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About Third Angel

Third Angel is a theatre company making exciting 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, 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 is led by the two Artistic Directors and founders, Rachael Walton and Alexander Kelly. The company’s shows are devised 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.

Governance & Key Documents

Third Angel is a Registered Charity, and a Company Limited by Guarantee.

Adrian Friedli (Chair)
Edenamiuki Aiguobasinmwin
Naomi Cosgrove
Sophie Hunter
Jessica O’Neill
Rachel Perry
Sarah Sharp
Tommi Bryson
Liliya Filippova (Trainee Trustee)
Find out more about our Board here.

You can find our key documents and annual reports here

Company Secretary
Hilary Foster

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, Selina Thompson, Denise Pitter, Fiona Paul and Lucie Dowling.

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

Writers: Geraldine Harris, Dee Heddon and Jorge Louraço Figueira

Graphic Designers: DED Associates, Ben Weaver, Rocca Creative, Studio Dust, Daniel Fletcher, Wayne Gamble, Gemma Homer

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’s two Artistic Directors, Rachael Walton and Alexander Kelly oversee the devising, writing, performing, designing and directing of each show. Usually a project will be led more strongly by one AD, and the exact roles on each piece vary from project to 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

Umar Butt
Hannah Butterfield
Nick Chambers
Lucy Ellinson
Nicki Hobday
Jerry Killick
Gillian Jane Lees
Laura Lindsay
Stacey Sampson
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 Má Criação.

Executive Director
Laura Holmes

Executive Producer
Hilary Foster

Projects & Communications Co-ordinator
Jonathan Fry

Community Producer
Stacey Sampson

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, articles and online resources:

Growtheatre and Third Angel empower young people to achieve Arts Award success during COVID-19 lockdown
IVE Case Study, 2021
> Great article by Laura Bloor about our Arts Award work with Growtheatre and young people in Sheffield.

Oberon Books, 2020.
> Full script of our 2018/19 show, plus background information on the making of the show.

THERE’S A ROOM: Three Performance Texts by Third Angel
Oberon Books, 2019.
> The texts for Where From Here, Presumption and What I Heard About the World, plus introductory essays for each show. Buy it here!

A Piece of Metal: Parts of Third Angel’s Parts For Machines That Do Things
Alexander Kelly & Chris Thorpe
Performance Research: Staging The Wreckage
Gianna Bouchard & Patrick Duggan (Eds.)
Taylor & Francis/Routledge, 2019.
> Artists’ Pages article about Parts For Machines That Do Things.

The Twenty-First Century Performance Reader
Teresa Brayshaw, Anna Fenemore & Noel Witts (Eds.)
Routledge, 2019.
> Includes a version of our lecture text Testing The Hypothesis, covering the making of numerous Third Angel projects, notably those concerned with time, distance and memory, including Class of ‘76, 9 Billion Miles From HomeLeave No Trace, Standing Alone Standing Together, Realtime, Hurrysickness, A Perfect Circle and Presumption

Staging Loss: Performance as Commemoration
Michael Pinchbeck & Andrew Westerside (Eds.)
Palgrave Macmillan, 2018.
> Includes Cheers Grandad! Third Angel’s The Lad Lit Project and Cape Wrath as Acts of Remembrance.

Making Postdramatic Theatre
Tracy Crossley & Niki Woods (Eds.) 
Digital Theatre+, 2018.
> Includes Text Templates, a series of devising exercises by Alexander Kelly & Rachael Walton.

Sheffield Stars: local lives are at the heart of Yorkshire’s theatre
Catherine Love
The Guardian, 2018.
> includes interview with Rachael Walton about the making of Inherited Cities.

Interview with Rachael Walton (Third Angel)
Phil Cleaves
Essential Drama, 2018.
> Includes discussion of Third Angel’s devising processes, and numerous shows from the company’s entire career.

Contemporary Portuguese Theatre: Criticism and Performance (2010 - 2016)
Francesca Rayner
Edições Colibri, 2017.
> Includes the chapter Performance as (Re)construction: mala voadora and Third Angel’s Projeto Paraíso / The Paradise Project.

Performative Experience Design
Jocelyn Spence
Springer, 2016
> Includes extensive discussion of Class of ‘76 and Cape Wrath.

Rachael Walton: actor & producer
Georgia Snow
The Stage, 2015.
> short interview with Rachael Walton about making The Life & Loves of a Nobody.

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 ProjectPresumption and The Lad Lit Project. Free e-print access here.

Why UK theatre should look beyond its borders
Lyn Gardner
The Guardian Theatre blog, 2014.
> Discussion of international collaborations, including our work with mala voadora

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 ThingsPresumption and What I Heard About The World.

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

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. Free e-print access here.

Now, where was I? Negotiating time in digitally augmented autobiographical performance
Jocelyn Spence, Stuart Andrews & David Frohlich
Journal of Media Practice, 13.3.
Taylor & Francis 2012.
> Includes substantial discussion of Class of ‘76 and Cape Wrath.

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. 

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.

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

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.

Lad Trouble
Andrea Ochsner
Transcript Verlag, 2009.
> Subtitled ‘Masculinity and Identity in the Male Confessional Novel of the 1990s’, this contains an epilogue discussing The Lad Lit Project.

Nudity, talc and twitching pigs? It must be the National Review of Live Art
Mark Fisher
The Guardian, 2009.
> Centres around a reflection/review of 9 Billion Miles From Home.

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

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 Autobiographical Performance.

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 Postmodern Performance.

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.

“Consistently innovative and challenging…
extraordinary performances.”

The Times

There's lots more information about making and touring Third Angel projects 2008-2017 on our original blog, and 2017-2023 on the blog on this site.