Rejects Revenge Theatre Company

Feature in Issue 5-2 | Summer 1993

It was some time after Ann Farrar was auditioning at the Liverpool Playhouse and, on the whim of a director, was on all-fours delivering lines in the style of a ‘sex-starved cat’; and David Alison was passing a film set on Falkner Street realising the film being shot was the one he had auditioned for but was still waiting to hear from; and Tim Hibberd, BA(Hons), was being turned down for jobs in sweet shops, that Rejects Revenge Theatre Company was born – vowing to wreak havoc on the theatrical world that had left them on the dole in Liverpool.

In June 1990 The Rejects produced their first show: Staging the Revolution, a satire on the new Europe created by the events of 1989. It was a quick-fire comedy relying heavily on the physicality of the performers and Tim’s script. The show set the scene for the company’s subsequent touring productions which have all been comedies depending on research, vast numbers of drafts, and constant discussion and devising. This is a process that has allowed the three Rejects to retain tight hold of the overall product whilst inviting new elements (such as the singing in their ‘warped’ version of A Christmas Carol) to be integrated from an early stage.

The company is dedicated to the idea of mime and physical theatre as a means to an end in their work. With the bonus of scripted as well as devised work, and with the option to include other elements such as live music, multimedia installations and dance, The Rejects are creating storytelling theatre, using the whole armoury of words and movement to make the stories as understandable, accessible and interesting as possible. This, though, has never stopped them challenging sobriety after shows and talking about ‘higher forms of theatricality’.

The Rejects were recently granted a three-year Company Development Award from North West Arts, and even more recently the ‘Best New Talent in Theatre’ title from the Liverpool Echo / Daily Post Arts Awards. They have already had a busy year, highlighted by performing the story of Pope Joan in Liverpool Cathedral in April. Now, besides re-touring their latest show The Wheel in November and December, including a visit to Hungary in June to take part in the Brouhaha International Youth Theatre Festival, they are looking forward to training with Philippe Gaulier in London in July, working on A Midsummer Night’s Dream with school children in Redditch in September, performing a version of The Carmina Burana at the Liverpool Everyman in October, and producing a new show in March 1994. They claim that by public demand, this new show will not be touring to Corby.

Referenced Artists

This article in the magazine

Issue 5-2
p. 14