Out of Character : Reality and Better Nightmares

Directed by Gemma Alldred
January 2009: Hidden Histories, York
reality and better nightmaresA short performance for a Hidden Histories seminar event held at York St. John University. This performance focused on things we wanted to remember and things we’d prefer to forget.

This was our first devised performance as a then un-named theatre company. Having completed the introductory theatre course provided by York St. John University to mental health service users, those of us who wished to continue were given the opportunity to create a company. We must have put this piece together in approximately four or five sessions.

It was created by using the techniques and methods learnt on the introductory course, and employed the themes of remembering and forgetting, the work of artist Dave McKean and an extract from a sketch by the comedy writer/director Christopher Morris. The show came entirely from our responses to the material,  and choices made during the rehearsal process.

Out of Character: Enchantment

Directed by Gemma Alldred
May 2009: Create 09 Festival, York
 Enchantment was developed over 12 weeks with the then newly formed/ newly named theatre company, Out of Character. The motivation for the development of the piece came from two key themes, a desire to ‘do’ Shakespeare and themes around identity, which are especially relevant as the company starts the journey of developing its own theatrical identity.Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream, lends itself to examining confusion of identity and allowed us to further develop ideas around identity, and identification in workshops which have formed the basis for the other scenes.

“I feel this is a timely piece, not only for the group, but for you the audience member. Now is the time to question what you know, what you thought you knew about your identity and your right to it. In a time where identity is confused in meaning, shifting in ideals and not always considered a personal right, who will you be and where will you belong?”

Gemma Alldred

A Nice Cup of Tea

Let Me Solve Your Problems,

Let Me Make You a Cup of Tea.

Tea the great soother. Tea the great problem solver.

A Nice Cup of Tea was written, devised and performed in 2008.

Installation and performance

In response to needing to make it better, without really knowing what is wrong the smiling host will make tea and tell you lots of things you never knew before about tea, of course she’s really telling you lots of things about oppression and about wanting to break free… once she’s sorted all the mess out, all your mess out, that is.

“I’m quite sure India never asked to be colonised. In fact I’m sure she didn’t even realise it was happening until it was too late, bit by bit she made concession after concession until she had no strength left with which to fight back and then she became part of it, colluding with her oppressors until she was almost convinced that it was the best thing.
Then one day she realised that life couldn’t carry on this way, that her people couldn’t keep living under rule and that India wanted its self back.

And so it is that some things can make me really angry. IMG_0145Really really angry and maybe even really really upset. I don’t know for sure you see because the question how do I feel?  is more like How, do, I feel? Its a difficult one because I don’t really have time for emotions, no they get in the way you see I’m far too busy sorting everything else out and trying to make other people happy and well if I sat down and thought about it, about how I feel then I’m not sure when the feeling might ever stop.
But I am angry, I am so angry, so very angry that I’m afraid what might happen if I let it all out. And I’d like to throw something and break things and just exhaust myself with destruction but I wouldn’t gain anything, no in fact all I’d have to do is tidy it all back up again. I’d have to fix it all. And there’s so much mess and there’s only me who can sort it out. I have to clean up all this mess and once I’ve sorted out everyone else, once I’ve solved everyone else’s problems then maybe I’ll be okay. If I just make everything better, maybe then I’ll be better.” – performance text

A Nice Cup of Tea, Gemma Alldred, 2008


I am a woman. I am a girl. I am whatever you want me to be. I am submissive. I am a dominatrix. I am a nymphomaniac. I am frigid. I am a lover. I am a friend. I am a fuck. I am the girl you lost your virginity to. I am dirty. I am pure. I am a shaven haven. I am yours. I am everyone’s to touch. I am sex. I am sexy. I am the girl you hate. I am beautiful. I am fucking gorgeous. I am the person I hate. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a potential mother. I am stupid. I am a bitch. I am femme fatale. I am Mrs Robinson. I am just a wet cunt. I am a lesbian. I am bi-sexual. I am try-sexual. I am weak. I am the lesser sex. I am the one who gets fucked. I am the one who gets raped. I am one who just lies there. I am the one without the power. I am intelligent. I am funny. I am serious. I am a child. I am passionate. I am angry. I am the one who’s given you the best sex you’ve ever had. I am ‘amazing’. I am ‘brilliant’. I am a ‘fucking diamond’. I am a slag. I am a whore. I am ‘the one that Jamie fucked’, when really it was the other way around. I am silenced. I am insignificant. I am a flirt. I am a prick tease. I am loved. I am in love. I am out of love. I am merely a reproductive function. I am my womb. I am frustrated. I am ignored. I am my mother. I am a woman. I am a girl.

Underwear, Gemma Alldred, 2006