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


...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 has 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 appears 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 requires an intimate claustrophobic situation, needs only minimal technical support and because of its length (40 mins) can be played twice in an evening. Contact us on 07958 617837 for further details.

A collaboration between Jonathan Holloway (founder: Red Shift), Graeme Rose (co-founder: Stan's Cafe) and the Company using original dialogue and excerpts from John Milton's Paradise Lost

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.

Way back when...

The Red Shift Back Catalogue

2010 revival of NOSFERATU THE VISITOR by E15

2010 saw revivals of VERTIGO by Oxfordshire Theatre Company and NOSFERATU THE VISITOR by E15 Acting School. In 2011 GET CARTER was twice revived by companies working in London and at the Brighton and Edinburgh Festivals. In 2012 there are plans for productions of NICHOLAS NICKLEBY, LES MISERABLES and VERTIGO. Red Shift has been producing new plays, adaptations and classics for 27 years. Much of this back catalogue is available for companies and producers, professional and amateur. Please feel free to go to the History section of the website and, if you are interested in discussing new opportunities for any of the work, then please do get in touch.

Red Shift History

Other excursions...

Red Shift's Jonathan Holloway is a frequent contributor to BBC Radio 3 & 4, the world's most prolific and popular venues for new drama

Fortunes of War (eps 4, 5 & 6) adapted by J Holloway from the novels by Olivia Manning. The climax of a naive couples' adventures as they flee the Nazi advance across Europe and into Africa. Cast inc Joanna Lumley. B

Wuthering Heights A radical reinterpretation of this great story in which Holloway celebrates Cathy's obssessive all-consuming passion as a prime example of the extremities that make life worth living. Features Natalie Press as Cathy. review

 The Old Spies An original comic drama imaging life after MI5, and on the doorstep of dementia. With Clive Swift, Eleanor Bron, John Nettles & Rachel Atkins.

The Kane Conspiracy Exploring the nail-biting build up to the 1942 Oscars during which the FBI tried to acquire and destroy every existing print of Citizen Kane. Broadcast Sept 2010 and January 2012

 ALL PASSION SPENT Adaptation of the 1931 novel by Vita Sackville-West. An aged widow defies her children to embark on an independent life and a peculiar relationship with an admirer from long ago. Starring Honor Blackman.

REP Actor George Friendly has just started work in one of Britain's last surviving seaside repertory theatres. His first part is in Clubfoot the Avenger, and he thinks he knows how the rest of the summer is going to go. Cast inc Jay Villiers, Lucy Liemann, Michael Fenton Stevens. .

THE QUEST reimagining the Grail Quest. With Julian Rhind-Tutt (Green Wing) and Mark Gatiss (League of Gentlemen). "Jonathan Holloway’s Arthurian world is about as far away from the familiar one as was his version of Faust in this same slot not long ago. In other words, he deconstructs, reshuffles, updates and astonishes, and all to make us see the heart of the story more clearly. It works too. Julian Rhind-Tutt, again, plays the lead with Mark Gatiss as Merlin. " - Gillian Reynolds, The Daily Telegraph.

TThe Railway Siding Holloway's moody and moving ghost story set on the overnight train from Fishguard to London, with Sam Dale, Lydia Leonard, Ewan Hooper and Mark Lewis. Now a theatre play published by Samuel French. Critic's Choice in Time Out, The Observer and The Telegraph


 A Night with Johnny Stompanato Hard-boiled Hollywood drama based on the true story of the stabbing of superstar Lana Turner's boyfriend Johnny Stampanato by her daughter Cheryl.























































































































2014 will be a year of consolidation and rumination for Red Shift. We are working with Royal Holloway University of London on a unique archiving project creating a searchable database that will be entertaining to visit and useful to emerging and established practitioners.

2013 was a terrific year. 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 alongside Jessica Edwards' Flipping the Bird, returning to the Edinburgh Festival in 2013 with yet another hugely popular show - Jekyll and Hyde - which then successfully transferred to London's Southwark Playhouse. See the gorgeous trailer here.

"... 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 *****


Red Shift was founded in 1982 by Director Jonathan Holloway (click for biog) and Designer Charlotte Humpston. The company has toured all over the world and given over 3,000 performances in studios, major theatres, tents and parks. It has travelled 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 and Australia. "Red Shift does the shows people want to see" - Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. Click here to enter Website.

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. The show is now available for performances embedded in event crowds. If you are interested please write to us at "Five stars are not enough for this polished, multifaceted, flawless, 24-carat rose diamond of a show."

Press reaction speaks 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."

Invisible Show II at The Latitude Festival 2011

Red Shift Theatre Company
The Invisible Show II
conceived, written and directed by
Jonathan Holloway
composition and sound design by
Jonathan McLeod


Stephanie Day First worked with Jonathan Holloway in Red Shift's 'The Fall of Man' at the 2009 Edinburgh Festival. Recent projects include developing four short biblical plays written, adapted and directed by Steven Berkoff at the Hampstead Theatre; visiting the 1950's performing in five plays at Connaught Productions' Frinton Summer Theatre; working with Kevin Spacey on short films produced by Old Vic New Voices; shooting Bohemian Pictures' latest project, 'Half Dead', which screened in June at BAFTA Piccadilly, and has been selected for this year's Raindance Film Festival. Stephanie is currently writing for performance and has been cast in Bohemian Pictures' first feature film.

Jill Dowse was a team member on Red Shift's first Invisible Show in 2010. She trained at Exeter University, with Monika Pagneux and at CSSD. She is a theatre, voice and music practitioner, and co-artistic director of The Bone Ensemble. In 1987 she co-founded Foursight Theatre, with whom she has created many performances and is now an Associate Artist. Recent work includes Forever in Your Debt (Talking Birds/Foursight), Can Any Mother Help Me? (Foursight), Car Park Show No. 1 (a site-specific piece for the Humber Mouth Festival 2008), Thatcher the Musical (song writer), Voice In-Site, Again, and Blah Blah Blah (devised solo pieces), vocal provocateur for Kindle’s The Furies, performance R & D for The Fermata (Det Andet Teater, Denmark/Roy Hart Theatre, France) and a Sound/Duskwalk for the Fruitmarket area of Hull (commissioned by Seeds & Bridges). She is currently working on The Black Gremlin, an intimate, voice-led solo piece. Jill is also a lecturer in Drama at the University of Hull.

James Rallison Studied Acting at Cambridge School Of Visual and Performing Arts (2006-2007), where he played the role of Osip in The Government Inspector at the Junction Theatre, Cambridge. Then went on to study at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts (2007-2010) where he received The Peter Coxhead Memorial Scholarship. During training James' roles included Lee (Motortown, Simon Stephens) and Patsy (The Winterling, Jez Butterworth). Graduated in June 2010 with a First and since leaving projects have I included 'Where's Your Line?' - a Viral for the Haven Centres , 'Streetz Ahead' which was piloted around secondary schools in North London, 'John Tate' in Dennis Kelly's DNA (Courtyard Theatre), and working with Sidebar Films ( Virgin Media Shorts competition).

Graeme Rose A performer / theatre-maker committed to developing innovative, collaborative work. Co-founder of Stan's Cafe and The Resurrectionists, he is also associate artist with Bodies in Flight and a regular with Red Shift and Talking Birds. Ongoing projects with Stan's Cafe includes the internationally renowned OATP(The Rice Show), THE CLEANSING OF CONSTANCE BROWN and THE CARDINALS (touring spring 2012). Other recent work includes VESALIUS - A REQUIEM (restaged last year at RIAus, Adelaide); MODEL LOVE, KRAPP'S LAST TAPE & DREAM/WORK(Bodies in Flight); FOREVER IN YOUR DEBT (Talking Birds /Foursight Theatre) and THE Q (Talking Birds). This is Graeme's 5 th Red Shift production, following LES MISERABLES, THE ASPERN PAPERS, HAMLET: FIRST CUT and THE FALL OF MAN (Edinburgh 2009). He has been on the Company's Board since 2002. He has directed Kindle Theatre's latest project THE FURIES and is a band member of circuit-bending sensations The Modified Toy Orchestra.

Emma Rees
assistant producer
Lydia Barrett
assistant director
Jessica Edwards