Nursery Originals

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.

Every season we will present a number of brand new shows working with 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.

Here’s what a Nursery Originals show gets from us:

  • 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 and dress rehearsal (in addition to the above)
  • 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

And here’s some of the shows we’ve previously had as Nursery Originals.

Apply to direct in Summer 2018


This season’s Nursery Originals


Sultry and cool, Carmen is a gender-swapped Film Noir fantasy. Step into a world of drama, tension, sex and intrigue, where the struggle between good and evil is real and personal. Follow the exploits of classic Noir characters with a twist as they confront death, life, and exploitation in this stylish and intoxicating piece.

Directed by Stephen Davidson


Castles in the Air

Set out on a voyage of discovery inspired by the films of Studio Ghibli. Castles in the Air explores improvised tales of friendship and transformation, in worlds limited only by our imaginations. Take a break from life’s practicalities and be gently swept along with our lovable characters, where a happy ending is (almost) always guaranteed.

Directed by Jacqueline Black


Heads Might Roll

Things went wrong. Mistakes were made. Everyone’s pointing fingers, and the only responsible thing the government can do is to consolidate them all into one easily manageable fist; a fist at the end of the longest arm of the law – the ever-delayed, barely accountable (independent) inquiry. Join a wholly independent panel of improvisers as they get to the bottom of the finest cock-up you can imagine, held to account only by your intervention. And all the while, the true(ish) story of what happened will unfold. Part political farce, part social satire – Heads Might Roll is a jolly, carefree romp through everything that’s wrong with the modern world. Things went wrong. Mistakes were made. Heads Might Roll. But they almost certainly won’t.

Directed by Arfie