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Past Work

Founded in 2013 by Artistic Director Stephen John, Bowler Crab had performed their first five productions by 2015, all open air exclusively at Half House Farm in East Sussex. 2015 saw the company touring their summer productions to indoor venues  for the first time across Sussex. After a 2016 summer production, in the autumn came their first solely indoor production tour across Sussex and Kent.

 

Alongside producing summer and winter tours, in 2017 Bowler Crab began touring shortened versions of their plays to schools, festivals, corporate events and as dining experiences (all available now for hire).

 

Bowler Crab also became the official resident theatre company of The Mermaid Inn in 2017. The Rye based 600 year old inn (known for having Shakespeare’s company visit them in 1597) today hosts Bowler Crab’s full touring performances, ‘pocket performances’ and dining experiences year round. 

The year is 2021 and Bowler Crab have produced 21 projects to date!

Bowler Crab has soared leaps and bounds in the last 7 years, producing 13 feature length plays and 8 pocket productions!

Not to mention the projects still touring and three new shows coming next year! Why not click a sphere to find out more about them?

Ghost

Stories

Romeo

& Juliet

2019

2018

2017

2016

Much Ado

About Nothing

Othello

The Merchant

of Venice

Midsummer

Night's Dream

2015

2014

Main Productions:

2013

Macbeth (2013)

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Bowler Crab's debut production was performed in June 2013 outdoors exclusively at Half House Farm and was such a success that a plan to complete the canon took form!

The production was set in the Victorian era with a steampunk theme, the witches appearing to have travelled through time to interfere with history.

Photos by our patron: Peter Mould of stagesnaps.com 

SEE THE REVIEWS

A Midsummer Night's Dream (2013)

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Doubling the sales of Macbeth, our first production of A Midsummer Night's Dream set a sales record which would remain the benchmark for several years.

The Dream was performed outdoors in August 2013 exclusively at Half House Farm. Firmly set in the original time setting of Ancient Greece, Bottom aptly became a Minotaur instead of an ass. Puck was a  wolfish character, closer to the true meaning of a tricksome 'Puck goblin'; the moon was also a featured theme throughout.

Photos by our patron: Peter Mould of stagesnaps.com 

SEE THE REVIEWS

Romeo & Juliet (2014)

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BC's second year would boast a three play summer season,  celebrating Shakespeare's 450th Birthday with a performance of Romeo & Juliet!

 Performed outdoors exclusively at Half House Farm, an April production was a risk.

 

Commented on by reviewers as 'the best costume concept' they'd seen for R&J, the piece presented two ancient Mian-like tribes at war, colourful costumes representative of the two households.

Photos by our patron: Peter Mould of stagesnaps.com 

SEE THE REVIEWS

Twelfth Night (2014)

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The second performance of 2014 was Twelfth Night,

a sunny June production with record sized audiences.

 

Performed exclusively at Half House Farm, the theme of madness ran deep into the piece. Feste was presented as a mime most apt for the 1920s France setting.

Photos by our patron: Peter Mould of stagesnaps.com 

SEE THE REVIEWS

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Measure For Measure (2014)

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The third performance of 2014 was Measure For Measure, originally planned for October 2013, this postponed production was met with favourable weather and good audiences in August.

Performed outdoors exclusively at Half House Farm, this dark comedy was met with dark themes of sin and virtue in an old west 1911 setting - the famous 'problem ending' met with a special BC twist as Isabela gave the answer the play is famous for ignoring.

Photos by our patron: Peter Mould of stagesnaps.com 

SEE THE REVIEWS

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A Ghost Story (2014- present)

Wait, when did this happen? This mysterious pocket production was first performed in the winter of 2014 when Artisitic Director Stephen John was asked to create and perform a Victorian ghost story performance. With several performances throughout the years since, this pocket production was only ever performed privately at Buckswood School near Hastings.

 

This piece is available for hire to Schools, music festivals, as dining experiences and other events. The piece is currently undergoing development and will have a public performance later in 2020.

More details coming soon ...

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              AVAILABLE FOR HIRE               

Love's Labour's Lost (2015)

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Our June production of 2015 not only broke the sales record and the largest audience record but also carved a new path in BC history. After the outdoor performances at Half House Farm sold so well, The Stables Theatre in Hastings asked if we would tour our show to them and perform indoors that July. The piece was adapted for the indoor space and the success of the mini one stop tour not only created a friendship with The Stables but also was a huge step for BC, with plans to tour again brought into focus. Set in a fantasy medieval France.

Photos by our patron: Peter Mould of stagesnaps.com 

SEE THE REVIEWS

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The Tempest (2015)

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Our seventh production took place less than a month after the indoor tour of Love's Labour's Lost and performed outdoors exclusively at Half House Farm in August and September 2014. Early C18th style costume designs met with magical nautical ideas were used to great effect. 

Photos by our patron: Peter Mould of stagesnaps.com 

SEE THE REVIEWS

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All's Well That Ends Well (2016)

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All's Well That Ends Well was the last show to be performed solely at Half House Farm. Fitting for the last BC production to ever be performed entirely outside, June 2016 had the highest rainfall on record in 70 years and, whilst we are always up for performing in the wet, it was time for us to think about indoor backups if we wanted to maintain our large audience records despite rainy weather ...

Photos by our patron: Peter Mould of stagesnaps.com 

Sunny matinee pics by Michael Townsend of What's On Magazine

SEE THE REVIEWS

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King Lear (2016)

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After a solely outdoor show in 2016 came BC's first solely indoor tour as we brought King Lear to indoor venues across Kent and Sussex including sell out performances at The Stables Theatre in Hastings and record audience sizes.

 

Bowler Crab took on a new guise, the mission to complete the canon also gaining a sister objective: to become a UK touring company. This was a huge step in the company's development and plans were made immediately following the success.

Photos by our patron: Peter Mould of stagesnaps.com 

SEE THE REVIEWS

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Macbeth 2017 - present

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2017 was quite a year, after the success of King Lear, we approached The Mermaid Inn in Rye and organised a one off event performing extracts from Macbeth with a team of two and analysing the text with the audience. The first project to be termed 'a pocket production', The Mermaid Inn quickly sold out for the event and a new relationship was formed as we became the resident theatre company.

 

'Interpreting Macbeth' then became available for schools to hire to help GCSE or A-Level students with their exams, the project adapting to each exam board's requirements, presenting the piece in a variety of lights to help students see different interpretations and form arguments for their exams. 

'Interpreting Macbeth' began touring to schools in 2017 and a new version of the pocket production was then released in 2018 with a new cast of four performing a linear shortened version of Macbeth, just 100 minutes long and the perfect 'pocket sized' performance for private and public events to hire. 'Macbeth' and 'Interpreting Macbeth' soon became popular at festivals, as sell out dining experiences and as stand alone private events. Both Macbeth projects switched from Victorian era costume to traditional 1000's style in 2018.

Photos by our patron: Peter Mould of stagesnaps.com 

With B&W photography at The Mermaid by BC production member Carey Pool.

SEE THE REVIEWS

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CLICK HERE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT HOW TO HIRE MACBETH AND OUR OTHER PRODUCTS

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Notable performances include several sell outs at The Battle Arts Festival at Battle Abbey, Manor Barn Bexhill and as a dining experience at The Mermaid Inn.

More public performances will be announced later in 2020.

CLICK HERE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT

THE MERMAID INN IN RYE AND OUR UPCOMING PROJECTS THERE.

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     AVAILABLE FOR HIRE       

 
 
 
 

Much Ado About Nothing (2017)

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2017 brought about a smashing comedy,

Much Ado About Nothing; set in ancient Italy, the play sold well at Half House Farm in June and toured to St John's Centre Bexhill and Raystede Centre in Ringmer in July for indoor performances, the first time a farm run had been followed by multiple tour locations.

Photos by our patron: Peter Mould of stagesnaps.com 

Matinee Pics by Michael Townsend of

What's On Magazine

SEE THE REVIEWS

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Much Ado About Nothing 

2017 - present

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What many may not know is that in July 2017, three of the Much Ado cast members also attended a private event and performed a short 30 minute selection of scenes from the play - the first pocket production version of Much Ado About Nothing. With thanks to local Councillor Michael Ensor for hiring us to perform at Ashburnham Place.

Much Ado About Nothing is currently inactive but is set to return for hire in 2021 with a new cast and some public performances!

CLICK HERE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT

HOW TO HIRE MUCH ADO AND OUR OTHER PRODUCTS

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     AVAILABLE FOR HIRE       

A Midsummer Night's Dream

2017 - present

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Next in 2017, we took up the job as the resident theatre company at The Mermaid Inn and debuted our next pocket: A Midsummer Night's Dream as a dining experience as part of The Rye Arts Festival, with scenes taking place between each course.

Dream has since gone onto being our most popular pocket production for hire with notable sell out performances at The Big Green Cardigan Festival, Rye School of English and at several private events and schools.

Dream uses Victorian Steam-Punk style costumes and puppetry to illustrate a fictitious industrial Athens disrupted by whimsical fairies.

Photos by our patron: Peter Mould of stagesnaps.com 

With photography also taken at Half House Farm's woods by BC production member Carey Pool,

at Big Green Cardigan by Roy Cano and at Buckswood School by Jeremy Lucas

SEE THE REVIEWS

CLICK HERE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT HOW TO HIRE A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM AND OUR OTHER PRODUCTS

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CLICK HERE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT

THE MERMAID INN IN RYE AND OUR UPCOMING PROJECTS THERE.

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     AVAILABLE FOR HIRE       

Othello (2017)

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BC's second solely indoor tour came in the Autumn of 2017 as Othello smashed previous sales records and extended the touring route to as far as London and Brighton. Venues included: The Hen & Chicken Theatre Bar and The Space Theatre in London as well as sell outs at old favourites: The Mermaid Inn in Rye

and The Stables Theatre in Hastings.

 

Set in a 1940's WW2 style, this production brought with it our first Patrons:

Tim & Julie Wren of Rye School of English;

Ed and Bev Towner of

A. C. Towner Ltd. Undertakers.

and Chris Packham of

C. Packham Theatre Services.

Photos by our patron: Peter Mould of stagesnaps.com 

B&W photos at The Mermaid Inn by Tenee Attoh.

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CLICK HERE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT OUR PATRONS

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Romeo & Juliet

2018 - present

Returning once again to The Mermaid in 2018, we created the third pocket: Romeo & Juliet. We sold out with 'Interpreting R&J' before moving onto schools with the workshop.

 

In 2019, we then released a linear 100 minute long version of the play, touring to schools as well as festival performances which sold out at The Big Green Cardigan Festival, Battle Arts Festival at Battle Abbey and as a dining experience returning to The Mermaid Inn as part of the Rye Arts Festival. Other Notable performance include at All Saints Centre in Lewes and at Bexhill Manor Barn.

R&J is set in a fantasy Verona mixing Medieval and Jacobean cultures. 

Photos at a private garden party

(The Croft in Lewes)

by our patron: Peter Mould of stagesnaps.com 

With photography by Roy Cano at The Big Green Cardigan Festival

SEE THE REVIEWS

CLICK HERE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT HOW TO HIRE ROMEO & JULIET AND OUR OTHER PRODUCTS

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CLICK HERE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT

THE MERMAID INN IN RYE AND OUR UPCOMING PROJECTS THERE.

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     AVAILABLE FOR HIRE       

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The Merchant of Venice (2018)

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BC's biggest most ambitious tour took place in 2018 with The Merchant of Venice combining both the indoor and summer tour routes to create a production which toured for seven weeks across June-August. Venues included:

The Hen & Chicken Theatre Bar in London,

The Trinity Theatre in Tunbridge Wells, 

The Rialto Theatre in Brighton, St John's Centre in Bexhill and, of course, Half House Farm,

The Mermaid Inn and The Stables Theatre. 

Many of these sold out and the production broke all records of audience size and run sales.

 

Set in an early 1700 Georgian style, the play tackled questions about race, religion, homosexuality, love, envy and greed. 

New patrons also joined us for the tour,

including celebrity photographer David Montgomery.

 

Photos taken at The Mermaid, The Stables and Half House Farm by our patron: Peter Mould of stagesnaps.com whose patronage was made official by his generosity and friendship on this tour.

SEE THE REVIEWS

CLICK HERE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT OUR PATRONS

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CLICK HERE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT

THE MERMAID INN IN RYE AND OUR UPCOMING PROJECTS THERE.

 

Twelfth Night

2018 - present

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2018 was a breakthrough year not only for our largest tour ever but also for our pockets and the demand for bookings tripled in just a  few months. the next instalment was Twelfth Night, joyfully set in Victorian England where cakes and ale were always in demand.

 

The four man 100 minute production was in hot demand for the festive Christmas period and packed audiences attended public performances at All Saints Centre in Lewes, St John's Centre Bexhill, The Hen & Chickens Theatre in London and as a dining experience at The Mermaid Inn in Rye.

Photography by BC production member

Henri Hayler,

Twelfth Night will be returning on tour once more in 2020 with dates to be announced very soon  ... 

SEE THE REVIEWS

CLICK HERE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT HOW TO HIRE TWELFTH NIGHT AND OUR OTHER PRODUCTS

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     AVAILABLE FOR HIRE       

CLICK HERE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT

THE MERMAID INN IN RYE AND OUR UPCOMING PROJECTS THERE.

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Shakespeare & Love

2019 - present

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2019 kicked off with a new type of Pocket Production - a Shakespeare Showcase. Like our 'Interpreting' productions, this piece consisted of extracts which were then discussed but this time from a selection of BC's past works including:

Romeo & Juliet, Macbeth, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello and A Midsummer Night's Dream; alongside never before performed scenes from The Winter's Tale, Julius Caesar, Antony & Cleopatra and Hamlet.

 

The performance sold out at The Mermaid Inn in April 2019 and will be returning on tour once more in 2020 with public performance dates to be announced very soon  ...

     AVAILABLE FOR HIRE       

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     AVAILABLE FOR HIRE       

CLICK HERE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT HOW TO HIRE TWELFTH NIGHT AND OUR OTHER PRODUCTS

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CLICK HERE TO HEAR MORE ABOUT

THE MERMAID INN IN RYE AND OUR UPCOMING PROJECTS THERE.

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A Midsummer Night's Dream (2019)

BC produced a third version of A Midsummer Night's Dream due to popular demand which toured June -July 2019. Inundated with 'Pocket Production' bookings, the tour was shorter than the previous year but still managed to sell more tickets than any other production to date and broke the largest audience record!

 

The tour included new venue: Bexhill Manor Barn (which sold out), All Saint's Centre  in Lewes, 

Half House Farm, The Mermaid Inn and The Stables Theatre. 

Photos by our patron: Peter Mould of stagesnaps.com 

SEE THE REVIEWS

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CANCELLED 2020 EVENTS

WE HOPE TO BRING YOU IN THE FUTURE:

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What's Next?

CLICK HERE TO SEE WHAT'S COMING IN 2020

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