Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Edinburgh Fringe 2013

As we announced earlier in the year, we’re not making any new shows for the time being and we’re not touring any of our existing ones. We’re ‘on a break’ - for want of a better term - working out what the future is going to be for the company.

As such, we’re not going to be in Edinburgh for the festival this summer. Well, not all doing the same thing at least. Jethro and Jamie are working on The Bunker Trilogy, Alex and Dom are making work with The Flanagan Collective.

Here’s what we’re up to in our different guises. We’ll be blogging and posting via Facebook and Twitter about these projects and about other projects we think you might like to hear of.


Jethro Compton presents

An entirely immersive experience. Three classic legends reimagined in the heart of World War One.

MORGANA, the Arthurian Legend. In the trenches, three young soldiers in search of distraction and delight find more than they bargained for in the beautiful and mysterious Morgana Le ​Fay.

​​AGAMEMNON, the Ancient Greek Legend. The trenches, 1918. Journey into the delusions of a soldier, devastated by war, convinced of a plot to bring him down.

MACBETH, the Shakespearean Legend, thrusts you deep into the heart of the First World War as the King, tormented by witches, hallucinations and apparitions, prepares for battle.

Belt Up Theatre's Producer and co-Artistic Director, Jethro Compton, is going to be directing and designing the three shows and working with Jonny Sims who will be composing the original scores for each of them. Jonny composed the score for A Little Princess both on stage and for radio.

Fellow Artistic Director, Jamie Wilkes, is writing the scripts for Morgana and Agamemnon. Jamie is the acclaimed author of a number of Edinburgh hits including Belt Up Theatre’s Women of Troy in 2008,  Metamorphosis and Atrium in 2010 and the runaway success, The Tartuffe, which had two incredible sold out years at the Fringe in 2008 and 2009.

All three shows are going to be performed every day in Edinburgh for the entire run of the Fringe (31st July - 26th August 2013) at C nova on Victoria Street. The Bunker will also be hosting a number of bespoke and one-off events from friends of the company. 

Visit the website for more information: and follow @JethroCompton for updates. #TheBunkerTrilogy #EnterTheTrenches


Alexander Wright presents two shows, and some romping stomping knees-ups, with the rolling strolling rag tag bunch, The Flanagan Collective.

Beulah took the fringe by storm in 2012. Total Theatre Award nominated - and with 5* reviews from The Scotsman, ThreeWeeks, AYoungerTheatre, Public Reviews and Broadway Baby - Lyn Gardner called this two hander folk musical 'Charm itself.' Directed by Tom Bellerby and with soaring music from Jim Harbourne (Tortoise In A Nutshell) and Ed Wren (The River People), Beulah returns to the Fringe for a exclusive run between the 14th - 26th August, 13:40 @ C Main.

Beulah is written by Alexander Wright who's play The Boy James has toured with Belt Up Theatre since 2010, with sell out and critically acclaimed runs in Edinburgh, London, Adelaide and Kansas City.

Belt Up Theatre's Dominic Allen is making a new solo show with The Flanagan Collective too. The Bridge That Tom Built looks at the remarkable life of Tom Paine - the man responsible for the American Revolution and the French Revolution, before he built a bridge in a field in Paddington and died penniless and alone. Directed by Belt Up's associate artist Joe Hufton, Joe & Dom team up after the brilliant success of Outland.

As a writer Dom has penned some memorable original shows for Belt Up, including Outland and Lorca is Dead: or a brief history of surrealism. As a performer Dom has graced the Belt Up 'stages' with his Orgon in Tartuffe, Macbeth in Macbeth and probably hundreds of roles in The Drawing Room Trilogy (Outland, The Boy James, A Little Princess). The Bridge That Tom Built plays 14th - 26th August, 19:10 @ C Nova.

The Flanagan Collective will also be curating some one off parties here and there - expect to be dancing on the tables, glasses raised in hand and arms round the shoulder's of strangers. To keep up, set your eyes on @FlanCol / #LittleFest.

For more information head to

Friday, 18 January 2013

The Future of Belt Up Theatre

Belt Up Theatre has always been about three things, the shows, the audience and the people.  We have loved creating the shows; we’ve loved performing to the audience and loved working with the people we’ve had the chance to work with. The audiences have been incredibly loyal and supportive – without this support we would not have been able to do what we’ve done. For that, we can only say thank you.
Running a theatre company comes with many challenges. Financial ones. Artistic ones. Personal ones. It’s been an absolute delight and occasionally an absolute nightmare. It has given us the chance to create the shows we want to make, to meet wonderful people and, more recently, to see some incredible parts of the world.

In late 2012 we met to discuss the future of the company, something that has been uncertain for some time. We’ve never planned ahead – we’ve always focused on the work we are making and the work we want to do next. What we’ve decided is that there is still a lot more that we want to do but we aren’t certain when we’ll do these things. Essentially we have decided that there will be a future for Belt Up but it will be exactly that, a future. For the time being we’re going to be very quiet. There are no on-going shows and no shows in the pipeline. You won’t see Belt Up in Edinburgh, York, London or anywhere around the world in the near future. But we will return when the time is right.

So many people have worked with us through the highs and lows of the last five years. We won’t try and list them here but they know who they are and we hope they know how grateful we are for their help in making Belt Up what it has become. Thank you all.
We’re obviously still going to be around as individuals, making our shows and developing our own projects. We’ll keep you up to date on Twitter and Facebook of what we’re all up to. Here’s how to follow us as individuals:

Dominic Allen
Twitter: @domjallen

Jethro Compton
Twitter: @JethroCompton

Jamie Wilkes
Twitter: @JamesWilkes

Alex Wright
Twitter: @AlexanderGerald

Also, here’s Joe Hufton (@JoeHufton) our Associate Artist and Serena Manteghi (@SerenaManteghi) who’s our longest serving ensemble member. Do look out for them as they’ll have plenty of great projects over the next few months that will be well worth watching.

We are, as ever and always, so very grateful for the times we have had and the work we have made. Our genuine thanks to all who have made the last five years quite so special. We looking forward to keeping in touch and seeing where the future leads.

Much Love,

Dom, Jethro, Jamie & Alex

Friday, 21 September 2012

A Little Princess Comes to London

The third and final part of The Drawing Room trilogy, A Little Princess, is coming to London for three performances only.

A Little Princess brings Frances Hodgson Burnett’s classic novel to life. Join Sara Crewe as she is torn from her life in India in a journey from princess to pauper. Left without her father in a foreign land; comfort her, listen to her tales and relish in the magic and the tragic beauty of her story. A stunning adaptation of a well-loved novel.

Click here to read the reviews from Edinburgh.

Click here to view the trailer.

Click here to view the website..

Click here to book tickets.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Hunchback of Notre Dame - in Selby Abbey

We are absolutely thrilled to announce that tickets have gone on sale for Belt Up Theatre's Hunchback of Notre Dame in Selby Abbey in North Yorkshire.

Jethro Compton Ltd will produce the site-specific production of Victor Hugo’s classic novel Notre Dame de Paris in Selby Abbey in 2012 involving a professional team and a number of community performers (choir, bell ringers, organists) that will be supported by local businesses and enterprises.

Belt Up Theatre’s Hunchback of Notre Dame is a vivid recreation of Victor Hugo’s timeless tale of longing, passion and unrequited love. The production is inspired by a previous version performed by Belt Up Theatre, company in residence at York Theatre Royal, who have been hailed by York Press as 'the future of theatre’ and The Observer as ‘bright young things changing the face of British Theatre’.

The Arts Council England has awarded funding to the project, which will run for a week at the end of 2012. The company will run workshops for local schools and public workshops in the lead up to the performance. 

‘I’m absolutely delighted that we are able to go ahead with the production. We’ve been working with the Abbey, Creative Selby and Selby Chamber of Commerce for the best part of a year now and it’s just fantastic that all that hard work has paid off. The Abbey is such an incredible, historic landmark; we’re all thrilled that we’ll be able to make the show there.’ Jethro Compton – Producer and Writer.

The former show, titled as ‘Quasimodo’ has had critically acclaimed sell out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August 2010, The Lowry in Salford Quays earlier in 2011 and Southwark Playhouse, London in 2010.
‘a clever, claustrophobic, psychological horror’ **** Time Out London Critic’s Choice    
‘an intense adaptation of Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris’ **** The Scotsman
‘dark and compelling… fantastic’ **** Manchester Evening News

The cast includes Dominic Allen as Archdeacon Frollo, Serena Manteghi as La Esmeralda and Sam Donnelly as the hunchback, Quasimodo. The production will be directed by David Calvitto who directed Belt Up's Macbeth in the House of Detention earlier this year.

The production runs 13 - 17 November 2012.

For tickets and more information, visit

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

A Little Princess: the reviews so far

A Little Princess is our new show this year at the Edinburgh Fringe. Here are the reviews so far...

a triumph of literary subtlety and genius
‘Serena Manteghi's disarmingly stunning portrayal of Sara Crewe astounded from start to finish
‘Outstanding in every possible instance

‘There’s a specific and very warm kind of magic in Belt Up’s shows’

a beautifully told story… a truly enchanting hour’

‘Beautiful… this is storytelling at its best

‘Serena Manteghi is brilliantly charismatic and gorgeous

‘Manteghi is a true revelation’
There’s a noble beauty to Compton’s soaring script

‘Manteghi is charming from the outset’

‘Manteghi is excellent’

FEST ***
a sweet fable for the power of story-telling

the toast of the Fringe
‘Miss Minchin (a role tackled with aplomb and humour by a bearded Dominic West in a dress)
n.b. Dominic West was unable to perform the entire run due to prior Hollywood commitments. Dominic Allen has stepped in as Miss Minchin.

‘a celebration of the power of the imagination, of storytelling and of Burnett herself

‘I already want to see it again’

Saturday, 4 August 2012

The Drawing Room: EdFringe2012

We are thrilled to announce our new space, The Drawing Room, which plays host to our Edinburgh Fringe Season this year.

The room within a room mixes ambitious design with Belt Up's unique style to create a custom-made environment perfectly suited to hold our three shows, The Boy James, Outland and the world premier of A Little Princess.

The season runs from 2 - 27 August. Full details here.

Have a listen to the music composed for the show by the incredible Jonny Sims:

Friday, 27 July 2012

Learning a Thing or Two: by James Wilkes

It’s July 2012: the year of the Olympics, the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the year the world comes to an end but most importantly of course it is Belt Up’s fifth Edinburgh Fringe. It only feels like yesterday that about fifty students from York University were deliriously trying to rehearse twenty five different productions for The Red Room. It feels like yesterday but it, like many things in the past, seems like a different age. Belt Up is a different company, we’re all different people but at the same time... the same.

I won’t be performing with Belt Up this summer; I haven’t been with Belt Up at the Fringe since 2010’s The House Above (feels like yesterday/a different age). It’s fascinating though to watch the company more objectively. Last year on a day off from York Theatre Royal’s ‘Peter Pan’ I snuck up to the Fringe and was able to watch Outland, simply as an audience member. I’d seen a stumble through during rehearsals but it felt rather nice to be able to come in relatively ignorant and just enjoy a Belt Up show as a Belt Up audience member. What struck me was how far we’ve come since our emerging days in 2008. The writing, acting, directing were all so much more sophisticated. In those many years we’ve been rattling around, we’ve actually learnt a thing or two.

I’ve now hidden away from the harsh realities of the real world and gone back to being a student – taking a sabbatical from Belt Up to train at LAMDA- so learning and developing is very much on my mind at the moment.  One thing that I’m truly starting to appreciate is how much I’ve learnt from writing, directing and acting with Belt Up.

As a company we developed greatly as individuals. We have learnt bucket loads from each other and our mentors but more often than not, our most important lessons have come from our interactions with the audience.

Lyn Gardner once described us as “learning on the job, 21stc equivalent of the rep system” and I think this is entirely accurate. Through doing so many shows we have been able to experiment directly with our audiences. Because they’re not hidden away in the shadows, our audience’s reactions aren’t hidden away – that means if you’re giving a bad performance, you’re very quickly aware of it; you can see every smile, laugh, tear, yawn or grimace. You can see at exactly which point a critic writes in their pad. You can see all too clearly when someone gets up and walks out (most of the time they have to say ‘excuse me’ to pass you). This open relationship has meant throughout our many shows and many runs we get instant feedback and that kind of experience is invaluable. Every single performance can teach us something new.

All artists are individuals and every member of Belt Up is an individual. We exist as a collective but we also have our own paths in which we’re growing and learning. One thing is for sure though; we are all indebted to what we learn through our work with Belt Up and the prospect of new lessons is what keeps Belt Up going. I for one can’t wait to see Belt Up’s work this Fringe and I can’t wait for the audiences too either. After all, over the next few years when 2012 feels just like yesterday/a different age, the audiences for The Boy James, Outland and A Little Princess at this Fringe may actually have taught us even more than we’d have imagined.