The PappyShow: pioneering physical-visual theatre company back for bumper 2021


The PappyShow, one of the most distinctive and exciting theatre companies in the country, are returning in 2021 with numerous major productions, commissions and artist development projects.

Formed in January 2013 by Kane Husbands to provide a much-needed space for actors to train in physical theatre, The PappyShow is a diverse and collaborative company whose work is developed and devised through exercise and play, creating poignant, radically joyous, beautiful and utterly unique physical and visual theatre.

Their productions BOYS and GIRLS garnered critical acclaim for their vibrant, revelatory and expectation-defying explorations of contemporary masculinity and femininity.

GIRLS won the prestigious ‘Show of the Week’ award at Vault Festival in 2019 and will run at New Diorama Theatre from 17-21 August. Directed by ThePappyShow associate artist Josie Daxter, who has also worked with Complicité, and devised by a chorus of women aged 17-70 this uplifting but unvarnished journey through girlhood transcends generations, cultural phenomena and major life events. GIRLS runs the gamut of lived experience from unbridled love, friendship and joy, to darker subjects such as bullying and violence through beautiful, playful movement-driven visual theatre, powerful and humorous direct address storytelling, and joyous interactive play.

The PappyShow has also been announced as one of five companies co-curating NDT Broadgate, a major new arts development complex in central London run by New Diorama Theatre in partnership with British Land, providing 20,000 square feet of high-quality rehearsal space, meeting rooms, offices and design studios for free for an entire year starting from July.

As we wait for live performance to return, The PappyShow’s debut film BOY, FLY was commissioned for The North Wall Theatre digital Alchymy Festival, and is available to watch online for free until 31 May. A tender dance and exploration of masculinity from four men of colour, BOY, FLY is a beautiful exploration of difference and diversity.

Major future projects from The PappyShow include WHAT DO YOU SEE, a new project focussing on our perspectives – both shared and unique- to both reveal and champion our true diversity. Commissioned by the London International Mime Festival and developed in association with The North Wall and ArtsHouse Jersey, WHAT DO YOU SEE will premiere in 2022. In its most diverse and ambitious project to date. Designed to give representation to as wide a variety of voices as possible, The PappyShow gave ten brilliantly talented creatives the chance to produce a completely new project, their only brief was to answer one question: what do you see? These research & development ‘experiments’ will be released weekly on The PappyShow website, and the inspirations will be formed into a fully staged production.

Away from the stage The PappyShow launch its first ever podcast today. Hosted by founding member Rachel-Leah Hosker, It’s a Practice! sees The PappyShow associates chat to guests of all different professions from a psychotherapist to a rabbi to a Paralympian to get insight into their practice, what connects us and how we can learn from our mistakes and each other.

A company whose identity is intertwined with its work to support and develop young artists, The PappyShow has also launched a mentorship programme designed to create connections, share knowledge, and help mentees develop skills to work towards their future goals, and has offered Associate status to nine artists with whom the company regularly collaborates. The PappyShow is also offering training opportunities and are currently running Zoom workshops each Wednesday designed to teach participants how to use their bodies to drive creativity[TF1] , as well as a series of bespoke workshops including unconscious bias and inclusivity training.

The PappyShow founder Kane Husbands choreographed the Team Welcome Ceremonies at the 2012 Olympics and directed for the Commonwealth Games. He has worked internationally in Europe, the Middle East and East Asia. Organisations he has worked with Sheffield Crucible Theatre, National Theatre and Chichester Festival Theatre.

The PappyShow’s Advisory Board are freelance producer Tara Finney, Nicholai La Barrie (Lyric Hammersmith Associate Artist & Resident Director on Tina – The Tina Turner Musical), Anna Niland (Associate Director of National Youth Theatre), psychotherapist Delma Walsh and chartered accountant, Sena Odoom.

The PappyShow artistic director Kane Husbands said:

“I think we have all felt the loss of the past year. I know as the leader of a company like The PappyShow our community has really been battered, and marginalised identities have felt the full pelt of these times. Yet crystals form under great pressure and we’ve been overwhelmed by the glimpses of radical joy and care that have glistened through.

“This is a brilliant new step for us as a company, dreaming up new futures that aren’t squashed by historical traumas are what ‘our people’ do best. From hundreds of people attending our weekly workshops, to our first short film on the beauty of male intimacy, we’ve had performance in parks and on streets, online discussions, and created community spaces. We’ve connected 27 people to brilliant mentors in our leadership programme and launched our new event Shine Black, raising money for Black Charities.

“Now we begin work on our new shows WHAT DO YOU SEE and another exciting new project directed by Stella Odunlami, Black Girl Magic, whilst performing GIRLS to new audiences.

“I’ve always known what we would stand for is important, and the way we do it being transformative. This is our 8th year as The PappyShow, and through all this hardship – I hope we continue to bring some small joy and light.”

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