Acting & Theatre

  • Accrington Pals: May played by Becky Thornton, staged by Sudden Impulse Theatre Company, Nuneaton. Photo by Carl Malkin.

Recent Productions

The Playboy of the Western World by John Millington Synge

February/March 2019, The Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa.

Directed by Gus MacDonald

First staged in Dublin in 1907, it caused a riot.

In a village in County Mayo, a young chancer, Christy Mahon, wanders into a pub claiming he has killed his bullying father.

The locals, instead of condemning the act, are enchanted by his colourful story and hail him an instant hero. The men toast him and drink more, the women try to woo him, but there are unexpected twists to his tale…

Full of life, laughter and music, this will be an evening where, as the Irish say, the Craic is mighty.

Treacle Town Tommy

November 2018, Sudden Impulse Theatre Company The Abbey Theatre, Nuneaton.


An original play written by the company’s Director, Simon Scotchbrook, this Nuneaton based World War One story mainly focuses on the roles of the miners in WW1 and how they were used for the tunneling under the trenches.


A magnificent tribute to town’s war heroes, November 27, 2018, By Steve Evans.

For a chap like me, sitting comfy in a lovely theatre, this production resonated and reverberated long after the poppies cascaded from the ceiling at the final curtain.

My grandfather was a miner and a Durham Light Infantryman in the First World War. My dad was a miner and a member of the British Expeditionary Force in 1939 with the Royal Warwickshire Regiment.

This magnificent play taps into the heart and soul, the very roots of colliery towns like Nuneaton (nick-named Treacle Town) whose sons went boldly and bravely from underground to The Front.

Like the miners, the actors dug deep. Very deep. The play is an emotional roller-coaster in this, the centenary of Armistice Day. It moved me immensely. Read more…


Lurking In the Loft

October 2018, The Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa.


DARE YOU COME TO LEAMINGTON’S PREMIERE LIVE HALLOWE’EN HAUNT? A themed piece of promenade theatre that takes guests on a mysterious and terrifying “backstage tour”, during which they discover the theatre has a brutal and deadly past from which they may never escape. Bring a friend to cling on to!  Loft Archive. Devised and Directed by Elizabeth Morris.


“Unexpected and exhilarating”: ‘Lurking in the Loft’, By Rebekah Bailey for Th Boar, Oct. 29, 2018

As I walked towards the Loft Theatre, I noted the ‘beware’ sign that warned pregnant women, epilepsy sufferers and those with a faint heart that this may not be their scene. But I carried on anyway. The Loft Theatre is the perfect setting for Lurking in the Loft, not only because the play’s characters arise from its surroundings, but because of the innovative use of space to create a truly haunting experience at an appropriate time of the year. The play is based around the Leamington Lurker, a mysterious character who steals girls for his personal ploys. Read more…

By Matthew Salisbury for the Leamington Observer, 28th Oct 2018

The popularity of Halloween – particularly among the young – seems to go from strength to strength. And it’s this love of the gruesome and scary that the Loft is catering for in its highly inventive offering Lurking in The Loft.

In a highly innovative step, the theatre has turned itself into a walk-through nightmarish experience, daring its audience to take a stroll through a very dark tale.

Those brave enough to go along are led through a series of well-staged scenes gradually learning more about a macabre tale of missing and murdered girls until the grim reveal at the end. Read more…

From the Trenches

September 2018, Sudden Impulse Theatre Company The Abbey Theatre, Nuneaton.


An evening of song, drama, poetry and comedy to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War One, includes ‘Blackadder Goes Forth’. With extracts from all four of our previous war plays ‘To The Green Fields Beyond’, ‘The Accrington Pals’, ‘Private Peaceful’ and songs from ‘Oh What a Lovely War’. Plus war poems, real life letters from the trenches and a special performance of Blackadder Goes Forth.


Accrington Pals

November 2017, Sudden Impulse Theatre Company The Abbey Theatre, Nuneaton.


The fourth in our series of World War One centenary plays, this follows the success of last year’s ‘Private Peaceful’. This lyrical, absorbing play, premiered by the RSC, is set in Accrington during 1914-16. The ‘Pals’ are the men from the local volunteer battalion who march high-spiritedly off to the Great War with their experiences in the trenches contrasted with those of the women left behind. At times funny, at times sad, it paints a moving and powerful picture of the changes in civilian life during wartime.


Tragic volunteers and the women they left behind, November 23, 2017, By John Goodman.

War changes everything, usually for ever. In this latest of the impressive Sudden Impulse Theatre’s First World War cycle, it’s the lives of women.

At the centre of Peter Whelan’s 1981 play for the RSC is a group of working-class Accrington women. A fine ensemble performance by Sudden Impulse portrays the women’s growing
emancipation: Economically, sartorially as hemlines creep higher and, especially, in their relationships with the men – the Pals – who are volunteering for Kitchener’s Army.

May, determined, independent, aspiring – successfully we suspect – to greater things, is played with conviction by Becky Thornton. She considers the town to be a “dirty, mean, foul-mouthed place” and cannot, will not, admit to herself that she loves Tom, her young lodger and second cousin (or is he?). She rejects him and sees him off to war but in a gripping scene with his ghost echoes the still shocking assertion by Oscar Wilde, that each man (or woman in this case) kills the thing (s)he loves. Read more


Becky Thornton
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