Red Shift: 30 years of innovation and intense touring throughout the UK and internationally

Red Shift's first Time Out review 1983: "99.9% pure theatrical magic"

Red Shift Theatre Company

The Red Shift Back Catalogue

Red Shift's substantial back catalogue is regularly revisited by other artists and companies. Enquiries regarding this resource and Jonathan Holloway's work can be submitted to jonathanhollowayprojects at gmail dot com (written like this to avoid spam)
Red Shift has been producing new plays, adaptations and classics for 30 years. Much of this back catalogue is available for companies and producers, professional and amateur. Please go to the History section of the website where you will find a selection of titles. Professional theatre companies, students and amateurs have recently revived

also ...In 2010


Celebrated by press and public at the Edinburgh Festival 2009, June/July 2010 saw Red Shift touring this unusually intimate, hard-hitting 'micro' theatre piece to Bristol's Tobacco Factory, Taunton's Brewhouse Theatre and Lincoln's Drill Hall Arts Centre where it was again lauded by audiences and industry observers. In 2012 Chicago's Right Brain Project made their own production in a converted industrial unit near Lake Michigan. Chicago Theater Beat **** "Holloway has managed to find a wry sweet spot between pathetically predictable characters and a timeless masterpiece" New City Stage Recommended "That's why Jonathan Holloway's update/homage is so compelling; we see how relevant Milton's themes remain today. Holloway intersperses segments of Milton's epic "Paradise Lost," detailing Adam and Eve's fall, within the narrative of married businessman Peter (Corey Noble) and nanny Veronica (Anna Robinson) who contemplate and then conduct an affair."

click here for press release and photos

click here for reviews

The Fall of Man played to full houses following Red Shift's decision to move away from conventional touring and, at least for a while, create new work sensitive to locations and contexts. It was generally agreed the show confirmed the company's position at the forefront of UK practice previously established over 27 years of innovation.

"It is not the way that the tale pans out to its eventual and inevitable sordid end that matters, so much as the way the story is told. Working with only a bed, three simple lights and Sarah Llewellyn's insistent soundscape, the production creates an intense intimacy that implicates its audience; you feel slightly soiled watching it. It also boasts two assured and brave performances". - Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

The Scotsman: * * * * (featured Hot Show) "they have created another provocative piece - on the surface a small story of a briefly lived-out relationship, but more fundamentally, a tribute to the kind of fleeting passions that make life worth living." Three Weeks: * * * * "A bold, impressively performed production that endows a difficult literary work with graphic contemporary resonance." * * * * "In the intimate space, barely lit by small domestic light bulbs, good performances are drawn from both performers in this strong hard hitting performance" Metro: * * * * "Casting the audience as voyeurs by having us cluster round their bed, this is a branding iron of sex and guilt." * * * * "This is a superbly inventive and beautifully adapted piece that grips the audience in a vice and refuses to let them escape." The List: "powerful body language, unnerving music, and the clash of native and non-native idioms and priorities create loaded moments", Fringe "sexy and gratuitous, combining a fun romp with the sometimes fraught politics of sexual relationships, and make this piece delightfully watchable despite the sometimes heavy emotional content", Broadway Baby: "with strong language, nudity and sexual situations. The audience surrounds the stage on three sides and is very close, giving a strong sense of immediacy and reality to the performances. It feels like we’re eavesdropping on something very private and intense.", Fest/The Skinny: "Since the early 1980s, Red Shift has gained a reputation for innovative theatre and this latest piece comes as no exception... unfalteringly bold in simulating sex and violence... Performed in the round against an intimate set comprising just a single bed, this is never gratuitous, simply visceral."

The show required an intimate claustrophobic situation, needed only minimal technical support and because of its length (40 mins) could be played twice in an evening.

The Story: Sited in the bed-sitting room of Slovenian child minder Veronica. Visited in the early hours by Peter - father of the children she nannies - we watch their adulterous relationship fall apart in near darkness. An intense theatrical experience played with the audience huddled around their single bed. Unforgiving in its explicit physicality and emotional depth. Skirmishing across issues of the actor-audience relationship. High tragedy in a tiny domestic environment. Huge words. Throwaway remarks. Candid love-making eclipsed by mistrust. Red Shift welcomed Graeme Rose back to the company for this ambitious risk-taking event: Graeme is a theatre-maker committed to developing innovative, collaborative work. A co-founder of companies Glory what Glory, Stan's Cafe and The Resurrectionists, he is also associate artist with Bodies in Flight, and has worked repeatedly with the likes of Insomniac Prods, Talking Birds and Red Shift.













































































































Red Shift Theatre Company is now de-registered.
The name is preserved and protected by a recently
formed commercial production company called
Red Shift Theatre Productions.

Red Shift was founded in 1982 by Director Jonathan Holloway (click for biog) and Designer Charlotte Humpston. The company toured extensively throughout the UK and visited Ireland, the Middle and Far East, North Africa and South America. Its past work has been revisited by companies and producers in the UK, North America, Australia and the Far East. "Red Shift does the shows people want to see" - Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Click here to enter website, last updated Dec 2014.

2014 saw Red Shift working with Royal Holloway University of London creating a home for the company's physical and digital archives, which are now in the university's possession. We anticipate the collection, which covers the company's thirty years of trading, will be a useful resource for students and practitioners, particularly those interested in exploring the organisational and artistic practicalities of touring. The company name remains protected by law.

2013 was our final year appearing in public. Artistic Director Jonathan Holloway won a First Prize at the Prix Italia for his BBC version of Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four and we have been very proud to work contributing to and supporting Jessica Edwards' company Flipping the Bird, and in so doing return to the Edinburgh Festival in 2013 with yet another hugely popular show - Jekyll and Hyde - which then successfully transferred to London's Southwark Playhouse.

"... a mysterious Austrian female doctor and the lawyer Utterson her enslaved lover, then frame the whole thing as a lunatic's memoirs being sold by a seedy dealer to a porn-merchant in a dim London alley, who play sinister music ... while the protagonists enact a dreadful tale. Jonathan Holloway's new play for Flipping the Bird is clever, creepily melodramatic and beautifully realised" - Libby Purves, The Times ****
"Jonathan Holloway doesn't seem to have understood that the Edinburgh Fringe is supposed to be characterised by haphazard lack of preparation and poor performances of terrible scripts. [put] this new version of Robert Louis Stevenson's dark classic .. in a ..West End house, it might well have .. a respectable run. .. Jekyll & Hyde is bound to win awards .. It comes highly recommended."
- Philip Fisher, The British Theatre Guide *****
"This is cracking theatre - a genuinely unexpected gem of a show. The whole production is pitch perfect, and the twist in the tale is unexpected, original and exciting. If I was off to Edinburgh Fringe, I'd see it again!" - Everything Theatre ****
"a thoroughly polished piece which left me wanting to see it immediately again. Undeniably brilliant all round" - viewsfromthegods *****

In 2011...

Red Shift Theatre Company in association with Pleasance Theatre presented

Invisible Show II

In the open air at The Pleasance Courtyard for the Edinburgh Festival 2011 where it was immediately embraced by audiences and the media. "Five stars are not enough for this polished, multifaceted, flawless, 24-carat rose diamond of a show."

Press reaction spoke for itself: *****
"This outstandingly touching and beautiful show is desperately simple. Four actors playing invisible people with invisible lives full of passion, sadness and hope are hidden among the milling crowds at the Pleasance Courtyard … as the tales of family and of love, requited and unrequited, unfold, you begin to exchange glances with other spectators who've also found the action, as if sharing some impossibly beautiful secret. The whole thing is heartfelt, touching and real beyond any imagining. The actors' courage and commitment is simply staggering. Five stars are not enough for this polished, multifaceted, flawless, 24-carat rose diamond of a show."
Edinburgh Festivals Magazine ****
"Set to dream-like music, the action begins with a crackling voice appearing over the headphones mid-conversation on a mobile. Looking for the face behind the fretful exchange is like looking for a needle in a haystack: you can see every headphone-clad figure scanning the crowd, straining to find their man. Spotting the performers is part of the joy of the Invisible Show II, and throws up all sorts of brilliant mental games and intrigues … your experience of the courtyard will never be the same again! Magnificent."
Fest Magazine ****
"… over the hour, vignettes unfold amidst the mainly unknowing punters. Relationships disintegrate, love takes its first fumbling steps, hearts are broken, lives shattered. As well as listening to the realistic and brilliantly performed script, part of the fun is trying to locate where the embedded actors are. Is that them by the bar? In the corner sobbing? … provides a human reminder that sometimes the greatest of dramas happen not to actors in theatres, but to people on every bustling street across the land. And ultimately even to us."
The Edinburgh Reporter ****
"Handed a pair of headphones, you're sent out into the crowded Pleasance Courtyard where you try to track down the people whose voices you hear in your ears. … the show is a profoundly moving experience, a call for empathy, and a reminder of our common humanity."

The Guardian "It's an ingenious idea … this piece is woven into the fabric of everyday life: is that woman talking on her mobile an actor or a real person? Surely that girl sitting at the table having a row with her boyfriend must be part of the show? Or maybe not. Gradually, the show comes into focus, and it's like eavesdropping on a series of tiny explosive conversations, fragments of everyday life … this little show sings with potential."
The Scotsman "The best bits are when real life and fiction merge: a character passing a flyer to an unknowing member of the public, a man interrupting a scene and not realising it's a show. When the show ends, we applaud the actress from the final scene and share a connection made all the more special by the fact the majority of the people around us are oblivious to it."
Three Weeks "I know a secret. The man on the bench knows it too. As does the woman by the bar. I'd never laid eyes on either of them before I stepped into Pleasance courtyard this afternoon, but now we're all in this together - along with another 20 or so strangers, wearing conspicuous black headphones. Eyes darting around the courtyard searching for the body that matches the voice in my ears, it's realism taken to another level; like having your favorite soap played out live in front of you. And the acting's better. The action's fast-paced, slick and gripping; the only problem is I'm left wanting more." "At this year's Latitude Festival, I came across a big group of people in headphones, all staring into the same faraway spot, wearing the same facial expression. The crowd was in fact a theatre audience, watching The Invisible Show, which comes to Edinburgh this year for the first time. The concept is ingenious - audience members wear wireless headphones and stand in a crowd where the performers themselves are acting. You can watch the action, if you find where the actors are, or treat it as a radio play and find a spot to sit, stand or lie back and listen. The first scene is about a couple about to go see The Invisible Show, and this is used to tell the audience what the show is. This worked well as a clever introduction, and felt as real, or as "drenched in humanity" as the characters hoped the show would be. One of the best scenes was an exchange between two young festival goers, who after meeting six hours ago, were gripped by summer love … gestures and voices became much smaller, and an intimate naturalism emerged … be sure to catch this rare chance."