by Sadie Spencer and Tom Black

The rain has finally stopped. Four people survive. They are in a swan pedalo.

Following rave reviews, DugOut bring their smash-hit show to the Lowry to ask what we’d remember if we could start again.

3rd-6th May 2017

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“Theatrically watertight… character comedy, social satire and moral debate.”
The Stage

“At once bleak and hopeful, innocent and cynical, dark and light. The result is nothing short of brilliance.”

“A funny yet touching play about friendship that finds not just the comedy in the apocalypse, but the positivity.”
The List

“Rich with music, gallows humour and existential debate on the merits of humanity.”

This group bristles with talent and stage presence. All of them will make a mark in theatre. 

The Stage | Photo by James Phillips

About DugOut

We founded the company in Leeds in 2009 when we were still students. Six years on, we've done nine shows, won seven awards and are still going strong. Here's a brief history of the company.


Our first show at the Fringe, Dealer’s Choice, earned sell-out crowds and four-star reviews. We followed it with productions of Hay Fever, Othello, and Bouncers Remix.


For the first time, we devised a show from scratch. Inheritance Blues won acclaim in Leeds and Edinburgh, and awards at the International Student Drama Festival, alongside our production of The Birthday Party.


We worked with The Pin’s Alexander Owen to create our second new show, Fade. The following year, Inheritance Blues returned to earn acclaim at HighTide festival, sell out the Soho Theatre and win five star reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe.


Our third devised show, The Sunset Five got underway with previews in Hull and Islington – don’t miss it at the Pleasance Dome this year.

Inheritance Blues

DugOut's first devised show has finished its run for the time being. Read the story of Inheritance Blues below.

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We are back with awesome stuff!

The Scotsman

“Creates the laid-back mood of a live music club within a broad appeal, light-hearted comedy… it’s a lot of fun.”

The Stage

Inheritance Blues offers laughter in abundance and pleasure in the music, and the questions of how much our parents influence us will linger.”

Broadway Baby

“These are very, very funny men and to miss this hilarious culmination of their collective output would be a great mistake. An exciting and creative company who ought to be on everyone’s Fringe radar.”



The Fenwick brothers (most of them, anyway) are trying to hold a quiet, respectable wake for their father. Not helping matters are familial debt, decade-old rivalries, a blizzard and a blues band that have turned up unannounced.

Join The Hot Air Ballues for a night that has a bit of everything: storytelling, live music, a cappella singing, arguments, laughs, tears and a kazoo. Allow them to take you back in time to their first gig and become immersed in the trials, tribulations and trivialities of three young men suffering from the inheritance blues.

DugOut’s first scratch piece was devised over a six week period that took the company from a cliff in Cornwall to the stage@leeds. After four hugely successful nights in Leeds, the show was selected for NSDF12-ISDF. DugOut gave five performances to the packed Sheffield Crucible Studio and went on to win the Judges’ Award for Best Devised Show, the Cameron Mackintosh Commendation for Musical Theatre and the NSDF Festgoers’ Choice Award.

After an acclaimed return at HighTide Festival, Inheritance Blues sold out previews at the Soho Theatre on 27th and 28th July, before transferring to the Pleasance Courtyard for the month of August. There, it earned five star reviews and sell out shows. 

It’s been a heck of a journey, but Inheritance Blues has finished its run – for now. A full rundown of Inheritance Blues performances:

February 2012 – stage@leeds
April 2012 – Sheffield Crucible
August 2012 – Bedlam Theatre, Edinburgh
April 2014 – HighTide Festival
July 2014 – Soho Theatre
August 2014 – Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh
September 2014 – West Yorkshire Playhouse
January 2015 – New Diorama Theatre
February 2015 – Hull Truck Theatre

A lively, inventive, feel-good production. Oozing with simple British charm, The Sunset Five is a hilarious, must-see romp

Alan Chadwick | Scottish Daily Mail

The Sunset Five

Faced with losing their beloved watering hole, a pub quiz team stage a daring casino heist. Hailing from the rundown seaside town of Chipworth, this band of very ordinary misfits come together in an attempt to pull off something truly extraordinary. After the success of Inheritance Blues, DugOut Theatre return to delight audiences with this hilarious comedy. 

Featuring live music and a raucous script devised by the company and written by Tom Black and Sadie Spencer, The Sunset Five is an hour at the theatre that will leave you smiling all the way home.

After runs at the Pleasance Islington, the Edinburgh Fringe and the Greenwich Theatre, The Sunset Five has finished its run for the time being.


Previous shows

We've been putting on shows since 2010. Roll over the pictures below to find out about our previous productions.



When depressed journalist Danny sees his childhood sweetheart onstage in a production of Hamlet, he organises an interview with her in an attempt to reconnect with his past. Along the way he encounters the impossibly stupid Perch, the sinister director Andrew and Chippers – who insists he is a figment of Danny’s imagination.

Devised alongside The Pin‘s Alexander Owen, Fade was performed at the Bedlam Theatre at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2013 to sell-out crowds and great reviews.


“Will have you laughing and gasping… superb comedy throughout” ★★★★ Edinburgh Spotlight

“Fresh and accomplished… the cast more than deliver… great chemistry, uncanny charm and laugh-out-loud moments” ★★★★ A Younger Theatre

“Poignant and hilarious… couples impeccable acting with epic dialogue… a gem of a show” ★★★★ Broadway Baby

“Fall-off-your-seat funny… the perfect show for the end of the day” ★★★★ WhatsOnStage

“Both satisfying and gut-wrenching… I laughed a great deal, but it gave me something to think about, too” ★★★★ FringeGuru


Danny – Will Brown
Andrew – Tom Black
Perch – Ed MacArthur
Imogen – Nina Shenkman
Chippers – Luke Murphy


Director – George Chilcott
Assistant Director – Harry Williams
Producer – Milly Smith
Lighting – Celia Dugua
Stage Manager – Ollie Jacques

Written by Alexander Owen with additional material by the company



Two brothers run into each other in their father’s London flat which they use to sleep with women. Finding the flat in boxes, it quickly becomes clear all is not what it seems. With their women in tow, the brothers embark on a night of drinking, laughter, chaos and heartbreak as it becomes clear that everybody has something to hide and no one is in a rush to leave.

Directed by Harry Williams, his first play after winning the ISDF Director’s Guild Award, this four-part situational comedy was DugOut’s production of New Writing. Written by DugOut’s own Ed MacArthur, Cover played at C Nova for the entirety of the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe festival. Choreographed movement based on The Artist, impressive ticket sales and praise for Nina Shenkman, Phoebe Sparrow and clever direction made it into DugOut’s sleeper success of 2012


“Jumps off the stage and forces you to remain in your seat… a masterclass in delivering such a deceitfully simple script.” ★★★★ ThreeWeeks

“Nina Shenkman shines as the incessantly overbearing Mags, delivering a deeply nuanced performance. She had me in tears as I struggled to control my giggles… DugOut Theatre has produced a fiery new production that deserves a wide audience.” ★★★★ Broadway Baby

“A witty and successful update of the traditional, British, domestic farce.” A Younger Theatre


James – Hugh Coles
Rebecca – Phoebe Sparrow
Mags – Nina Shenkman
Billy – Tom Black

Director – Harry Williams
Producer – Milly Smith
Choreographer – Louisa Beadel

The Birthday Party

The Birthday Party

Meg and Petey live a simple life. Petey looks after his deck chairs, and Meg looks after her house-guest, Stanley. It is the morning, cornflakes are being served and we quickly learn that it is Stanley’s birthday. Suddenly, two gentleman arrive. It’s unclear why they’re here, or why they want to stay, but very quickly the whole house is planning a party for Stanley. Throughout the play we are posed many questions but never any answers; it is like a ‘whodunnit’ without the ‘dunnit’. But it soon becomes apparent that something very nasty indeed is going on…

Pinter’s first play was also Harry Williams’ first foray into directing. A focus on the timing and undertones of the infamous dialogue, combined with signature DugOut movement, choreography and a unique design made it a very successful production. After a popular run in Leeds, it was selected to be performed at NSDF12-ISDF in June 2012. At the festival, Harry won the Director’s Guild Award and Phoebe Sparrow won an award for her ‘mesmerising’ performance as Meg.


“Astute interpretation…often verging on terrifying…a stunning and dramatic mixture of the real and the bizarre” ★★★★ Leeds Student

Meg – Phoebe Sparrow
Petey – Will Brown
Stanley – Hugh Coles
Lulu – Megan Greeves
McCann – Luke Murphy
Goldberg – Tom Black

Director – Harry Williams
Assistant Director – Charles Daniel
Producer – Milly Smith

Lighting – Al Hicks

Costume – Zoë Nicholson, Serena Chambers, Georgia Wood

Bouncers Remix

Bouncers Remix

Join Lucky Eric, Judd, Les and Ralph for a raucous, witty and moving recreation of just another night on the tiles at Mr. Cinders. John Godber’s much-loved multi-roling comedy was brought to life by DugOut in 2011, eventually transferring to the Edinburgh Fringe at the Zoo Roxy. It received rave reviews from audiences and critics alike, and became the second DugOut show to be awarded five stars.


“A truly formidable cast…hilarity and well-tempered poignancy…a flawless performance from start to finish” ★★★★★ ThreeWeeks

“This unmissable show creates universal enjoyment and engagement…fantastic physical theatre acts…consistently excellent throughout” ★★★★★ EdFringe Review

“Tight physicality…natural comic flair…highly entertaining comic execution…a plethora of directorial talent” ★★★★ FringeReview

“Very precise, very talented actors…incredibly fresh and original” John Godber

Lucky Eric – Will Brown
Judd – Luke Murphy
Les – Henry Perryment
Ralph – George Chilcott

Director – Tom Black
Assistant Director – Rosie Clark
Choreographer – Louisa Beadel
Producer – Laura-Jane Zielinska



Venice turned into 1960s Washington and Cyprus into Vietnam in DugOut’s first Shakespeare. Othello, driven to jealousy and madness by his ancient, Iago, stared down the barrel of an M16 and eavesdropped on the suspected adulterer Cassio using a Walkie-Talkie. As Iago boasted to the audience of his success, Mungo Jerry played from a record player. The Turkish fleet bearing up to Cyprus became comparable to the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the terrible fate of Othello and Desdemona was brutally played out in a sweaty barracks.

After taking Leeds by storm, this ‘bold retelling’ of the tragedy of the Moor of Venice moved to the Zoo Roxy in Edinburgh and received further acclaim. M16s, an authentic soundtrack and a gritty, military set earned this production a place in many festival-goers’ hearts.


“A bold retelling…does not disappoint” ★★★★ The Guardian

“Arresting…compelling…a noteworthy performance…the audience is pained to watch Desdemona’s destruction”  ★★★★ WhatsOnStage

“A stunning retelling by a frighteningly strong cast”  ★★★★ ThreeWeeks

“Exemplifies the idea of a powerful, intelligent female…outstanding acting” EdFringe Review

Othello – Ekow Quartey
Iago – Tom Black
Desdemona – Cressida Bonas
Cassio – Oli Forsyth
Roderigo – Sam Ripman
Emilia – Louisa Beadel
Bianca – Helen Kennedy or Nina Shenkman
Duke – Will Brown
Brabantio – Jimmy Walters

Director – George Chilcott
Assistant Director – Jack Howard
Producers – Anna Chettle, Emily Barran, Charlotte Reeve
Lighting – Freya Stanley-Price

Hay Fever

Hay Fever

Judith Bliss has invited a guest to her country home for the weekend. So has her daughter. And her husband. And her son. As the house grows more crowded and people seem to forget who they’re supposed to be visiting, a farce of epic proportions prepares to unfold.

In Ed MacArthur’s directorial debut, DugOut brought Noël Coward’s comedy of (awful) manners to the stage@leeds and combined Coward’s deathless dialogue with the thrill of live music in the form of the house band, The Coward Club. The mix of piano, clarinet, saxophone and cake proved a winning combination, and Hay Fever earned DugOut our first five star review.


“A triumph…oozing with professionalism…acute comic awareness…take this production on tour, DugOut, it’s selfish of Leeds University to keep it to itself. I cannot recommend this more highly” ★★★★★ FringeReview

“A perfectly balanced display of comedy…truly captures comedy to its utmost…Hay Fever exposes some seriously talented musicians and an exceptionally talented cast” ★★★★ Leeds Student

Sorel Bliss – Cressida Bonas
Simon Bliss – Oli Forsyth
Clara – Annie McGrath
Judith Bliss – Gemma Wilson
David Bliss – Luke Siese
Sandy Tyrell – George Chilcott
Myra Arundel – Ellie Gibbons
Richard Greatham – Tom Black
Jackie Coryton – Camilla Bonnar

The Coward Club
Piano – Ed MacArthur
Saxophone – Harry Williams
Clarinet – Chlöe Shiner

Director – Ed MacArthur
Producer – Emily Barran
Design – Amy Maguire

Dealer’s Choice

Dealer’s Choice

After Stephen’s restaurant closes for the night, the regular poker game takes a turn for the sinister with the arrival of a stranger who claims to be Stephen’s son’s Economics teacher. Mugsy, meanwhile, has big plans for the public convenience down Mile End. The action is slickly divided with sharp, stylised movements, setting a trend that DugOut have since proudly considered a signature element of our shows.

The show that started it all, Dealer’s Choice was a huge success in Leeds and went on to be selected for NSDF11 after a sell-out run at the Fringe in 2010.


“All the actors’ performances are remarkable…hilarious choreography between the scenes” ★★★★ ThreeWeeks

“An excellent example of male ensemble work at its best” ★★★★ FringeReview

“The group bristles with talent and stage presence. All of them will make a mark in theatre” The Stage

Mugsy – Ed MacArthur
Sweeney – Will Brown
Stephen – Tom Gordon
Frankie – Harry Williams
Ash – Jimmy Walters
Carl – George Chilcott

Director – George Chilcott
Choreographer – Ellie Gibbons