What’s on – Upcoming Shows


A Season Of Phenomenal Women

The Players, The Boy Actor and Meek

Running in rep throughout June

  • Thur 3rd June 7:30pm Meek
  • Friday 4th June 7:30pm The Boy Actor
  • Sat 5th June 7:30pm The Players
  • Tue 8th June 7:30pm Meek
  • Wed 9th June 7:30pm Double Bill The Boy Actor/The Players
  • Thur 10th June 7:30pm Meek
  • Fri 11th June 7:30pm Double Bill The Players/The Boy Actor
  • Sat 12th June 7:30pm Meek
  • Mon 14th June 7:30 Double Bill The Players/The Boy Actor
  • Tue 15th June 7:30pm Meek
  • Wed 16th June Double Bill The Players/The Boy Actor
  • Thur 17th June 7:30pm Meek

The Players by Nick Whitby

Towards the end of the reign of Elizabeth the First, a group of the period’s most influential women wait at the house of the Countess of Derby for the arrival of a troupe of travelling players.  As they wait they engage in a battle of wits and wills that will shape both their world, and our own.

Intriguing, mysterious, and often wryly funny, The Players reveals where power truly lay in the Elizabethan age, and why.  The play peels back some of the assumptions that still surround the period for modern audiences, and challenges the absurd idea that its leading women were merely passive observers of their times.  It offers audiences a direct way in to a proper and full appreciation of this extraordinary period in our country’s history, that avoids a too-often incomplete and lazy way of imagining our past – that might be summed up in a simple question:  ‘Do you think that women in any time or society weren’t fully involved in the affairs of their world?’ 

Writer Nick Whitby studied English at New College Oxford under the great scholar (and co-editor of The Riverside Shakespeare) Anne Barton.  Her influence was also strongly felt on the development of the RSC through her husband John Barton, one of its founding directors.  Nick has been a playwright and scriptwriter for over 30 years, with work produced in various genres on BBC, ITV and C4, and plays performed across Europe, in America, Canada and Australia, as well as in the UK, at the Donmar and Hampstead theatres in London. The Players emerged in 2020 from his association with Cygnet on a Shakespeare workshop, that involved readings by the student-actors involved.   For Nick, The Players was directly inspired by the extraordinary level of skill, commitment and ability shown in their handling of Elizabethan verse in that workshop, and was begun shortly afterwards, being accepted for production in November 2020.


The Boy Actor by Caroline Monk

Aspects of the most personal history of Elizabeth 1st are revealed in this play as, with a mixture of affection, humour and inspiring majesty, she allows herself to be charmed by a young aspiring actor whose dearest ambition is to join Shakespeare’s company.

“A well-researched and balanced play which scores on all fronts … a must for Shakespeare lovers.”
Western Times


Meek by Penelope Skinner

In a society where private lives become political and freedom of expression is not an option, Irene finds herself imprisoned. As tales of her incarceration spread overseas and her growing exposure becomes a threat, she is forced to make a brutal decision.  Penelope Skinner’s (Linda/The Village Bike) 2018 play is a haunting vision of ruthless state control, tense friendships and one woman’s determination not to be broken. Meek is a tale which reflects on our own fraught times.
Cygnet Company is proud to bring this powerful new play to Exeter for the first time.

For dates for PHENOMENAL WOMEN shows including Double Bills here


She Ventures and He Wins by Ariadne

An hilarious Restoration romp jam-packed with gags and innuendo, fuelled by cross-dressing and deceit, as two smart young women take control of their romantic lives.

Lovelorn in London! A cluster of singletons are looking for their perfect match.

The smart, the sassy, the hopeful and the hopeless swap plot and counterplot, skirts for breeches, (and breeches for skirts!) and throw caution to the winds.

With Falstaffian farce, tricks and confusion, SHE VENTURES and HE WINS is a delightfully playful comedy with women resolutely on top!


Visiting Companies

Blue Fire Theatre Company presents Kemp’s Jig

Meet Will Kemp – internationally renowned comic superstar, creator of several of Shakespeare’s comedy roles and the original “Nine Day Wonder”.


A “horrible histories” for all ages, Kemp’s Jig tells of Shakespeare’s forgotten clown and his Morris dance from London to Norwich in a bizarre publicity stunt.
Based on Kemp’s own diary this is an irreverent one-man show telling the story of the most famous comedian of his generation and the most famous playwright in history.
Fans of Upstart Crow and Shakespeare in Love will cheer Kemp on his riotous romp through Elizabethan England.

Medea – By Euripides, in a version by Ben Power.

The Wheel


“The future is turned before our eyes into wrenching heartache . . . the skies blacken . . .
night will swallow all.”

The Wheel’s Actor Training Company take on this iconic Greek tragedy, in a powerful, poetic and physical retelling of Medea. Directed by Amanda Collins & Kevin Johnson this gripping and intense ensemble production reimagines the myth for a contemporary audience.

Medea is a wife and a mother, who is betrayed by the husband she sacrificed everything for. Heartbroken and stricken with grief, she finds herself an immigrant in a hostile country. Blinded by her need for revenge on those who have wronged her, how far will she to go and to what cost?

The Wheel is an integrated production and training company based in the south west, to find out more about our work and apply to join our Training Company visit: Thewheel.org.uk


Orpheus And Drought – Double Bill

2nd July 7:30pm

Orpheus by Nick Borsack is an adaptation – an odyssey into monologue, the poet longing to find his song. DROUGHT is a compositional performance poem adapted to film, written and performed by Kit Radford, untangling cultural myths and psychic trauma on the collective female body through landscape, language and song.

Orpheus: A song that is stuck in his head, the musician’s talents fail, forced back into the depths beyond death, struggling with what has left him so bereft. Once more, he must face the trials of gods and men, maybe then, he will see his love again Orpheus is a collective creation of Bred In The Bone Theatre Company, showing their specific work in theatre musicality. Written by Nick Borsack, it has been staged by Matthieu Leloup and Amanda Collins. Performed by Matthieu Leloup and Kit Radford (music). Orpheus has premiered in Kent (RBC Symposium 2015) and performed at the Dreams Before Dawn Festival
in Paris (2015-2019).

DROUGHT: A ten year long durational poem. It began as a compositional performance piece. It explores sonic harmony, discordance, hypnosis and narrative to disentangle psychic trauma and its traces through the personal and collective body, through the lens of mythology and its prophetic effects and subsequent manifestations of violence against the female body. This iteration is a conceptual film creating a visual landscape for the composition in collaboration with Matthieu Bellon.

Bred In The Bone Theatre Laboratory, present a double bill of new writing exploring the prophetic power of myths in our understanding of the human experience and the search for meaning and identity.