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About Third Angel

Third Angel is a theatre company making entertaining and original contemporary performance that speaks directly, honestly and engagingly to its audience. Established in Sheffield in 1995, the company makes work that encompasses performance, theatre, live art, installation, film, video art, documentary, photography and design. We use styles, techniques and interests discovered in our more experimental work for other spaces, to create new theatre that plays with conventional forms while remaining accessible to a mainstream audience.

Third Angel has shown work in theatres, galleries, cinemas, office blocks, car parks, swimming baths, on the internet and TV, in school halls, a damp cellar in Leicester and a public toilet in Bristol. The company has shown work at festivals and venues across the UK, mainland Europe and further afield, including Germany, Hungary, Switzerland, Belgium, Portugal, France, Spain, Russia, Lebanon, Brazil and the USA.

Creative Learning

Third Angel’s artistic work is supported and invigorated by an active Creative Learning programme that includes practical projects with students and other artists, project supervision, mentoring, lecturing, after-show talks and discussions. Click here for more information.

We regularly take students on placements, and endeavour to answer questions about our work to help with essays, dissertations and other research. If you’d like to get in touch about that sort of thing, please read this advice first!

Inspiration and Influences

Third Angel’s shows are devised, directed and designed by the two Artistic Directors and founders, Rachael Walton and Alexander Kelly, with an expanding team of collaborators from a range of disciplines. The work carries a range of influences from the culture around us: visual art, current affairs, novels, magazines, comics, film, television, music, radio chat shows.

We believe that theatre is part of the conversation that helps people to understand their place in the world. We think that small stories are as worth telling as big stories. We are interested in the small, intimate things in life, the things that often get overlooked or swept under the carpet: the value of individual experience, the beauty to be found in the tiny details of everyday life, and the surprising emotional power of memories and places. The work draws on both fact and fantasy, autobiography and fiction. We are drawn back to the theme of escaping, or attempting to escape, from everyday life, through an exploration of memory, imagination and fantasy: the gap between your dreams and ambitions, and the reality of your day to day life.

We are interested in specialist research as a way to better understand the world around us, and we work regularly with experts from other fields, including geographers, psychologists, sociologists and astrophysicists.

In our shows the performers’ relationship with the audience is direct and intimate, but also playful. The audience are implicated, by turns, as conspirators, voyeurs and witnesses. Whilst committed to exploring ideas and asking questions, the work is not afraid to entertain and engage an audience.

“Consistently innovative and challenging…
extraordinary performances.”

The Times

Previous Collaborators include:

Performers: Phil Richford, Jamie Iddon, Tim Hall, Cathy Naden, Claire Marshall, John Rowley, Juliet Ellis, Henry Sargeant, Stewart Lodge, Jorge Vasques, Pedro Almendra, Heather Burton, Abigail Davies, Gautier About and Renaud Bechet.

Companies: Drei Wolken (Germany), Ao Cabo Teatro (Portugal)

Writers: Geraldine Harris, Dee Heddon and Jorge Louraço Figueira

Graphic Designers: DED Associates, Ben Weaver and Rocca Creative

Cinematographers and Photographers: Robert Hardy, Helen Sharma, Kate Boddington and Chris Greenwood

Composers: Alex Bradley, John Avery, Paul Keatley, Lee Sykes, Digitonal, Louie Ingham & Rob Langley 

Film and Video Editors: Annie Watson and Leon Ballin

Who/What is Third Angel?

Third Angel is the collaboration of its two Artistic Directors, Rachael Walton and Alexander Kelly. The two of us work together devising, writing, performing, designing and directing. Usually a project will be led more strongly by one or the other of us, and the exact roles on each piece vary from project to project. It can be that the one of us who is performing is still the lead director or devisor of that particular project.

We have a group of associate artists and regular collaborators, who we work with frequently, but not on every project. Usually collaborators are brought in for a particular specialism, but have an influence on other areas of the project.

Associate Artists and Regular & Current Collaborators

Deviser/performer/writers:
Hannah Butterfield
Nick Chambers
Lucie Dowling
Lucy Ellinson
Nicki Hobday
Jerry Killick
Gillian Jane Lees
Laura Lindsey
Fiona Paul
Denise Pitter
Stacey Sampson
Selina Thompson
Chris Thorpe

Christopher Hall - Filmmaker & Editor
Bethany Wells - Set and Costume Designer
Heather Fenoughty - Sound Designer & Composer
Katharine Williams - Lighting Designer
James Harrison - Lighting Designer
Ivan Mack - Sound Designer
David Mitchell - Composer & Sound Designer

We also work regularly with the Portuguese companies mala voadora and Ma Criaçao.

Executive Producer
Hilary Foster

General Manager
Rhiannon Jones

Admin and Production Trainee
Sarah Webb

Third Angel is a Company Limited by Guarantee.

Board of Directors
Julie Mitchell
Alison Moore
Jessica O’Neill
Daragh O’Reilly (Chair) 
Sarah Sharp                         

Company Secretary
Hilary Foster

Video Channel

You can watch our short films, trailers and short documentation videos on our Vimeo channel, here.

Further Reading

You can find much more about our work on our blog (and our older blog).

You can also find discussion of Third Angel’s work in the following books and articles:

Autobiography and Performance
Deirdre Heddon
Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
> Includes discussion of Class of ‘76.

The Contemporary Ensemble: Interviews with Theatre Makers
Duška Radosavljević
Routledge, 2013.
> Includes an interview with Alexander Kelly & Chris Thorpe discussing the making of Parts For Machines That Do Things, Presumption and What I Heard About The World.

Contemporary Theatre Review: New Dramaturgies
Cathy Turner & Synne K. Behrndt (Eds.)
Taylor & Francis/Routledge, 2010.
> Includes Distance Dramaturgy by Deirdre Heddon & Alexander Kelly, about the making of The Lad Lit Project.

Contemporary Theatre Review: Electoral Theatre
Stephen Bottoms (Ed.)
Taylor & Francis/Routledge, 2015
> The Backpages section includes If In Doubt: editing, devising and Third Angel, by Alexander Kelly, discussing the making of The Paradise Project, Presumption and The Lad Lit Project.

Devising in Process
Jacqueline Smart & Alex Mermikides (Eds).
Palgrave MacMillan, 2010.
> Includes lengthy discussion of the making of 9 Billion Miles From Home in the chapter The Distance Travelled by Philip Stanier. 

Devising Performance: A Critical History
Deirdre Heddon & Jane Milling
Palgrave MacMillan, 2006.
> Includes discussion of Class of ‘76 and Where From Here in the chapter on Postmodern Performance.

Journal of Writing in Creative Practice: Writing Encounters
Susan Orr and Claire Hind (Eds.)
Intellect Books, 2009.
> Includes Ghostwriting For Performance: Third Angel’s The Lad Lit Project by Alexander Kelly.

Making A Performance: Devising Histories and Contemporary Practices
Emma Govan, Helen Nicholson & Katie Normington
Routledge 2007
> Includes extensive discussion of Class of ‘76 in the chapter on Autobiographical Performance. 

The Outside Eye Project
Michael Pinchbeck, 2012.
> Includes interviews with both Rachael Walton and Alexander Kelly about approaches to dramaturgy in Third Angel’s work.

Performance Research: On Foot
Carl Lavery & Nicolas Whybrow (Eds.)
Taylor & Francis/Routledge, 2012.
> Includes The Distance Between Us, performance maps of Saved and 9 Billion Miles From Home by Alexander Kelly, Gillian Jane Lees & Rachael Walton.

Performance Research: On Value
Joslin McKinney & Mick Wallis(Eds.)
Taylor & Francis/Routledge, 2013.
> Includes Inspiration Exchange: the value of sitting opposite by Alexander Kelly.

Sinais de Cena, Vol. 2
Campo Das Letras, Portugal, December 2004 
> Includes an essay, Teaching Directing Devising, by Alexander Kelly about our education work at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation. 

Small Acts: Performance, the Millennium and the Marking of Time
Adrian Heathfield (Ed.)
Black Dog Publishing, 2000.
> Includes an essay, What Can I Tell You?, by Alexander Kelly, discussing the process of making Class of ‘76.

Testing the Hypothesis
Alexander Kelly, 2010.
> Lecture text, available for free on our blog, covering the making of numerous Third Angel projects, notably those concerned with time, distance and memory, including Class of ‘76, 9 Billion Miles From Home, Hang Up, Leave No Trace, Standing Alone Standing Together, Realtime, Hurrysickness, A Perfect Circle and Presumption

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