Upstart exists to create compelling and entertaining theatre which confronts the biggest questions facing the society we live in.
Upstart’s founders Tom Mansfield and Steven Lally met at Birmingham University in 2001. They produced Steven’s play THESE THINGS HAPPEN at Birmingham’s Crescent Theatre in the summer of 2002, with a group of students under the name “Upstart Theatre”.
In 2004, both now living in London, they produced OTHER EDENS, an evening of short plays at the Etcetera Theatre, which featured work by Jack Thorne, Andrew Taylor and Steven Lally. The following year they produced Joanna Pinto‘s play GARDENING LEAVE in London and Maidenhead, and took the British premiere of Ethan Lipton’s MEAT to the Edinburgh Festival.
In 2006, Upstart returned to the Etcetera with UNDISCOVERED, another evening of shorts including work by Steven Lally, Dawn King and Alison Carr. Dawn King’s CHICKPEA SICKDAY PICASSO SABOTAGE then transferred to the Union Theatre as part of the 2006 ShortCuts Festival.
In 2007, Upstart produced LONDON CALLING, an evening comprising THE HIGH COST OF LIVING by Joanna Pinto and WATER SCULPTURES by Dawn King, at Theatre503. Having played to sell-out houses, we transferred Water Sculptures to the English Theatre of Bruges. In 2008, Upstart become a limited company and produced a double bill of two Dawn King plays, WATER SCULPTURES and ZOO at the Union Theatre, and the Act/React season of new work (by Tom Wateracre, Small Change Theatre, Lydia Ziemke and Jemma Llewellyn) at Theatre503.
2009 saw Upstart return to the Union Theatre with the Time Out Critics’ Choice production of OH WELL NEVER MIND BYE by Steven Lally, a play exploring the media reaction to the death of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell underground station in 2005 and described by Andrew Haydon in Time Out as “essential viewing for anyone who cares about the future of our newspapers”.
A full archive of reviews of Upstart’s productions is available online at http://www.upstart-theatre.co.uk/wordpress/?page_id=604