Nursery Originals – Applications for Autumn 2017

By Chris Mead, Co-Artistic Director

Back in 2015 we at The Nursery set ourselves a mission.

We wanted to start dreaming bigger.

We wanted to find directors with drive and vision and give them everything they needed to create improvised theatre of ever greater scope and diversity. We wanted to provide a budget for costumes and sets and put those ideas on in a space kitted out with proper lighting and sound equipment. In essence we wanted to explore the potential of this art form of ours, create shiny new things and work with people we’d admired but with whom we’d never found the time to collaborate.

That was how the Nursery Originals programme was born. Inspired by The Hideout Theatre in Austin, Texas – we went ahead and put on a whole season of new theatrical improv works.

But then disaster struck. We lost our performance space in the middle of a season and Nursery Originals went into hibernation. Without a stage to present new works upon – we slumbered, gathering our strength, waiting for the right moment…

Oh, BTW, did you hear? We have a new theatre now.

Which means we’re back.

Starting this Autumn – prepare for Nursery Originals 2.0.

Initially we’ll be looking to present THREE brand new shows and we’re hoping that there are people in our community who want to create them? They can take any shape – narrative, genre-based, physical theatre or puppet show – whatever your fevered imaginations can conjure up. The only rule is that they have to be improvised.

If we choose your idea, here’s what you get:

  • A day to hold auditions and casting
  • A month of rehearsals, twice a week MOSTLY in the Nursery Theatre performance space (so 8 in total)
  • Tech rehearsal
  • Dress rehearsal
  • TWO 25 minute preview shows on a Friday or Saturday night at The Nursery Theatre
  • THREE 45 minute headline shows on a Friday or Saturday night at The Nursery Theatre
  • A modest budget for costumes and set
  • Help publicising the show through the Nursery social media channels
  • A lovely poster design
  • Access to a wealth of experience, talent and enthusiasm from the Nursery staff and volunteers


Here are the rehearsal and show dates for the Autumn season. There is a *little* flexibility here but in general we’ll need you to stick to these dates:

[table “1” not found /]



Apply here!

Applications are open NOW and will run until 6th July 2017 at 10am.

We’ll let the successful applicants know by the end of the month.

A word on completing your application…

It’s best to write your application in a word document and cut & paste each section it into the form. This guards against power cuts and the internet being a dick. It also means you have a copy of what you sent us.

For your reference – here’s what we’re going to ask you

  • Your name
  • Your email address
  • Your phone number
  • Your personal improv performance experience and training
  • Which show slots are you applying for? (check the dates carefully before applying)
  • The show name
  • What makes you want to do this project? (Tell us what’s making you excited. Why this show? What makes this idea special?)
  • How would you pitch the show to an audience? (100-150 words. How would you pitch this show to the outside world?)
  • Casting breakdown (What sort of improvisers are you looking for?)
  • Cast size

Previous Nursery Originals shows:

Flashbulb-show-imagePhotos are everywhere. On your Facebook, on Instagram, Twitter. Every day we kayak through an river of images. We’re all responsible for the flood: everyone has a camera now. The button is pressed. The flash ignites. The light blinds. A moment is captured.

But what’s the truth behind the picture? What happened before the flash-bulb lit? What happened afterwards? Who is this person, really, Away from the pose? Where are they from, and where are they going? If a picture paints a thousand words, then a photo poses a thousand questions. In this show we answer them.

This Nursery Originals production uses found and vintage photographs as its inspiration to create improv that is funny, character-led and playful.


emotion-play-web-square-finalLook at the city and let the years fall away. Watch as skyscrapers retract back into the ground; as grass bristles along the pavements and the air grows still and clear. Brick becomes stone becomes wood becomes clay. You live here. This patch of earth. This world in potentia. And all of history churns beneath your feet. A series of entirely improvised and entirely interconnected stories that play out on a canvas that spans 200 millennia and 12 foot square. Dozens of lives, loves, comedies and tragedies unfolding throughout time with a single thing in common. They all happened here. [Emotion] play is part of the Nursery Originals series. Directed by Chris Mead.

open roads smallAn improvised road trip movie driven by your song suggestions.

Open roads – paths to chase your future or escape your past. Four people on a road trip. Hopes and struggles lie along their path, music blares from the radio and destiny lies just across the horizon. It might be funny but it could be sad, angry or just plain beautiful.

Inspired by movies like Everything Is Illuminated, Y Tu Mama Tambien and Little Miss Sunshine. Based on the game Ribbon Drive by Avery Mcdaldno.

Give us your music, let’s make a mixtape and head for open roads. Directors: Michael Such & Luke Beahan.


When you sit down to a meal in a restaurant, do you ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes? Have you ever been on one side of a wall and wondered what is on the other side? Or looked across at a couple and wondered what they are talking about?

In ‘The Restaurant’ we give you permission to eavesdrop on the conversation at the next table. In fact, we insist on it. Peer into other people’s lives as they are made and destroyed at dinner. Then pop into the kitchen to find out whether head chefs are really all perfectionist bastards and whether the pan washer deserves the way he is treated.

Directed by Jinni Lyons, this Nursery originals is theatrical improv that occurs in real time, set in a restaurant and kitchen.


So! Improvised Mythbook

Welcome, stranger. Sit down around the fire with us, let us open our sacred book and tell you stories. Do you know of the origin of the gods and how men became men? Do you know why the world turns as it does and when it will stop turning? Let us tell you. Yes, we are masters of our destiny, but we are also blown by the wind. Let us tell you tales of heroes and villains and kings and queens and devils. They are just like us, but unlike us in so many ways. We will tell you of them.
Directed by Jules Munns, So – The Improvised Book of Myths features mighty gods, bizarre creatures and flawed people. Who knows, perhaps you will see yourself in there, and learn why humans are as they are.