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Desperate Men

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Listed as: Dramaturg, Producer/Agency, Theatre Company

office [at]

0117 939 3902

Epstein Buildings, Mivart St, Easton, Bristol
South West
outdoor art, community arts, street animations


Desperate Men is one of the UK’s most experienced artist-led outdoor arts companies, with a 37  year track record of creating original, challenging, and accessible street theatre.


One of the UK’s most versatile and inventive outdoor arts companies, Desperate Men’s mischievous, warm hearted work invites audiences to ask serious questions about the world.

Desperate Men also work as creative producers, integrating ideas and concepts with practical development for arts projects across the UK and Europe.

The work encompasses large scale outdoor and mid-scale street shows and indoor theatre, as well as educational and health initiatives, intercultural explorations, neighbourhood events and science projects.

Risk-taking and innovative, the company enjoys wide respect from peers and promoters for combining contemporary themes and topical content with a provocative, passionate

yet convivial style. Through theatrical interventions and comic interaction Desperate Men connect with all sorts of people - ordinary and extraordinary - in all sorts of places.

 Current projects include touring Slapstick and Slaughter (Dada WW1 show), DNA arts (participatory project with hard to reach families in Bath and Radstock) & The Wye Valley River Festival 2018


Key Projects

The Pig Pen Riots

Enjoy the very topical Pig Pen Riots! in which you, Joe punter, indulge your urge to protest for five minutes, before being herded away, in a legal and safe manner. Complete with Japanese riot helmets, bandanas, whistles, foam bricks, loud hailers and fog horns, the Pig Pen Riots encourages participants to express their concerns (Later bedtimes! No more cellulite! Down with Red Leicester Cheese!) on a wipe clean placard. Participants are then herded into the pen for five minutes of protesting… Very popular at the St Patricks Fest in Dublin. “I loved the pig pen riots. A great concept brilliantly delivered.” Verena Cornwall, Creative Director, St Patrick’s Festival, Dublin.

The Funnels

The Funnels – 3 gargoyle-like characters play a set of strangely familiar tunes in a strangely unfamiliar way – through funnels attached to their heads! In bright coloured hooped costumes, the funnels communicate with each other and the audience, by blowing what they believe are magical pipes. The sounds they make are as entrancing as they are disturbing. Then, out of audible chaos the sounds start to make sweet music!


Econopoly is a fun-for-all giant game where you compete to get round the board without using up carbon. The winner is the one who spends the least carbon. Originally commissioned by Bristol City Council, Econopoly is an excellent addition for any environmentally-themed event.

Slapstick and Slaughter

A small scale indoor/outdoor show distilling all what we know... Two men recklessly attempt to confront the absurdity of war in just 35 minutes, using their bodies, their voices and the surrealist toolbox of DADAism. Playful, physical and blackly comedic, SLAPSTICK & SLAUGHTER examines how the barbaric chaos of World War One manifested itself in the nihilistic, nonsensical art that grew from it. This theatre show splatters big ideas on a small canvas, exploring art’s reaction to the war’s wholesale destruction of lives, the old order and old hypocrisies and finding echoes in equally absurd modern conflicts. “ A small but perfectly formed and darkly comical epic, packed tighter than a kitbag with visual surprises, guffaws of laughter and a disarming humanity ” Bristol24/7 “ Seems entirely nonsensical and anarchic, but it quickly becomes clear that it is in fact carefully crafted and choreographed, and that there is meaning in the madness. It is also very funny “ Stage Talk “ Anarchic but consummately crafted sketches”,….painfully funny ” The Stage


PACTS- Desperate Men Studios

PACTS- Desperate Men Studios Our light and airy rehearsal space has been redecorated and updated for 2017 thanks to an Arts Council grant and is available for hire. New features include insulated floor, double glazing and a new kitchen. It’s a fantastic, low-cost venue for theatre company rehearsals, measuring 17 by 24 feet, with facilities including a piano, sofa and chairs, toilet and kitchen with sink, microwave and kettle. The studio is available for hire 7 days a week and is also great for location filming. Lights are on dimmer switches but are not full theatre lights. The room is not suitable for band rehearsals and unfortunately does not currently have disabled access.

Key Personnel

Jon Beedell
Co Artistic Director
Richard Headon
Co Artistic Director
Shirley Pegna
Musical Director
Richie Smith
Company Director