Festival 47 Spotlight: Lead Suspect

Festival 47 Spotlight: Lead Suspect

To find out more about Festival 47 and the spotlights, please see the introductory article.

Next up in our Spotlight feature is Lead Suspect, which plays Festival 47 from 17 July 2017 at 21:30. I caught up with writer and director Stephanie Withers:

Describe your show in three words.

Fun. Ridiculous. Mad.

Tell us a bit more about your theatre company.

Off the Middle are committed to staging exciting new writing, and storytelling theatre. We are interested in the relationship between audience and performer, and finding creative means of telling stories, Lead Suspect is our second original production.

Our previous production In Other Words by Matt Seager played at The Hope Theatre earlier this year, receiving five-star reviews for an intimate, moving, and powerful love-story. We are excited to return to Upper Street with a completely different show by myself, a comedy dog murder mystery, where actors play dogs who tell the story and solve the crime.

The show is highly physical with actors playing in multi-role our favourite breeds of dogs such as a Labrador, Jack Russel, and Poodle, taking on the traits, mannerisms and personalities of our four legged friends to hilarious comic effect. Expect bum sniffing, tail chasing, humping and all things doggy in this barking mad show.

Buy your tickets now, because lets face it, when else are you going to get the opportunity to see grown adults acting like dogs??

Is this your first time at the King’s Head?

It’s our first time at The King’s Head. We are really excited about bringing this quirky piece to the theatre, knowing the venue has a reputation for staging theatre with big ideas, and this show is certainly weird, whacky and wonderful.

Who else in the festival programme are you most excited about?

By All Accounts Two Normal Girls sounds hilarious. We are really excited about the amount of female writers showcasing their work in the festival, it’s really empowering to be surrounded by so many other female writers, and a great opportunity to meet other woman making theatre.

What is your inspiration to continue making theatre?

Going to see other new work really helps inspire us as a company to keep trying out new things, and keep connected to other emerging artist’s work. Every year the Edinburgh Fringe is a massive source of inspiration for us, finding new, quirky and incredible shows that revive our energy in theatre-making.

It’s really exciting seeing the growth of new work and festivals down in London with The Vaults, Festival 47, Incoming Festival, all promoting emerging companies work, and making fringe theatre more accessible, and staging work more finically viable.

We’ve been really lucky over the past year to have our work supported by The Hope, The Cockpit, Farnham Maltings, Nuffield Theatre and Arts Council England, it’s encouraging to see our hard work is paying off, and that we are being recognised for making quality theatre making.

It has been such an important part of our journey as a company to receive help from theatres and venues and create links, without which it would have been impossible to make the theatre we have.

What are the future dreams for your show?

We’d love to come back to The Kings Head to do a longer run of Lead Suspect later on in the year, and return with In Other Words to a larger venue sometime next year. Oh and we’ve already been speaking about writing our third show…. but one thing at a time.

What is the best production you have seen this year – can be any genre, style, in any theatre or performance space?

Matt and I were lucky enough to get tickets for Harry Potter and the Cursed Child this year and it was AMAZING!!! Both being massive Harry Potter fans we HAD to go see it, and it was everything we wanted and more, we couldn’t wipe the grins off our faces for days after.


Stephanie de Whalley & Matt Seager

Writer/ Director: Stephanie Withers

Producer: Off The Middle

Creatives: Matt Seager, Euan Tyre, Daisy Horan

Cast: Stephanie de Whalley, Paul Hilliar, Liam Mansfield

Lead Suspect plays King’s Head Theatre as part of Festival 47 from 17 – 20 July 2017. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.


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