Autumn Tour Dates for He Ain’t Heavy

AUTUMN 2018 UK TOUR – Spread the word!


The Civic, Barnsley
Wed 3 Oct 1.30pm & 7.30pm
01226 327000

The University
Thu 11 Oct 7.30pm

The Devonshire Park Theatre
Tue 23 Oct 7.30pm & Wed 24 Oct 2.30pm
01323 412 000

Sat 6 Oct 2pm & 7pm
0161 912 5616

The Exchange
Fri 19 Oct 7.30pm
020 8240 2399

Lincoln Drill Hall
Thu 25 Oct 7.30pm
01522 873894



I want to tell the story again…

For three years now Jimmy has been guiding me through the trials and joys of devising autobiographical text. It seems ironic but the hardest challenge has been authenticity; how to recreate the honest kernel of a sentence that has been said for the 50th time and remembering why I said it in the first place. I can see it from the outside; I can see the sections that don’t always land, the importance of drive, changes of pace and crafting the text. From the inside I feel a hotbed of conflicting emotions that have to be allowed to exist but cannot always colour the text. For Sophie and I to be entirely present with the audience, which is what we are aiming for, means holding both these intellectual and emotional states at once. This is what we have been sharing with our audiences over our summer tour.

We’ve come a long way since I enacted the first time I remember my brother having a fit in the middle of a shop. I remember feeling entirely exposed and upset in a way that I hadn’t allowed myself to be when it had happened. This is now part of the meat and the bones of the story, and even on the days when I struggle to find the craft the story tells itself.

I’ve metaphorically shut the van door on this stage of the tour, waved goodbye to Sophie and Callum and moved on to new challenges, but I can’t get the show out of my head. I’d like to do it better. As Jeanette Winterson might say, I’d like to tell the story again. Luckily we can, as we continue our tour in the autumn – we’d love to see you there!

“Brave, Brilliant & Touching.

An incredible performance from the heart, loved every second!

Absolutely stunning beautiful portrayal of what it is to love someone with severe autism. Beautiful.

What a beautiful, authentic, sharing so creatively thoughtful & real. I am deeply touched & moved. Thankyou for the relaxed performance which allowed my son to come in and out and be himself.

Thank you for this moving piece of work – such warmth, generosity, depth of feeling, informality, border crossing combined with precision and grace.

Visually and emotionally powerful. Makes me think about sibling relationships and how important they are.

Beautiful, emotional, moving, takes me back to my childhood. Thankyou!”

Touring He Ain’t Heavy in 2018

As you can see from these photos, taken by Eleanor Postlethwaite, Sophie and I had a lot of fun performing He Ain’t Heavy last year! We had some amazing experiences everywhere we went, meeting brilliant people at every venue, in the audience and in the workshops. One of my favourite moments (of many) was when we invited some younger audience members to join us on stage for the wedding at Jacksons Lane and one lad made a bee-line for Sophie’s guitar, she reacted with gold comedy timing announcing to the audience that luckily the wedding musician had just arrived! This was a particularly exciting relaxed performance as it was the first one that Jacksons Lane had hosted.


We had a great time running theatre and circus workshops for a wide range of people across the country. Disguised in the picture below, amongst the audience volunteers, are some members of Skylight Youth’s Circus who were up for some experimental circus-theatre creation in the workshop following the performance. I’m glad to say that the experiment led to some fabulously creative results and we hope to add some more elements to the process pot to see what we can make this year.


If you’re wondering what’s next for Oddly Moving and He Ain’t Heavy, then I can confirm that plans are afoot and further tour dates will be announced a little later in the year! If you haven’t seen the show and would like to watch a trailer then there is a video at the end of Turtle Key Art’s Oddly Moving page.

In the meantime please get in touch if you’d like to have a chat or for more information; we can now be contacted via email, or Facebook or Twitter or Instagram!

Premiere at Hull Truck Theatre

Last week we premiered He Ain’t Heavy at Hull Truck Theatre! It was an absolute pleasure to do one of the most grown-up things I’ve done to date, whilst staying with my mum.  It was brilliant to have almost all the team in the room at the same time, and to have a lot of fun whilst working hard. Thank you to Hull Truck Theatre and Hull City Council for their generous support.

What really struck me performing this for the first time was the warmth from the audience and their enthusiasm to become part of the performance. We met some incredible people and I married 4 brilliant individuals. I was also really grateful for the feedback both in the post show talk and in the bar after the shows, especially for the opportunity to talk with people whose family is like mine. It’s nice to know we have a shared version of normal.

Sophie and I were also lucky enough to deliver circus workshops in local schools working with young people with special education needs and behavioural challenges. It’s difficult to summarise the experience of working with around 100 children as they are all so different and each were working to their own goals, but overall we were impressed by every child’s excitement and focus as well as their brilliant imaginations. Two of my favourite moments were noticing one boy moving in swirling dance-like patterns whilst twirling poi and at another school playing catch with a young lad who was delighted every time the ball passed between us.

We are very excited about performing again this week as part of Bristol Circus City at the Trinity Centre,  so please join us there if you’d like too see the finished show. We are also running a circus workshop for siblings and young carers on Thursday 11 – 12pm, which is completely free.


Tour Dates Announced!

The title of this blog post makes it sound like we are rock stars. That’s right, the long awaited, highly anticipated tour dates for He Ain’t Heavy are officially announced. You can buy your tickets RIGHT NOW.


For a venue near you, take a look at the links below:

HULL, Hull Truck TheatreThurs 12th – Sat 14th Oct 8pm + Relaxed Performance Friday 13th October 2.30pm

BRISTOL, Trinity Centre, Bristol Circus City; Wed 25th Oct 3pm & 8pm + Relaxed Performance Thurs 26th Oct 3.00pm

LONDON, Jacksons LaneThurs 2nd Nov – Fri 3rd Nov 8pm + Relaxed Performance Fri 3rd Nov 1.30pm

SALFORD QUAYS, The LowrySat 18th Nov 8pm

Supported by:

Arts Council England, Hull Truck Theatre, Jacksons Lane, Pavillion Dance South West, Ausform, The Elmgrant Trust, The Trinity Centre, Circomedia, The Point Eastleigh, The Invisible Circus, Yard Arts, Bristol Autism Support and Hull City Council.


R&D in Jacksons Lane

Last week was a rollercoaster in many ways, including the massive surges of adrenalin working on the new swing, screaming at possible ghostly encounters and a trip to A&E (everyone’s fine) and this was before we had even started re-sculpting the structure of the show!

I had the absolute privilege of working with both Jimmy Whiteaker AND Charlotte Mooney, in the same room at the same time! Our aims for the week were to better integrate the aerial and to mould both new ideas and familiar scenes into a clear structure. In reality this meant writing every scene on a piece of paper, discussing each, moving it around, trying something on stage which would or would not work and then repeating. Whilst not everything worked how we expected it to we did finish on Friday with a clear structure and musical plan; as we were lucky to be joined by Alexandra Hamilton Ayres and Shaun Dawson (Turtle Key Arts) for one afternoon. It was also a lovely space to work in and we received a lot of support, particularly from Nick, as well as from everyone else in the building. I’m really looking forward to coming back to Jacksons Lane for the show in November!

Unfortunately all the photos I’ve taken are of bits of paper on a black floor which isn’t very visually interesting, so here is a photo of the breakfast Sophie made me instead!



Summer Residency @PDSW

A lot has happened in the 9 months since I last posted a blog…where does the time go! Most excitingly He Ain’t Heavy is now being produced by Turtle Key Arts; Ali King has taken us under her wing as we gear up for touring in the autumn and beyond. So after months of planning, funding applications and creative chats we are now back in the rehearsal room.

Last week we were incredibly lucky to have a summer residency at Pavillion Dance South West. We were very grateful to everyone there for such a brilliant experience and it was a fantastic opportunity to spend focused time revisiting the movement from the show and exploring how we can develop it. Sophie and I now have a ‘He Ain’t Heavy’ vocabulary of movement that includes “Head-Lock and Roll” and other  restraining techniques we happened to find on the internet! It was a hugely productive week for finessing and generating material, as well as giving us a heads start on clarifying the overall structure.

For one morning, whilst I worked on straps, I was joined by Jan Roe who was drawing as I moved. It was such a lovely experience to share creative space with Jan and an insight to discover she feels the movement as she draws it.