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Monday, 31 July 2023

See You On The Other Side

Photo by Mark Howe

See you on the other side.

That’s what we say to each other before a show. Our own ritual. Or perhaps we should say, said. That’s what we said to each other before a show. Because that’s it. Third Angel has ceased trading.

We’ve been really busy dealing with the legal, logistical and ‘wouldn’t it be nice if we could’ to-do lists in the run up to this hard deadline. And we haven’t got everything we wanted to do done, of course. The legal stuff will carry on for a few more months, but 31 July marks the end of our activity as a company. So this is a fairly practical final blogpost. Any more reflective thoughts on what it was like to close the company will have to come later.

We’ve made as much of our work available for free as we can. On this site you find show texts for:

The Paradise Project
Inherited Cities
The Lad Lit Project
Cape Wrath

The Life & Loves of a Nobody
600 People

There are full length videos up of

The Life & Loves of a Nobody
600 People
The Lad Lit Project
Cape Wrath
Hang Up

What I Heard About the World


9 Billion Miles From Home

There’s this great song from Partus.

There are short films and performances for camera and short documentations in The Film Room, including Realtime and With The Light On, which we’ve never put online before.

The scripts of Where From Here, Presumption, What I Heard About the World and The Department of Distractions continue to be available digitally on Drama Online and physically and as ebooks from Bloomsbury.

Our physical archive has been donated to the Theatre Collection at the University of Bristol. Once they have catalogued it, it will be accessible to the public and included in their online database. Their full collection is amazing and we are pleased and humbled to be part of it.

We are delighted have secured a future for Future Makers with Sharrow Community Forum, so the young people can continue to create and explore in their beloved new home of the Highfield Adventure Playground.


Thank you. Thank you to all of you collaborators, team, audiences, participants, partners, funders and supporters. It has been a pleasure and a privilege to make and share the shows and activities with you all. We have learned so much. We’re proud of what we have achieved - and we couldn’t have done it without you. 

We’re looking forward to new adventures - adventures we can only embark on because of what we have been able to do for the last 28 years.

Thank you.

Take care.

See you on the other side.

Wednesday, 2 November 2022

Watching the Detectives (again)

I’m really pleased to have a set of ‘artists pages’ in the latest edition of the journal Performance Research: Undercover (Volume 26, Issue 8)

Watching the Detectives is a case file, documenting our research into The Department of Distractions, through the show of the same name, its forerunner O Grande Livro dos Pequenos Detalhes (The Great Book of Tiny Details) and the sequel play-at-home-game, The Distraction Agents(It takes its name of course from both the Elvis Costello song, and a previous blogpost about The Department of Distractions).

Particular thanks to Fraser Stevens and James Harding for commissioning the piece, and to Becci Curtis for sterling support as always. And thanks to the support of Leeds Beckett University,Watching the Detectives is available as a free download here.

The final run of The Distraction Agents is available now, to play yourself or send as a gift! Click here for more information.

Thursday, 20 October 2022

Jim McDonnell

It is with great sadness that we share the news that one of our Trustees, Jim McDonnell, has passed away. He had been seriously ill for the last few months and died on the morning of Monday 26 September. We’ve been told he went the way he lived, with quiet grace.

Jim was a Legal Director at DLA Piper Global Law Firm, specialising in intellectual property. He brought this expertise as a Trustee and had been part of the Third Angel family since June 2018. So, obviously Jim had a mean eye for contracts. He had an enquiring mind, would drill down on various points during board meetings and hold us to account. He always did this with good humour. He was firm but fair, honest but kind.

However, Jim was much more than a Trustee, he was a dear friend and he has left a big hole in our hearts. He had a dry sense of humour, with a twinkle in his eye. Playing any kind of strategic board game (he loved playing games, so fitted in very well at Third Angel) was almost impossible, as you knew you were doomed to lose. He was always one step ahead and had the whole thing figured out while you were still trying to work out what was going on.

He leaves behind his wife Laura, whom he loved very much, their cat Fran, and whole host of friends.

We will miss him hugely, of course as a diligent and always supportive Trustee who gave such valuable input and expertise, but more because he was so much fun to spend time with. 
Jess O’Neill, Trustee, Vice-Chair
Jim was a dedicated Trustee, always inputting his ideas to the charity during meetings and on the Staff & Trustee Away Days. But more than just a Trustee in meetings, Jim was a pleasure to socialise with on the annual Third Angel Christmas Parties, especially having fun and playing games together at the Board Game Cafe. I will remember Jim’s jokes, his laugh, and his kindness in supporting others and the team. 
Sarah Sharpe, Trustee

We will miss you Jim, your final bow was far too soon.


Sunday, 3 July 2022

The Desire Paths Plymouth Day 2

We might have been undaunted at the end of Day 1, but the rain had other ideas. As we arrived at The Piazza (now Phoenix Way), the previous day’s map making was gradually dissolving in the sea mist drizzle and rain.

We re-drew the grid in the rain, and hoped it would be worth it.

It was. By midday the rain had stopped and the names of most Day 1’s streets were at least locatable. We got to work.

Fenna who is 5 years old renamed Freeman’s Wharf as PARAMEDIC ROAD as when she goes up she wants to be a Paramedic, the grown up who was with her told me that Fennas mum had been in Derriford Hospital for the last two weeks and since then she had found hospitals and Doctors and Nurses fascinating.

John had a few pints one evening a couple of years ago and as he was leaving the pub he slipped up, proper comedy style, injuring his elbow. To remember that, he wanted to rename East Take Ope as ‘I Fell Down Here Street’ but it’s a very short street, so he settled on TUMBLE STREET.

Sam and Tammy arrived together with other friends. Tammy renamed Mutley Plain TREVI ROAD, in recognition of the work Trevi do protecting vulnerable women. She and Sam are fundraising for them right now, so Sam renamed Ford Park Road SKYDIVE AVENUE, because although they’ve never been in a plane before, they’re going to jump out of one to support Trevi.

Kym & Sean moved to Plymouth to study. They met in a Geology lecture drawing Gastropods (!) and decided to stay when they graduated. 

They renamed Southern Terrace as GASTROPOD WAY.

A couple renamed the DBS building near High Street NEW BEGINNINGS after their children’s success of starting new endeavours with their studies.

Here’s a few more street names from Day 2:

Now let’s see if the weather has been kinder overnight…

Friday, 1 July 2022

The Desire Paths: Plymouth Day 1

The Desire Paths: Plymouth
Day 1
Stories from the team: Alex, Bee, Callum, Gill, Laura & Nisha:

Before we had even started drawing the grid, Phoenix approached us asking us what we were doing after observing us and prepping the space.

Phoenix renamed Armada Way (The Piazza) as PHOENIX WAY. They had told us they had changed their name after seeing and encountering a series of repeated synchronicities of the ‘phoenix’ in the past week. Marking how they had risen from the ashes and risen from certain challenges they had been facing. It was apt that this should be our first renaming of streets in Plymouth.

Jason & Juliet renamed Rusty Anchor on the West Hoe as OUR LITTLE COVE, as this is where they often go for nice romantic evenings by the sea side to watch the world go by and they are hoping to find the time to do it more often.

Kyra and Tyler renamed Wolseley Road as KYLER BOULEVARD, because they are cousins and also best friends, and they hope that is always true.

Peter renamed Notte Street DREAMER WAY, as he’s just moved down to Plymouth from the North for his partner’s work. He used to perform a lot and is now working as a social worker, but always holds theatre in his heart. He thought of “Dreamer Way” because you always have to ‘dream away’.

Chris & Charlie renamed The Box as PANDA BOX because they met there in January and have been dating ever since and Pandas are the national animal of China, where they’re both from. It was the first time Chris had ever been to Plymouth so they met on her very first trip here!

Abbott renamed Devils Point as ABBOTT’S WAY. It’s his birthday today and he has an interview at Plymouth College of Art tomorrow so he’s hoping that taking part in Desire Paths will give him good luck and help make his dreams come true.

The forecast is for rain overnight… but we are undaunted.


photo credit: picturesbybish

    what dya need books for, ur homeless.
    a “support-worker” once asked us this.
    this show is our reply.

Back in 2019, we invited gobscure to be one of the participants on the BOOST mentoring scheme. We were aware of gobscure as a writer, sean burn, having heard great things about their play joey, produced by greyscale earlier that year. 

They had approached us with their project provoked 2 madness by the brutality ov wealth, an autobiographical show about their experiences of homelessness, and an incisive take-down of various aspects of UK government and local council policy.

Over the course of a week we were able to shape about three quarters of the show, and share it with an invited audience. After that showing I think we were all sure that the project had legs. So we were delighted when gobscure was awarded funding by Arts Council England to finish making and then tour the show, and invited us to mentor the completion of it. Of course, everyone’s plans had to be rethought in the year that followed, but we were still able to open the show in a socially distanced set up at Slung Low’s brilliantly welcoming venue The Holbeck in autumn 2020.

We talked about documenting the whole show on video, but there are sections that really only work in the room live. Third Angel had recently really enjoyed working with Brett Chapman on thirteen short films for The Distraction Agents, and so we asked him if he was interested in collaborating with gobscure on making some short chapters from the show as stand-alone films.

The result is four ‘filmed-jewels’ from the show, created by gobscure, Brett Chapman, Lara Kardas, Alexander Kelly and Lindsay Nicholson at The Holbeck in autumn 2022, with the support of Third Angel and Slung Low. We launched the films online earlier this month and are proud to be able to share them here. We hope you enjoy them.

1. kicking the bucket

2. red tape saves lives

3. magic money trees

4. housing contains the word sing


Sunday, 13 March 2022

Jamie Iddon 1975 - 2022

We are deeply saddened to hear that Jamie Iddon passed away this week, aged 46. Jamie worked with us as a deviser performer in 1997 - 98 and was integral to the creation of our shows Experiment Zero and Senseless. He was a pleasure to work with, a charismatic performer and great company. He was also a man of many parts, going on to become a chef and a member of the RAF. Our thoughts are with his family and friends. Rest in peace, Jamie.

Image: Jamie and Rachael in the publicity image for Senseless, by Rob Hardy.

Monday, 3 January 2022

Crossing the Circle - new article

We are pleased to start 2022 with an update from Rob Fellman, our resident archivist and PhD candidate with the University of Sheffield! Over to Rob:

Their ‘web’ perhaps began as a Venn diagram of circles that cross together over time to form a singular, collaborative constellation that might be called ‘Third Angel’. As I write this, I realise I have been subconsciously informed by Kelly’s own use of the Venn diagram analogy in a previous Backpages article. I return to this point later and add the words: a process he calls ‘seeking the heart’.

This is an excerpt from an article published in Contemporary Theatre Review’s Backpages in September 2021. As the author of the article, I would describe it as a playful connection with Third Angel’s approach to research within their artistic practice. I am under no illusion that my own research residency with Third Angel is a testament to this very process, and indeed, places me firmly within their ‘Venn diagram’. This article, in part, represents this acknowledgement as I try to connect my own wider research with previously published texts on Third Angel’s working methods. I become unashamedly aware, in turn, of Third Angel’s influence on my own thinking. To what extent am I a neutral observer, and how much of my own view is also theirs? (Or should I say, ours?)

Image: The Earth in Full View, seen from Apollo 17. Credit: NASA.

This article is intended as a creative response to theory, that takes its inspiration from the words of Third Angel and two specific recurring images from within their oeuvre: the Voyager space probe travelling away from Earth, and the idea of the ‘perfect circle’ that our planet appears to be from such distances away…

The circle contains within it a web of connections, of ‘cross-transit’ by which ‘iterations’, or microcos- mic cycles, can form as ideas are tested, adapted, and then repeated (such as trying out an idea in rehearsal). Kelly’s co-artistic counterpart, Rachael Walton, told Philip Stanier of a moment during the making of 9 Billion Miles from Home that marked a processual shift away from factual content, marking ‘the start of a departure from an obsession with Voyager, away from science, towards [the question of] why Voyager was so interesting’. The circle, as opposed to a continuum, illustrates the degrees of academic and practical research in ratio (whether scientific or artistic in origin), like the points of a compass, by which a combination of the full spectrum of possibilities makes a complete – perfect – circle. 

Take a read of the article and see how these two things relate:
Crossing the Circle: A Response to the Role of Research in the Work of Third Angel
by Rob Fellman
in Backpages 31.3, Contemporary Theatre Review, 31:3, pages 364-379. (2021).

Rob Fellman is a Collaborative Doctoral Award holder with Third Angel theatre company and the University of Sheffield, UK. His research explores longevity in the UK arts sector and is supported by the White Rose College of Arts and Humanities.

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.