Walking the Tightrope: The tension between art and politics

Offstage and Underbelly Productions in association with Theatre Uncut and the FreeWord Centre

Walking the Tightrope played at Theatre Deli January 2015, and then transferred to the Underbelly for entirety of the Edinburgh Festival 2015.


I ★★★★ The Scotsman I

I ★★★★★ British Theatre Guide I

I ★★★★★ edfringe review I

I ★★★★ Time Out I

I ★★★★ http://www.theatrebubble.com I

I ReviewsGate - Carole Woddis I
"Brown’s Walking the Tightrope is clearly a labour not just of love but passion, created on a shoestring, by a stirling, hard-working and very versatile cast of seven. Amazingly, Brown herself directed the majority of the plays supplemented by colleague Kirsty Housley.
Housed in a make-shift space on a plain wooden stage, in the old Guardian building in London’s Clerkenwell/Farringdon area,
the context only added to the strange frisson of an event of artistic worth and intense moral questioning."

I ★★★★ http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk I
"Bravo to producer Cressida Brown, her group Offstage Theatre and collaborates Theatre Uncut for bringing Walking The Tightrope to the stage. It truly entertains while challenging, and that is no mean feat!"

I ★★★★★ http://www.themetropolist.com I
"An explosive surgery of freedom of expression"
"Walking The Tightrope is an incredibly important production.
As crocodiles gather below and landmines wait ahead, the tightrope between arts and politics is becoming increasingly dangerous
– it bellies the need for artists to become philosophers. Thankfully Offstage Theatre has risen to the challenge."

I ★★★★ http://femalearts.com I
"Brave storytelling", "Remarkable", "Intrepid."
"A great project and the director-curator, Cressida Brown, should be delighted with what she’s achieved."
“You become part of a much larger and greater discourse by simply being in the audience."

I ★★★★ EverythingTheatre I
"The twelve works are incredibly varied in their subject matter, interpretation and comment on the issue. Often light hearted and illuminating, sometimes cryptic and incisive, the writers infuse their own take on the commission, bouncing the audience through the unrelated scenes, charging the production with provocative energy."

I http://www.independent.co.uk I
"It felt tricky, dangerous, stimulating,  discomfiting – what serious theatre is for, in other words"

I Independent feature I

I The Guardian I

I http://www.britishtheatreguide I

Directors: Cressida Brown and Kirsty Housley
Assistant Director: Grace Gummer
Production Manager and Lighting Designer: Richard Williamson
Sound Designer: Daniel Balfour
Producer: Ruby Glaskin

Cast: Naomi Ackie, Philip Arditti, Stephen Fewell, Becci Gemmell, Syrus Lowe, and Melissa Woodbridge

With special thanks to Jokers Masquerade for costume support


I Click here to learn why Walking The Tightrope started I

Click here to read why Cress started the project: I https://www.freewordcentre.com/explore I

CLICK Here for Radio 4 interview:

Offstage Theatre, in association with Theatre Uncut, have commissioned playwrights Caryl Churchill, Ryan Craig, April De Angelis, Tim Fountain, Hannah Khalil, Neil LaBute, Hattie Naylor, Gbolahan Obisesan, Julia Pascal, Evan Placey, Mark Ravenhill and Sarah Solemani to respond with five minute plays to issues of censorship and boycotts in the arts. Arising from events and decisions made by Underbelly, Exhibit B and Tricycle in 2014, this assortment of plays will explore contrasting views on Freedom of Expression in the UK arts today.

Panelists and Chairs included: Julia Farrington (Belarus Free Theatre), David Lan (Young Vic), April De Angelis, Louise Jeffreys (Barbican), Jeffrey Horowitz (Theatre for a New Audience, New York), Gboholan Obisesen, Bidisha Mamata (journalist and presenter) Natalia Kaliada - Belarus Free Theatre , Rose Fenton Free Word, Naomi Wimborne-Idrissi - Artists have a right to say no,  Charlie Wood - Underbelly , Tim Fountain - Commissioned Writer , Jodie Ginsberg Index on Censorship, Steven Erlanger - New York Times, Julia Pascal, Mike Harris/Padraig Reidy - 89up, Jess Worth - BP or not BP , Jeremy Edwards (Activatist) Mike Harris (89up) Padraig Reidy - 89up, Chris Thorpe, Mark Ravenhill.

Walking The Tightrope: The tension between art and politics is produced by Offstage Theatre, in association with Theatre Uncut, and supported by Free Word and their free expression residents and associates: English PEN, 89up and Index.

I www.freewordcentre.com I

Of the project Neil LaBute said:
"I'm hugely excited to be a part of Walking the Tightrope - a collection of short plays
by a group of terrific writers about the freedom of expression. I feel really lucky to be
included as this theme has always been an important one in my own work and the
form that is being used - the five minute play - is a wonderful and difficult one to
master. If you care about humanity, then you care about the arts. If you care about
the arts, you need to support this kind of work. In my mind, there is nothing that can't
be said or seen on the stage. I think Walking the Tightrope intends to prove that
many times over, five minutes at a time."

Theatre Uncut was created to spark debate and encourage political engagement. Originally established in 2011 as a response to the cuts announced by the Coalition.

I www.theatreuncut.com I