia Gentilischi. The piece was also made available to watch on BBC Four and on player during the pandemic in 2020.
Recently, Breach have also worked on their first short film Wannabe. The film is described as following a group of elderly young women who forms a Spice Girls tribute act to earn a quick buck for a friend who can’t pay the bills. Wannabe is available to watch online here.
Captions: The Beanfield. It's True, It's True, It's True.
Bertrand Lesca and Nasi Voutsas
Since 2015, Bertrand Lesca – who graduated from Warwick in 2010 – has worked in collaboration with the performance maker Nasi Voutsas.
Bertrand and Nasi have worked on multiple projects together and, in 2020, received the Forced Entertainment Award (in memory of Huw Chadbourn). Using humour and the dynamics of their onstage relationship, Bert and Nasi undercut and explore the darker aspects of contemporary subjects in work that questions both their own – and the audience’s – role as ‘active’ spectators in global conflicts.
Their work includes Eurohouse, Palmyra and One; which explored power dynamics and political themes on a micro, human level. More recent projects also include It Don't Worry Me, a collaboration with the Spanish Catalan company Atresbandes to make a piece exploring political correctness across
cultures, and The End a dance piece exploring the breakdown of their own working relationship set against the backdrop of an imminent climate catastrophe.
Website: www.bertandnasi.com / Twitter: @lesca_b @nasi_v / Instagram: bertandnasi
Captions: It Don’t Worry Me, Teatre Iliure, Barcelona 2020. Photo: Berta Vicente.
Swamp Motel was founded in 2017 by three Theatre and Performance Studies graduates from the class of 2010.
With careers that spanned fringe theatre, immersive theatre, production and event management
consulting, they combined their skills to form a company that initially set out to rival traditional brand experience agencies by offering theatrical expertise to interactive marketing activations.
In their first two years, they worked all over the world, including London, Sydney and New York, they were shortlisted for two The Drum Experience Awards and won the Campaign Event Award for Best Brand Experience (B2B) in 2018. During the Coronavirus pandemic, the team pivoted and began creating independent experiences, beginning with a debut online production, Plymouth Point.
Caption: Madame Mesmer’s Bizarre Bazaar for Verizon Media, 2019. Photo: Yaneva Santana.