I am the Artistic Director of Excavate, a community theatre company that has produced work for twenty years, involving thousand of local people in ambitious and often provocative plays that examine the stories, histories, culture and identity of communities across the East Midlands.
I have also written widely for stage and radio and have had a number of main stage and touring plays produced by the Nottingham Playhouse. Michael Billington was appreciative of my version of Ibsen's The League of Youth, the first ever professional production of this early play in the UK ('Andy Barrett has done an excellent job') and Libby Purves selected Dolly, produced by New Perspectives, and premiered at Leicester's Curve Theatre, as one of the top ten shows of 2010. The Allotment, also produced by New Perspectives, was shortlisted for the Amnesty International Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 2006; and Garage Band first produced by the Nottingham Playhouse, also had a three week run at The Mercury Theatre, Colchester. Tony's Last Tape, based on the Benn diaries, has toured across the U.K including a performance at the House of Commons.
My work for radio began when my BBC Radio Nottingham series Lily's Years was the winner of a Sony Award. Work for Radio Four includes an adaptation of Robinson Crusoe and His Farther Adventures for the Classic Serial slot; and The Perfect Wood starring Geoffrey Palmer and Stephanie Cole.
My international collaborations have included writing The Story Traders of Sichuan, a collaboration between theatre makers in Nottingham and Chengdu which was part of the Cultural Olympiad; When You Whisper I Imagine, with three playwrights from Eastern Europe for the European Theatre Convention in 2010; and a series of ongoing projects with the ex artistic director of the National Theatre of Kosovo, Jeton Neziraj.
I am increasingly involved in performance projects that engage with international research, especially those engaged with basti communities in India with whom I have worked (or am working) on a number of major projects funded by the GCRF.
I have worked as a mentor for a number of community based performers and companies, helping them to develop projects and create texts in response to local research.
As a theatre maker I have been involved in a large number of action research projects, including acting as a consultant on international research work.
I currently teach the Applied Performance module for second year Performance and Education students at De Montfort University.
Over the years I have taught various modules at undergraduate level, including Theatre Devising and Writing for Performance. I have also acted as a supervisor on a number of MA dissertations.
I regularly run writing, drama, and heritage research based workshops with a wide range of community groups.
I am currently investigating the community play, specifically looking at what such a model looks like in 2015 (and onwards) and how it got here. My work is particularly interested in the actual… read more
I am currently investigating the community play, specifically looking at what such a model looks like in 2015 (and onwards) and how it got here. My work is particularly interested in the actual scripts of the plays; moving from the first community plays of the Ann Jellicoe period; through the explosion of this form of play through the nineties; and into and through the lottery and New Labour period. Although there has been an attempt to archive community play material this has not continued past 2000 and so part of my research will aim to rectify this and to map what has been happening in the field over the past fifteen years. I wonder if the community play model that originated in the South West in the late seventies, and which at its time of inception was seen as a truly potent form of theatre, has vanished or if it has mutated into different forms under funding and political pressures. It seems to me that many of the original concerns of the community play are still at play and that the form may be carrying on under the radar, and without the ability to learn from its own history because of a lack of investigation.