Looking back at 2015

We’ve had a corker of a year, and as we settle down in front of the fire with a mulled wine in hand and snazzy christmas jumper firmly on, we thought we’d take you through the highlights…


The Blackshaw Arts Hour on Wandsworth Radio (fortnightly from Jan 2015)

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Available to download or stream here.

Read more about it and listen to past episodes.


10-29th November 2015 – Staying Alive by Kat Roberts, at the Pleasance Islington

Published by Nick Hern Books.  Buy your copy here.
“explosive emotion…a strong cast…lively and full of wit…” West End Wilma


“Proof that given enough time, talent and perseverance, theatre that really says something about the human condition can be made.”
5-starsFemale Arts


“highly original, nuanced and enlightening…deeply observed social comedy…compelling from start to finish”
5-starsRemote Goat


“wonderfully human…a really powerful exploration of grief – honest and tender…”
four-star-rating-black-hiLondon Theatre 1

Read more here.


25th November 2015 – Blackshaw’s Scare Slam, at the Horse & Stables, Lambeth


Read more here.


4-5th July 2015 – Alice in Wonderland by Richard Stratton, at the British Home as part of the Streatham Festival


Read more here.


Sunday 7th June 2015 – Blackshaw’s 5th Birthday Party!


Read more here.


2-16th May 2015 – Alice in Wonderland by Richard Stratton, at the Battersea Library
A sell-out run, as part of the Wandsworth Arts Fringe.
“…creative, imaginative and seemingly effortless style…The whole performance buzzed with energy, fun and joy.”
5-starsLondon Theatre 1


“The fun-filled show brims with chaos, madness and high jinks…the wild but classic tale of Alice in her fantastically retold Wonderland.” – A Younger Theatre


Read more here.

25th March, 17th May, 29th July, 30th September 2015 – New Writing Nights at the Horse & Stables, Lambeth




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Read more here.


9-14th March 2015 – Character by Florence Vincent, at the Tristan Bates Theatre
“a delightful theatre production on in Covent Garden. Funny, nostalgic, well acted 2 hander” – London Culture Blog


“a witty play…reminiscent of Ab Fab’s Edina and Saffy” – In & Around Covent Garden magazineSONY DSC

Read more here.


15th Jan 2015 – Staying Alive by Kat Roberts, at the Pleasance Islington 
One night only industry showcase – Winner of Blackshaw’s Showcase Award 2014.


Read more here.


Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all!


See you in 2016.


Ellie & the Team at Blackshaw


Xmas Blackshaw Logo


Character 2015 – reviews

“See Character, a delightful theatre production on in Covent Garden. Funny, nostalgic, well acted 2 hander” – London Culture Blog

“Blackshaw put on an amazing & very funny play at Tristan Bates this evening. Well done director Ellie Pitkin!” – Thursday’s audience

“another brilliant show from Blackshaw, well worth a watch!“…”1 hour of dynamic duo Clare Harlow & Angela Ferns – so much fun” – Wednesday’s audience

“It was so enjoyable…really, really funny and then we had this this really sharp transition into quite poignant, thoughtful moments, which I thought was lovely…that laughter…I know it was acting, but it looked so truthful…it was an excellent play” – Tom from KCL Radio

Hear the full review/interview here.

“very enjoyable, funny & touching“…”Some great performances & fantastic writing” – Monday’s audience

a witty play…reminiscent of Ab Fab’s Edina and Saffy” – In & Around Covent Garden magazine

“A funny & warming look at friendship.”… “funny, tightly written & oh so relevant“…”Top notch! Poignant and hilarious” – Tuesday’s audience

NEWS: ‘Character’ at the Tristan Bates, 9-14th March

If you haven’t already heard, we’re doing a run of hilarious comedy play ‘Character’, by Florence Vincent, at the Tristan Bates Theatre (Covent Garden), 9-14th March 2015.

Michelle is about to turn thirty and not coping well. Desperate to finish her first novel before the big 3-0 arrives, she retreats to the countryside with a typewriter, a crate of wine, and her oldest friend Freya – who is harbouring problems of her own.

More info about the show on our ‘What’s On’ page, AND here on this very blog, from when we did the show at the Wandsworth Arts Festival and Fringe 2014.

Tickets are on sale now, at the very reasonably priced £12 full, £10 concessions.

There are only 6 shows, so click and book to avoid disappointment.



‘Character’ Post-Show Q & A

We had a lovely post-show Question and Answer session with…

– The writer of ‘Character’, Florence Vincent

– ‘Character’ actors, Angela Ferns & Clare Harlow

– ‘Character’ Director Ellie Pitkin

– ‘Character’ Assistant Director, Oliver Gordon

You can listen to the session here.

Photos by Andrew Crane.

Reviews of ‘Character’ – WAFF 2014

“an odd-couple comedy…plenty of laughs” – What’s Peen Seen

Read the full review here.


“a classic odd couple double act” – Public Reviews

Read the full review here.


“played with great energy and conviction…a fantastic chemistry on stage…laugh-out-loud funny…a stark reminder of what is so fun and exciting about fringe theatre” – Remote Goat

Read the full review here.


“a funny and moving story” – Loose Lips

Read the full review here.



The Deceptive Wistfulness of The Selkirk’s Nachos

It’s Friday 9 May, the 5th performance of Character has just come down and I’ve just consumed what I estimate to be my tenth or eleventh order of The Selkirk’s Nachos in a two-month period.  Its fair to say if there was unofficial sponsor for the Blackshaw’s current duo of productions, or at least its production team, it would be The Selkirk’s Nachos (which if you’re catching the shows in the final weekend, you may guess I can highly recommend). I’m now sat here with the overriding fear that I may end up writing a blog exclusively about nachos and for the first time in the six months since I first read Character, find I have a newfound empathy with Michelle, staring my own writers block in the face.  Although unlike Michelle, its not that I have nothing to say, rather I have too much.

Back in October I received a proposition from Blackshaw’s remarkable Commander in Chief, Ellie.  Blackshaw were mounting two productions for WAFF 2014: one a newly written play; the other a beloved children’s story in a wonderful new adaptation; with one cast, performing them in rep, above a pub and would I be interested in joining the adventure? What was there not to like? (And this was before I’d found out about the Nachos).

I think what I excited me the most about the project was the opportunity to work on two shows and the contrast between them.  Character is a darkly comic two hander with two incredible female roles, while Alice in Wonderland reimagines Lewis Carroll’s classic for its events to take place in the confines of a junk shop.  Starkly different (Character certainly isn’t for children) but somehow incredibly complimentary of each other it has been, and remains. a joy to discuss how men are like doughnuts one evening and the logistics of a gaggle of talking flowers the next.

We have had the rare and wonderful benefit of creating these two productions in the space in which they will be performed, creating ourselves a little home from home above The Selkirk just off Tooting Broadway. Over the last few months the space has slowly transformed itself simultaneously into Wonderland and Michelle and Freya’s secluded Cotswolds hideaway with a busy local pub still buzzing away below us.  Piece by piece our sickeningly talented company of actors have begun to flesh out the inhabitants of these worlds, now in full visual fruition thanks to the deign genius of Zahra Mansouri, to the point that I feel I will never be able to look at it in quite the same way again.  Indeed, once our affectionately nicknamed ‘cat wall’ is no longer in residence, something will definitely be missing.

We have another weekend of performances to come, before this particular adventure down the rabbit hole draws to a close, and this little jotting has been an amazing opportunity to reflect on a whirlwind and rewarding process. It’s been hectic, eclectic and downright hilarious at times, occasionally equitable to falling though a looking glass, but always gratifying.  I may have also consumed what I can only assume is an unhealthy amount of guacamole (although probably less than Emily, our Alice).  However, my inevitable avocado overdose is instantly made worthwhile every time a child chuckles through The Walrus and the Carpenter or you feel someone’s twinkling recognition of themselves in Freya and Michelle’s ‘mid-life’ crises.  Sharing those moments with those who’ve come to visit us above the Selkirk (and those who have yet to do so) is something that will certainly stay with me.

It’s now I realise that I was drawn to this project because of the differences between these two shows, but maybe they’re not so different after all, and perhaps I finally understand Ellie’s stroke of genius.  Both these stories are about getting lost, sharing the adventure along the way and finding your way back.

My only hope is that we can all share them again.

Oliver Gordon, Assistant Director, WAFF 2014.