‘Changing the Conversation’: Simon Stephens, Sean Holmes, and Secret Theatre

Bolton, Jacqueline (2016) ‘Changing the Conversation’: Simon Stephens, Sean Holmes, and Secret Theatre. Contemporary Theatre Review, 26 (3). pp. 337-344. ISSN 1048-6801

Full content URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/10486801.2016.1183662

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Item Type:Article
Item Status:Live Archive


Of the many enduring creative relationships between director and playwright within British theatre, the partnership of Sean Holmes and Simon Stephens is currently one of the most enlivening. The pair met through the Royal Court and Holmes directed the UK premiere of Stephens’s Pornography in 2008. After an unsuccessful bid to become co-Artistic Directors of the Actors Touring Company in 2007, in 2008 Holmes applied for the position of Artistic Director at the Lyric Hammersmith, London, on the condition that, if successful, Stephens would join him as Artistic Associate. Holmes was appointed Artistic Director in Spring 2009, from which time Stephens has served as, in his own words, Holmes’s ‘Chief Irritant’.
Drawing upon interviews with Stephens, Holmes and other collaborators, this article addresses and evaluates the shared aesthetic interests and imperatives which informed ‘Secret Theatre’ (2013-2015), the Lyric Hammersmith’s exploration of ensemble-led theatre-making. It evidences Stephens’s enthusiasm for structures of theatre-making and programming experienced in German-language theatre cultures and assesses his influence upon the practice of both established and emerging theatre directors working in Britain.

Keywords:Simon Stephens, Secret Theatre, Sean Holmes, Ensemble, Contemporary Theatre-Making, NotOAChecked
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W400 Drama
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
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ID Code:18807
Deposited On:24 Sep 2015 15:56

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