A wandering showman with a cardboard suitcase, an ancient hat, and a head full of stories is at the centre of a new, one-person show written by Clive Holland and Dan Thompson.
The Showman’s Odyssey – with Holland playing the eponymous hero – will premiere at Margate’s Tom Thumb Theatre tomorrow (November 17).
The show is based around a series of poems by Dan Thompson, which were published in 2019 in a collection called Your England. The poems explore some of England’s overlooked places and people, from Oswald Denniston who was the first black trader in Brixton’s markets to Basil Spence, the architect of Coventry Cathedral.
Holland has taken his favourites from nearly 100 poems, and woven them together into a new story which finds “Englishness in unexpected places”.
The Tom Thumb performance is of the work-in-progress, and is a co-production between Holland’s company Mischievous Theatre and Dan Thompson Studio. The performance will last around an hour, and will be followed by a post-show conversation in the theatre bar with the two authors, Holland and Thompson.
“This first step performance is very much a tiptoeing towards what might be. It is an experiment, something completely new,” says Holland, “and I am looking for the audience’s thoughts, ideas, and criticism!”
Thompson adds, “If, once the performance dust has settled, we still think there is a show there, then the showman will continue on his journey around England.”
Mischievous Theatre is well known for its adaptation of Peter Firmin and Oliver Postgate’s children’s series The Sagas of Noggin the Nog, and for their show The Man In The Wide Awake Hat, about Ramsgate resident Augustus Pugin.
Dan Thompson is an award-winning artist and writer who works across the UK and internationally. He has just returned to Margate after an artist’s residency in Newcastle-under-Lyme exploring the story of pacifist Vera Brittain.
The Showman’s Odyssey is at the Tom Thumb on Wednesday 17th November, at 7.30pm. For tickets, visit www.tomthumbtheatre.co.uk