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.

Applications for Nursery Originals Spring 2018

Applications are now open to direct Spring 2018 Nursery Originals. Have a look at the rehearsal and show dates below and click the button when you are ready to apply. Applications will close on 7th November and decisions will be made that week. All applicants will be notified.

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 unreliable. 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 and 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? And how many?

And here are the show and rehearsal dates for the next two show slots we have available:

Slot OneSlot Two
Tues 16th Jan
Sat 21st Jan
Tues 23rd Jan
Sat 28th Jan
Tues 30th Jan
Sat 4th Feb
Tues 6th Feb
Sat 11th Feb
Mon 5th Feb
Mon 12th Feb
Mon 19th Feb
Mon 26th Feb
Thurs 8th Feb
Thurs 15th Feb
Thurs 22nd Feb
Thurs 29th Feb
Tues 13th FebTues 6th Mar
Wed 14th FebWeds 7th Mar
Sat 17th Feb
Sat 24th Feb
Fri 2nd Mar
Fri 9th Mar
Friday 16th Mar
Fri 9th Mar
Sat 17th Mar
Sat 24th Mar
Sat 31st Mar

Have a look here to see the Nursery Originals shows we’ve had so far. We hope you find them inspiring!

Apply here!


This season’s Nursery Originals

The Owls Are Not What They Seem

The Owls Are Not What They Seem invites you into a strange little town in Washington State, replete with strange inhabitants and ventures into the unknown. Loosely by the groundbreaking television works of David Lynch, each unscripted episode will chart a brand new hidden mystery in a sleepy town torn apart by the forces of good and evil.

Directed by Audra Goffeney and Jonah Fazel. This event is not endorsed, sponsored or affiliated with Twin Peaks Productions, Inc., David Lynch, CBS or Showtime Networks Inc. or the TWIN PEAKS franchise.

Performances: Friday 6th October (preview), Friday 3rd November, Friday 10th November, Friday 17th November, Friday 1st December


United is an improvisation show played with the energy of a sports match and the spirit of a sports team. No polite applause here; the United squad are going to ignite the crowd. We’ll cheer for scenes like they’re goals, roar for the actors like they’re athletes, and turn the theatre into a stadium.

 Directed by Juwel Haque.

Performances: Saturday 4th November (preview), Saturday 11th November (preview), Saturday 25th November, Saturday 2nd December, Saturday 9th December

The Dreamweaver Quartet

The Dreamweaver Quartet invite you to close your eyes and open up your third eye. The room is dark, the incense is burning, the potion we gave you is taking you into a deep state of relaxation. Now tell us of your strangest dreams and we shall make them manifest through music, dance and storytelling.

Directed by James Witt.

Performances: Friday 10th November (preview), Friday 17th November (preview), Friday 1st DecemberFriday 8th DecemberFriday 15th December