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Joe Woodward

For more than forty years, I have worked as a writer, theatre director, actor, dramaturg, producer and teacher. ​My work with Shadow House PITS best demonstrates a particular blending of Artaud’s ideal of a “theatre of cruelty”, Brecht’s “epic theatre” and the absurdist theatre of “Ionesco”.


This website offers scripts and writings that illustrate this blending. Each script has had at least one season of public performances; some have had multiple seasons. Prior to Shadow House PITS I spent twenty years as a journeyman working at La Boite Theatre (1970s), being an Artistic Director of a theatre-in-education company (Jigsaw) and running a theatre school, Stagecoach (9 years). At one point I also was co-producer of a commercial theatre and bar (PITS) with David Bates. I regard all this prior time as doing a kind of dues in order to focus myself on what is necessary to write and produce work that has value. One needs to do one’s dues in order to have the temerity to declare one’s offerings for public perusal and judgement. Over recent years, I have produced and directed plays from the Western theatre canon, including: HAMLET, TAMING OF THE SHREW, TWELFTH NIGHT, KING LEAR and A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM by William Shakespeare and THE RESISTIBLE RISE OF ARTURO UI and MOTHER COURAGE by Bertolt Brecht and THE CRUCIBLE by Arthur Miller. These were all performed by student actors.


My own work is more directly influenced by Antonin Artaud, Brecht, Ionesco and Butoh. Have a look at the sample texts and some of the video links. Consider purchasing one for yourself. 

As a teacher and director, I have incorporated the lessons offered by Gavin Bolton, Dorothy Heathcote, Viola Spolin, Peter Brook, Ann Bogart, Vsevolod Meyerhold, Constantine Stanislavski, Antonin Artaud, Bertolt Brecht and a multitude of wonderful directors, actors and teachers with whom I have had the pleasure of working over my life in theatre. Some of the exercises I have adapted come originally from some unlikely sources and from people who's names I cannot remember. But their legacy remained strong in my adapting and using their influence and techniques to discover and penetrate the potential of theatre working and creating. Other exercises were adapted to meet observable needs within the process. The Balloon exercise is one such example!

I hope you enjoy and gain from venturing into the Shadow House PITS.

Joe Woodward

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