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The Blue Elephant Theatre never ever does things by

Please see our past programme section for reviews of past shows.


Interview with Rebecca Tortora, Director of 'The Title of the Drama about Ante is Written Here'

Date published
Monday 21 September 2020

Why did you want to direct Ante?

When I was working at BET as Education Officer Jasmine asked me if I wanted to direct a rehearsed reading of Ante as part of Writers at Work. It went well and then BET decided to programme it as a fully realised production which was a great opportunity.

I really liked the way the play took a news headline of a big picture political conflict, the Croatian war of independence, and made it personal through one family’s experience. I also really enjoyed the theatricality in the script, juxtaposing intense emotional content with the actors describing their actions from the outside.

The writer, Ivor Martinic, had developed the script from improvisation and it had a free, spacious quality to it which allowed for a visual style of storytelling. I tried to recapture that in the show so that the actors were always on stage, jumped in and out of character and discovered the story as they performed.

What are your favourite memories of the show?

I got to work with a really lovely team of people who all brought lots of energy, creativity and positivity to the process.

Playing with recreating a sense of improvisation was a creative challenge for me and for a while it slowed down the action. George Mann and Nir Paldi from Theatre Ad Infinitum had been working at BET and came in and watched a run about halfway through. They gave me some really useful feedback which helped to unlock the energy of the play. The cast were great and really went for it.

It was exciting working with Dinah Mullen on the sound design. She introduced a simple sung live theme which recurred at various moments and some recorded sound too. Live singing is something I’ve incorporated in all the shows I’ve done since. I love it!

It was also really great to work with the design team on creating a world of newspaper and a white box theatre that could be drawn on like a giant white board. It was lovely to play with lighting on white walls.

The whole thing was a brilliant learning experience. It was really exciting to watch the show with a full audience, feel the buzz and see it come together.

I’m forever grateful to Jasmine for taking a chance on me as a director. Thanks!

How would you describe Blue Elephant in one sentence?

Fun, inclusive, experimental, DIY, kind, community oriented and unpretentious.

Are you working on any shows now?

I’ve just made a show called #TheMarket which looked at the themes of consumerism and self-worth. It explored cryptocurrency, pyramid selling, cryogenics, fake news, social media and the art of manifestation. It was created with students from East15 Acting School and I’m now adapting it for a small professional cast.

I’m putting together a bid for ‘Theatre on Film Fest’ an online festival of new work focussing on magical realism, physical theatre and new stories created by theatre makers and shot on mobile phones. If funded this will take place early next year.

I’m also planning to R and D a one-person show, ‘Flying or Falling,’ to be filmed and presented digitally, exploring the theme of mortality through extreme selfies, base jumping, astral projection, masks and painting with your eyes.


Elephant Tips #5

Date published
Tuesday 8 September 2020

While things are still distrupted and opportunities for artists are limited, we wanted to spread the word about what is out there and available to you. Like most Blue Elephant seasons, there's a selection here and hopefully something for everyone, whether young or old, working in the arts or not...

We're continuing to try to support the artists we work with so these opportunities will be by artists who have worked with Blue Elephant or who are at the very early stages of their careers or they are activities that might be of interest to emerging artists.

Hate 2 Love Collective

“All the Feels" features monologues and vignettes of original work from emerging and existing talent: actors, writers and creatives in the UK and from around the world. This work was streamed live in August but is still available for you to watch here

Camden People's Theatre Call-outs

Camden People's Theatre have announced a series of call-out opportunities for artists. Another theatre that supports emerging artists and innovative ideas, the opportunities include the offer of 9 seed commissions to artists from marginalised backgrounds, to support the development of innovative new theatre projects. You can find out about them here. Hurry as the deadlines are fast approaching!

Swish by Moulded Theatre

Whilst they are unable to tour live in 2020 to venues, hospitals, schools and libraries around the UK, Moulded Theatre have made Swish online! They have details of the online tour of their show for 3-7 year olds - which is suitable for audience members with complex needs - here.

Hatha Flow for Creatives

Yoga for creatives who struggle with stress, anxiety and lack of motivation. These classes are designed to help you balance emotions, relax, and ease into the present moment. Reducing stress and anxiety helps with feeling more open and creative. here.

Shannen Dance and Fitness

Fun online dance and fitness classes with Shannen Redmond. More details and video workouts can be found here.


Blue Elephant Birthday Celebrations - Day 7

Date published
Sunday 7 June 2020

Today we are saying THANK YOU to some of the people who make Blue Elephant what it is!

We’re starting with the team at BET - trustees, volunteers and staff. Thank you!

Picture of the Blue Elephant Trustees
Composite picture of Blue Elephant Theatre staff and volunteers
Composite picture of Blue Elephant Theatre staff and volunteers

We wanted to give out some other awards to some familiar faces at the Blue Elephant.

On this anniversary, we can’t forget that our Chair of Trustees, Chris, has been supporting the Blue Elephant for its entire 21 years. That deserves a lifetime achievement award if anything does.

Thank you Chris! Lifetime Achievement Award

We also have a few people we don’t get to shout about as much as we’d like - two stealthy supporters who are always there when needed.

Duty Manager/Facilitator/Technician/Editor Kome who always has BET’s back and appears unexpectedly all the time just to check on things or to sort something out.

Thank you Kome! BET's Unsung Hero

Trustee Paul who should really have his own seat by now, coming to support our emerging artists and young people and see their work so often. He quietly and consistently supports us, especially in times of difficulty.

Thank you Paul! BET's Unsung Hero


Blue Elephant Birthday Celebrations - Day 6

Date published
Saturday 6 June 2020

Today we're celebrating the creativity and talent of our Young People's Theatre, which has been going strong for many years.

We want to look to a more positive future so are sharing the thoughts of some of our young people about Blue Elephant. We very much appreciate the time they and their parents took to make these videos for us - as every actor knows, self-tapes aren’t easy!

We also announced the winners of our 21st birthday poster competition, which received so many fantastic entries that picking winners was difficult! Below are the winning entries:

Over 10

Over 10's entry reading 21st anniversary Blue Elephant Theatre, with a blue elephant in a party hat in the centre

Over 10's entry reading Blue Elephant 1999 - 2020 is turning 21, with the Blue Elephant Theatre logo surrounded by bunting

Over 10's entry reading Happy Birthday Blue Elephant Theatre, surrounded by silver ribbons

Under 10 and Digital

Under 10's entry reading Happy 21st Birthday, with a blue elephant on an orange background

Digital entry reading Happy 21st Birthday with a image of an elephant coloured blue on the left hand side

Under 10's entry reading Blue Elephant Theatre 21, with a drawing of a blue elephant and a birthday cake

Finally, we think this poster deserves a special commendation for the wonderful poem!

Entry reading Happy Birthday Blue Elephant Theatre!!! Beneath is an outline of en elephant, with a poem inside: If you enjoy acting come on down, The Blue Elephant will lift your frown! We're celebrating 21 years, look how far we've come, making great plays and having loads of fun


Blue Elephant Birthday Celebrations - Day 5

Date published
Friday 5 June 2020

We asked Jasmine Cullingford, the second Artistic Director of the Blue Elephant, to say a few words about her time there and particularly about her programming.

There are some wonderful memories here and also great insight into the workings of a very small theatre.

Have a watch and see if you remember any of the shows!

We also shared pictures from our in-house shows since Jasmine started programming, through to The Christmas Quest in December 2019, listed below.

The Christmas Quest (December 2019)
Baa Humbug (December 2018)
Boy in Darkness (March-April 2015)
The Butterfly Lovers (April 2014)
The Fantastical Adventures of [Not] Being With You (June-July 2012)
Noah’s Ark (November-December 2011)
The Book of Disquiet (June-July 2011)
The Cave (October-November 2010)
Drive Thru Nativity (December 2009)
The title of the drama about Ante is written here (September-October 2009)


Blue Elephant Birthday Celebrations - Day 4

Date published
Thursday 4 June 2020

Our Co-Artistic and Participation Director Jo Sadler-Lovett, leads an engaging workshop online where we create a monologue to look back on in the future and remember how we are feeling now - as well as some drama games to play at home to get imaginations firing!

We also took the opportunity to celebrate and shout about the work we do in schools. We are incredibly proud of the community programmes we run which form a large proportion of the work that we do and has involved working with and in schools.

It is innovative, creative and accessible and has had an incredible, positive impact on our community and on the lives of many people.

What would you like to be when you are older?

Creative Minds is our primary school programme.

We deliver weekly bespoke drama workshops in local Southwark schools each term, generally reaching 800 - 1000 young people a year.

The workshops can cover any topic the school requests and they are often delivered to targeted groups of children.

Teachers say:

“Creative Minds provides a really useful outlet for us to refer underprivileged children who need additional support of experts.’

“Our children…need the opportunity to feel proud of themselves, to shine, to listen to applause, to see their parents, teachers and peers admiring their work. Creative Minds has given this opportunity.”

Aim high even if you feel low

Our Speak Out programme works with schools to address issues around mental health and well-being, training young facilitators in the process.

“It’s amazing what Blue Elephant do for disadvantaged communities. I could have got caught up in the wrong activity with the wrong crowd if it wasn't for my experience working with you.” (Actor in training)

There is always light at the end of the tunnel

Speak Out has taken on fifteen trainee actor-facilitators since 2015, the majority of whom who were not in education, employment or training, had mental health problems or were at risk of developing them. The achievements of the trainees since beginning with us have been outstanding, with many progressing to further training and paid work very quickly afterwards.

Students in the schools Speak Out has visited have developed their self-confidence and self-belief, their awareness of mental health issues and explored ways to manage their well- being.

One teacher said she “could not believe the impact the programme has had. I was moved to tears”

You can achieve more than one thing at the same time


Blue Elephant Birthday Celebrations - Day 3

Date published
Wednesday 3 June 2020

Our patron Radzi Chinyanganya wished us a happy birthday!

We also shared an interview with Antonio Ribeiro, the founder and first Artistic Director of Blue Elephant Theatre, talking about his life and how the theatre came about.

Interview with Antonio


Blue Elephant Birthday Celebrations - Day 1

Date published
Monday 1 June 2020

From June 1st, we are celebrating Blue Elephant's 21st anniversary and all the people who have made it possible.

On June 1st, we shared two very special films.
The first - to mark the start of Volunteers Week 2020 - is an interview with our two longest-standing volunteers, Chris Lawrence and Leo Scalione.

And a longer but engrossing watch is this documentary made by founder Antonio Ribeiro from never-before-seen footage of the early days of the Blue Elephant. You can watch it here


21st Birthday Drawing Competition

Date published
Thursday 14 May 2020

We will be celebrating our 21st Birthday on June 3rd and we need your help! We're running a drawing competition for young people to create the poster that we use to celebrate our 21st birthday birthday week from June 1st - 7th.

We're accepting entries now and there are three categories: hand-drawn posters by under 10s, hand-drawn posters by over 10s and digital-created posters.

To enter, email us a picture of the poster to or put it on twitter and tag us @BETCamberwell. Please let us know which category it's for! The closing date is May 28th and there will be five runner ups and one winner who will receive theatre tickets when we reopen! We will also - with permission - use the winner's poster during our celebrations


Elephant Tips #4

Date published
Wednesday 29 April 2020

Elephant Tips #3

Date published
Tuesday 21 April 2020

While most people are at home, we wanted to spread the word about activities and opportunities available to you. Every few days, we're going to publish a selection aiming, like most Blue Elephant seasons, to have something for everyone, whether young or old, working in the arts or not...

We're continuing to try to support the artists we work with so these opportunities will be by artists who have worked with Blue Elephant or who are at the very early stages of their careers.

Make Your Own Play
Ever thought about writing your own play? Our very own Youth Theatre Leader Louise has put together this guide for any budding young (or not so young) playwrights out there to put together their first script.

Virtual Variety Fest
With artists from the UK, Argentina, Spain and Colombia, Virtual Variety Fest kicks off tonight at 7.30pm until 24th April with a host of live performances online. See what's showing and find out more here.

Little Star @ Home
Moon on a Stick's enchanting performance for babies is moving online, for you to watch at home! Perfect for ages 0-2 years, Little Star takes us on a journey with the star herself. Little Star wants to explore space, and to see, hear and touch everything! Find out dates and more here.

No Cactus by Jackdaw
An independent Americana album by one of our volunteers, available on Apple Music, Spotify and the musicians’ own website. You can read some of the back story here.


Elephant Tips #2

Date published
Tuesday 31 March 2020

While most people are at home, we wanted to spread the word about activities and opportunities available to you. Every few days, we're going to publish a selection aiming, like most Blue Elephant seasons, to have something for everyone, whether young or old, working in the arts or not...

We're continuing to try to support the artists we work with so these opportunities will be by artists who have worked with Blue Elephant or who are at the very early stages of their careers.

Dark Unicorn Monologue Challenge

Dark Unicorn are doing a monologue challenge! Actors record a monologue, 100 are chosen and each receives £20. The deadline is tonight (31st March) so get started now! More information and how to enter here.

Pub Quiz at The Quarantine

Do you know your Newton’s from your Neutrons? Wanna share your knowledge about Cher? Oliver Yellop, who has performed with us most recently as Cow in Cow's Rainy Day, is hosting an online pub quiz tonight at 8pm (31st March). Click here and register before it starts.

The Literal Challenge Covid's Metamorphosis

A free writing challenge starting tomorrow and taking place throughout April - more information here.

A Truefitt Collective's Online Dance Class for Children

A Truefitt Collective’s first online dance class for children, with more coming in the future. Free to watch, although donations welcome. Click this link to see more.

National eTheatr

An online theatre space for UK artists and audiences during the Covid19 crisis. New performances several evenings a week, sometimes live streaming, and well worth a watch! Click here to see more.


Elephant Tips #1

Date published
Tuesday 24 March 2020

While most people are at home, we wanted to spread the word about activities and opportunities available to you. Every few days, we're going to publish a selection aiming, like most Blue Elephant seasons, to have something for everyone, whether young or old, working in the arts or not...

We're continuing to try to support the artists we work with so these opportunities will be by artists who have worked with Blue Elephant or who are at the very early stages of their careers.

Young People's Theatre - Activities for Self-Isolation

We inevitably had to cancel our showcases this term but Louise Dickinson, who runs Young People's Theatre, created an activity sheet full of drama ideas for young people to try. This is the link to download these Creative Activities

Paradox Theatre Writing Competition*

Paradox Theatre champions new writing by female and non-binary writers. They are running a writing competition for those who identify as female or non-binary, seeking 2 - 4 minute monologues (submitted in doc/pdf format). Submissions should be sent to and the deadline is April 5th. The winning entry will receive £100.

More details can be found on their Twitter page: @TheatreParadox

Starling Arts Nest Choir

The wonderful Starling Arts are starting a choir you can join from home and the first session is tonight. You can find out more here and the sessions are Pay What You Can.

Yoga with Joanna Puchala

Choreographer and very experienced yoga teacher Joanna Puchala shared an online Vinyasa Flow class which can be found here.

Follow Moulded Theatre on Facebook

Moulded Theatre who create imaginative and accessible shows for children are posting daily activities or videos on their Facebook Page which can be found at

*We think this is a good opportunity and wanted to support by spreading the word but we will also be sure to post opportunities that are open to all in other Tips posts!


Help and resources for our local community

Date published
Thursday 19 March 2020

In these strange and difficult times, we wanted to collate some resources that we hope will be a practical help for local families and visitors to our theatre. Please feel free to share this list widely, and look after yourselves. We hope to be welcoming back our brilliant audiences and participants to our theatre as soon as we possibly can.

Food and Practical Support

Southwark Foodbanks - locations include Camberwell, Peckham, Bermondsey and Walworth.
- Details of locations
- Details of referrals
- Details of opening times

Covid Mutual Aid UK is a group of volunteers supporting local community groups organising mutual aid throughout the Covid-19 outbreak in the UK. They focus on providing resources and connecting people to their nearest local groups, willing volunteers and those in need. They recognise that some people are more vulnerable than others and are working to support that.

Click here for a Central Mutual Aid Group where you can access your local group either to help out or to receive help.

Southwark Mutual Aid
- Information on how to find your local WhatsApp support group
- Local queries and questions
- Requests for support if self-isolating

Southwark Council Coronavirus Information Page - Local-focused information from Southwark Council that advises how you can help or receive help.

General Advice

NHS Guidance on Coronavirus
- Stay at home advice
- How to avoid catching and spreading Covid-19 (social distancing)
- See more here.

111 Online
Check your symptoms online, no need to call unless urgent

Mind - Information on how to look after your mental health and well-being during this time.
- General advice on coronavirus anxiety
- Advice if you are self-isolating


A new free programme set up by charity Body & Soul in response to the current situation, Mindset is a regular livestream for young people aged 16 - 30 who are looking for help managing emotional distress. Email to register.

Official Government guidance
- What to do you if you have symptoms
- Number of cases
- Risk level
- Recent Government action
- Further information

For activities and resources for young people, please see our spreadsheet here


Q&A with David West of EQ Dance Company

Date published
Thursday 12 March 2020

David is Artistic Director of EQ Dance Company and has choreographed the two pieces they are showing on Friday 13th March as part of "Love Your Mind".

How did you form EQ Dance Company and what does the name mean?

Having my own company was something I wanted throughout the whole of my dance training, but having had depression, and poor mental health, I realised that rather than just being a company, I wanted to create a community, a collective of artists/people. A company where they feel that their boss does have their best interests in mind. EQ stands for emotional intelligence (people smart). It’s been said by some to be the true intelligence. The company started up in June 2018.

Why is mental health so important to you?

I feel like it's important as it can have such huge impacts on you, including physically. If it's bad enough even just doing the laundry can feel daunting. Suicide is one of the biggest killers, especially of men, which why I've made a work about this as part of this upcoming show.

Tell us about P.S: Ama-te and Ana De Albuquerque?

P.S: Amate cover elements such as loneliness, and solitude so it was a good fit for our evening. For myself this was a great opportunity to give one of the members of the company (Ana) the chance to show something, rather than just me producing work. This has something I've wanted for my members for a while now. I want to create more of these opportunities for my members down the road, as an effort to support those in my company. Creating that environment is another step forward to creating a positive, healthy community within EQDC.

How long have you been dancing/creating dance performances?

I've been dancing since I was 16 but I only took it seriously when I was 18, and started professional training. In terms of creating work, I've been doing that from the beginning. Being a creative is my passion, not just as a choreographer, but as an artistic director too. The trifector for me has been learning to produce over last year and putting that back into the company. I feel complete as a creative now, and more hungry than ever to put all my skills to use.