Nursery Originals

Every season we present a number of exciting new productions, developed by improvisers from across the community with support from The Nursery. If you have an idea for a show like this and you’d like our support, we’d love to hear from you. 

By Chris Mead, Co-Artistic Director N.O programme

“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.

Oh, BTW, did you hear? We have a new theatre now. Which means… we’re back”. 

I have a genius idea – How do I apply?

We’re not currently taking submissions for new Nursery Originals, but do check this website and our social media posts for opportunities to develop your show ideas with us. 

Here are some of the shows we’ve been privileged to call Nursery Originals. Do you have an idea for a show that could join this little hall of fame? 

A splinter in time sends us back to the 1970s as a documentary crew from the British Broadwaving Corporation begins an exclusive and dangerous assignment: document life Behind the Scenes at Studio Mandelbrot (Revenge of the Jedi, A Toy’s Story). Despite operating with a near monopoly over the planet’s creative output, rumours persist of an eccentric and chronically underfunded work environment where underperforming staff disappear with a trace. Worse still, it’s reported that the studio’s latest flagship production might be undergoing last-minute revisions… 

Directed by Harry Turnbull and Robert Armstrong.  


The Hero’s Journey – The kingdom is under threat. The corrupt king’s knights gallop across the land extorting innocent peasants, the Witch of the Eastern Forest has lost her most precious enchanted sword, and, to top it all off, there have been reports of a vast and hungry dragon circling the stormy skies. The realm only has one hope left – the ancient prophecy, many moons ago, foretold the coming of a hero, and their name is… oh, damn it all, who was it again? 

Join a merry troupe of bards at Ye Olde Nursery Tavern (er, Theatre), as we tell an epic comedic tale of heroism, adventure, and magic. 

Directed by Vicky Hawley.  

Magicked! – Everyone loves Harry Potter, and in tribute to the world’s favourite pubescent wizard, each show assumes the form of an improvised tribute to Harry Potter. Featuring spells, adventures, heroes and villians; everything you remember… and perhaps a little more.

Directed by Jules Munns.



Acaprov – Hamilton meets Pitch Perfect… spontaneously improvised! Imagine a new kind of improvised musical: beatboxers, rappers, singers and body percussionists all of whom happen to be talented actors, coming together a capella to improvise a fresh new musical improv show that you’ll never forget!

Directed by Lisa Lynn.



Some kind of catastrophe has befallen the Fauna of Penny Forest. Will they rise up and overcome it, flee to pastures new, or die horribly? (You never know.) Come along and uncover/decide their fate in this colourful (mostly green) tale of triumph and trepidation, with an eclectic cast of slimy, scaly, feathered and furry friends, all chosen by you the audience!

Directed by James Le Lacheur.



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.



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 Mansfield.

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.



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.



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.



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 inspired 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 Jonah Fazel and Audra Goffeney.

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. 



Photos 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 Flashbulb, we answer them.

Directed by Max Dickins.


[EMOTION] Play – Look 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.

Directed by Chris Mead.

open roads small

An 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.

Directed by 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.

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. 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.

Directed by Jules Munns.