We are delighted to announce we have been commissioned for Outpost 2015 , hosted by New Model Theatre Company for our new piece A NIGHT IN THE DAY OF EMILY HAYES. For more information, bookings and tickets please book through The Barbican Theatre website. ... Read more
Have a drink with Eddie, compulsive gambler, serial lover, likeable -up to a point- rogue. Nothing’s ever really his fault. Take the gambling- “The problem with gambling is not when you lose; it’s when you win, then it’s out of your control, got yourself a wedge and it’s a new suit, into... Read more
Inner Chimp: A term originating in Buddhism referring to that part of our mind that is wild and difficult to control. ‘Inner Chimp‘ a play devised by Pilot’s Thumb theatre explores the idea of two sleepless women in one hotel room. As the night wears on so their “Inner Chimps” take over... Read more
‘Protest’ is a powerful docu -drama which explores the voice of protest, using multi media, theatrical collage, dance, all focused on the heart-warming story of two women, modern day suffragettes, Jo and Becky as they embark upon a Pussy Riot style campaign of protest, with unexpected... Read more
A play devised by Pilot’s Thumb Theatre based on an idea by Laura Quigley and Directed by Marion Macbeth.Set in the near future as Britain plunges further into depression, Touched is a poignant exploration of longing and loss played out against the Government’s Urban Regeneration Programme... Read more
‘Cover Story’ Louise is gregarious. Louise is popular. Louise believed in happy ever after. Paul is a loner. Paul is odd. Paul was the last person to see her alive. Interviewed by the police on suspicion of murder and hounded by the press, Paul’s life is never the same again – but did he do... Read more
Playing with Daisy, by Eleanor Fossey. A two hander exploring the themes of love, loss and friendship that can never die! Can Daisy ever forgive Esther for forgetting about her? Will Esther truly believe it is her and why is she here again after all these years apart? How do the friends overcome... Read more
A ghost story with a difference, Thoughts are often random and chaotic: The characters of “Voices”find themselves in “dislocated thought space” unable and unwilling to face the truth that will enable them to move on. They are current and ancestral; lucid and confused but... Read more
WHO WE ARE
PILOT’S THUMB THEATRE WHO ARE KNOWN FOR THEIR EDGY SOCIAL AND POLITICAL DRAMA COMBINED WITH POWERFUL NARRATIVES, ENGAGING CHARACTERS AND PITHY HUMOUR HAVE BEEN ASTOUNDING AUDIENCES BOTH INTELLECTUALLY AND IMAGINATIVELY SINCE THEIR INCEPTION IN 2009.
The Core Company
Cassie Williamson – Actress / Writer / Director
Beth Scott Hewlett – Actress / Writer / Director
Danny Strike – Director / Writer / Actor
Theo Moye – Videographer and Sound technition
Jamie Smith / Matt Cann – Lighting technician
Dee Capaldi – Stage Manager and Creative Designer
Debbie Miles-Prizeman – Choreographer
Jon Broks – Projectionist and sound technition
Robert Cargill – Actor
Joe Carey – Actor
Sarah Keogh – Actress
Mark Gillham – Actor
Marion MacBeth – Director/Actress/Writer
Sarah Killingsworth – Stage manager
Arwen Ross – Technical assistant
Beth graduated from East 15 in 2003 and lived in London working as an actress for a further five years. Since returning to the West Country Beth has played Sam – The Man in The Red Scarf (Barbican Theatre), Tikka – Beautiful Journey (Wildworks), filmed 2 Episodes of Doc Martin plus toured with The Barbican Theatre as an actress and theatre practitioner with the Barbican’s one extreme to another. In 2008 Cassie and Beth met in a play and the beginnings of Pilot’s Thumb began, a year later Danny came on board to direct Playing with Daisy and the three have not looked back since. Beth has played Daisy in Playing with Daisy, Pam in Voices and KC in Touched. Beth has directed Cover Story and the recent full length version of Protest for Pilot’s Thumb, Beth is an actor, writer and director as well as having extensive experience of teaching drama and working with young people with behavioural and emotional problems. Beth recently welcomed a new addition when baby Matilda was born one month early in December 2013.
Cassie trained at Bretton Hall and earned a Ba Hons in Theatre Acting. Since then she has appeared in various stage and screen productions from Pantomime and TIE to feature films (Icharus Broken) and TV (Emmerdale, Doctors, Casualty). After her move to Plymouth in 2008, Cassie embarked on further acting projects with BBC Radio Devon, Wildworks, Oddbodies, Burn the Curtain, Part Exchange and the Barbican Theatre where she then met Beth and Pilot’s Thumb was born. For Pilot’s Thumb Cassie played Esther in Playing with Daisy, Cheryl in Voices, Jessica in Touched, Louise in Cover Story and Jo in Protest.
After a career spent in Education and Theatre, the last twenty years in Munich, where he founded and directed the internationally renowned Entity theatre group, Danny returned to the West Country in 2008. Since then he has acted for Wild Works, Burn The Curtain, Paine’s Plough and The People’s Company Plymouth, as well as being a visiting director for Attention Seekers. He is a founder member of Pilot’s Thumb for whom he directs, writes and acts.
Some of our latest news and musings
Please see our recent Herald Newspaper article about our latest project:... Read more
Please see our recent Herald Newspaper article:... Read more
We have recently performed to a sell out audience at the Barbican Theatre (June 2017) with our devised shows ‘A night in the Day of Emily Hayes’ and a new montage piece based around the theme of Sleeplessness. We created real stories from people’s lives, and brought their words... Read more
Shortly Beth is due a little baby and we will be extending the Pilot’s Thumb family once again as she welcomes a little girl, photos and updates to follow... Read more
Some of our lovely reviews:
Pilots Thumb was formed in 2009 to pursue the development of a modern drama of ideas, experimental in spirit without losing sight of empathetic characters, compelling narratives, pithy humour and at the same time committed to stimulating debate and discussion on topical issues, and in the case of our proposed piece-action.
Our journey to date has certainly been a dynamic and stimulating one as can be seen from the following responses from audience members...
To all at Pilot's Thumb, well done everyone!
Most impressed by your 'Protest'. I came with high expectations after our previous encounters, and left with them all fulfilled - and more. I wish you could present this to a much wider audience, and not just locally but maybe on the national stage one day. You hit all the right buttons for me - in a most telling way. Too many of us are too complacent these days, especially
in this country, knowing little and often caring even less about issues which affect the lives of so many but just don't happen to touch us personally. Keep up the good work.
"so moving and so well tuned that I was enthralled every minute of the play."
Jenni Mikulla, audience member.
"What an epilogue to your play this morning on British TV: 53-year- old woman, hit by the bed room tax kills herself, leaving a note saying it's the government that's to blame."
David Maguire, Pensioner.
"Thanks again for an enjoyable and provocative evening at the Barbican Theatre on Saturday evening. I think that your aim to “Activate The Audience” had more success than you imagined it would as the discussion and feedback afterwards showed."
Michael Skinley, local business man.
Several years ago some members of our society saw a performance of ‘Playing with Daisy’ at the Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter. This small venue ideally suited the play, and the atmosphere created by the fledgling ‘Pilot’s Thumb’ company was electrifying! After the performance, they spoke to the company and found that they had a lot in common... a passion for all that’s good in theatre being the basis.
Since then, ‘Pilot’s Thumb’ has visited Brixham Theatre, which is managed by BATS, and Performed their play “Touched” to an enthusiastic audience. On the strength of the high standard of their work, BATS has invited ���Pilot’s Thumb’ back for a run of their next production....probably in February, 2014.
BATS is endeavouring to rekindle the latent interest in theatre in Brixham, and for the past three years has seen a steady increase in attendance for their varied programme. The inclusion of the innovative ‘Pilot’s Thumb’ Company represents a significant contribution to this aim.
John Miles, Director, Brixham Theatre
I have followed Pilot's Thumb for the last 12 months. They are a talented company with a growing reputation in the South West. Their work is always of a high standard and they have developed a challenging, edgy and insightful voice related to psychological, social and political issues.
They have helped hugely in their support of our Plymouth Plan project, helping to give an interesting and engaging aspect to our consultation process.
An apt example is their ‘work in progress��� piece 'Protest', a political play that look to explore various forms of protest. A play supported by the Barbican Theatre, as their 2013 Flourish Company, giving them space and development.
Pilot's Thumb is a local, hard-working, small-scale Plymouth based theatre company made up of experienced professionals, which offers new work and an independent eye that enhances the creative mix of what the city of Plymouth and the South West has to offer.
The scene is set as the audience walk in – a plain white box centre stage, an actor either side of the stage facing the walls and an armchair projection at the back of the stage, instantly creating a sense of intrigue. Music plays as the audience take their seats and continues sporadically throughout to accentuate certain scenes.
The play starts with a pre-recorded piece featuring Paul (Danny Strike) speaking from the armchair on the projection about press / police intrusion. Initially this does not make sense, but it begins to piece together as the story unfolds, tying in nicely with how the play ends.
Lots of questions are raised about the disappearance of pregnant Nurse Louise (Cassie Williamson), the relationship she has with her older neighbour Paul and her Doctor ‘boyfriend’.
Pilot’s Thumb use a clever montage of monologues, duologues and fragmentation in their storytelling, which is non-chronological. At first I thought it may be hard to follow and a little abstract, however, this is not the case – it adds to the intrigue of the story, further drawing the audience into a web of mystery and deceit, attempting to decipher exactly what has taken place.
A photographer / reporter (Beth Scott Hewlett) jumps out from the audience to take photographs of the suspect (Paul) and ply the audience with absurd headlines / accusations of a ‘perverted teacher’, ‘oddball neighbour’ and being prime suspect for Louise’s disappearance, wryly mirroring the national media and how things are often blown out of proportion.
I would like to have seen the quirkier, odd side of Paul’s character. He seemed too nice and decent to be sinister or untrustworthy. However, we do see inklings of a temper at times, leading to suspicions that he could have had something to do with Cassie’s disappearance.
At a concise 45 minutes with no interval, this piece is powerful, thought provoking and punchy. I am a fan of minimalism on stage, allowing the acting to shine through and this is exactly what the cast achieved with Cover Story.
Predominantly a two-hander, Cassie and Danny held audience attention throughout with strong performances and creative use of repetition, building layers onto the story each time a piece was repeated.
The Cygnet Theatre is a wonderfully intimate setting, where you feel part of a small family. The staff are very welcoming and there was plenty of time to talk with audience and cast at the end of the show.
It was inspirational to talk with Cassie and Danny afterwards, discovering how they develop unique concepts from design to completion. The small company are to be commended for the sheer hard work they put into this production and their other shows; from the devising process right up to fundraising, marketing and the performances themselves. This is no easy feat and is to be much admired in an ever changing society where arts budgets are often the first to be cut.
Watch out for the dynamic Pilot’s Thumb theatre company. If you manage to catch Cover Story you are guaranteed to leave the theatre feeling inspired and analytical – attempting to figure out who killed Louise, or if she is in fact dead!
Read more at http://www.devonlive.com/review-cover-story-cygnet-theatre-exeter/story-28828880-detail/whatson/story.html#CWA3fGk5eeMICreb.99
From the Press:
Pilot’s Thumb Theatre Company comprises an unusual grouping; two young women actors/directors Cassie Williamson and Beth Scott-Hewlett, who over seven years, have sustained a productive trio with Danny Strike, writer/director & actor, just old enough to be a father-figure to his partners.... Read more
Danny proceeds to give a masterclass performance, his self-penned brilliant lines spoken trippingly off the tongue as if freshly occurring in his mind. And he is wonderfully relaxed and entertaining. with a flow of events involving Barbara, his frowsty wife – played with humorous aplomb by... Read more
IT’S thumbs up from the Arts Council for a city theatre company’s Pussy Riot-style drama. Pilot’s Thumb has won funding for Protest, a story of suffragettes who copy the tactics used by the balaclava-clad Russian feminist campaigners. The Plymouth company developed the piece with the help of... Read more
In connection with their performances Pilot’s Thumb also offer workshops to schools, colleges, local groups, directing, devising, acting all of which have proved most stimulating and popular.
Please contact us for more information.
JUST WANTED TO SAY THANK YOU FOR BRINGING THE SHOW (PROTEST) IN YESTERDAY. THE STUDENTS REALLY LIKED IT, AS TOO THE PRE-PERFORMANCE WORKSHOP. IT ALL SPARKED LOTS OF DISCUSSION – AND ALSO KICK STARTS THE CONTEMPORARY THEATRE UNIT THAT THEY ARE JUST ABOUT TO START! PERFECT TIMING.
Matt Dean – Theatre and Drama Lecturer, City College, Plymouth