Follow Us on Twitter

Still No Idea - Royal Court Theatre and on tour

Lisa Hammond and Rachael Spence. Photo by Idil Sukan.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE world premiere production of Still No Idea, from Lisa Hammond and Rachael Spence with Improbable and the Royal Court Theatre, is to tour the UK in Autumn 2018.

Previewing at the artsdepot, London on September 22, it will conclude with a three week run at the Royal Court Theatre from October 31 to November 17.

Back in 2010, best mates Lisa and Rachael wanted to make a show but had no idea where to start, so they went out onto the streets and asked the public. What story should they tell? What characters should they play? When they saw Lisa in a wheelchair and Rachael not, what the public said was funny, jaw-dropping and ultimately heartbreaking.

So they made a show about it. It was called No Idea, and it toured the UK before heading to the Young Vic in London and going to Syria and Egypt with the British Council.

Now people say the world has changed and things are looking up. There are more disabled people in the mainstream media, Lisa landed a big part on TV, disabled mates are getting regular auditions – happy days. So what kind of exciting stories are the TV professionals dreaming up for them?

Still No Idea is the whole story (so far): the British public, the professional writers, the TV execs. Part verbatim theatre, part improv, part comedy sketch show, this is a raucous and mischievous exposé of good intentions gone bad and how sometimes no matter how hard we try, we still have absolutely no idea.

Lisa Hammond is an actress, theatre maker and writer. Her theatre work includes Improbable’s The Hanging Man; Too Clever By Half; Beauty and the Beast; A little fantasy and Shoot me in the heart with Told By An Idiot; and Marat/Sade with the RSC. Hammond’s TV credits include EastEnders, Vera, Psychoville, Esio Trott, Casualty, Holby City, Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere, and Bleak House. She was also featured on the genealogy programme Who do you think you are?

Rachael Spence is also an actress, theatre maker and writer. Her theatre work with Improbable includes The Wolves in the Walls, Theatre of Blood and The Hanging Man. Her other theatre includes Locker Room Talk for The Traverse and productions for the RSC, the National Theatre and The Globe. Spence’s TV credits include The Lost Honor of Christopher Jeffries, Thirteen, EastEnders and The Best of Men.

Hammond and Spence’s other recent work together includes the Channel 4 TV comedy Lowdown, co-written with Lee Simpson, and Old Street/New Street, a verbatim theatre project with Shoreditch Town Hall.

A National Portfolio Organisation funded by the Arts Council, Improbable is one of the UK’s leading theatre companies. Led by Phelim McDermott and Lee Simpson, for over 20 years they have created productions of delightful unpredictability, from shows improvised live every night like Lost Without Words at the National Theatre to Satyagraha an opera by Philip Glass made with ENO and Metropolitan Opera New York. They also produce Devoted & Disgruntled, an ongoing conversation about the future of theatre and the performing arts.

After previewing at the artsdepot in London, Still No Idea will open at the New Wolsey, Ipswich, and then tour to Stockton, Hull, Exeter, Dartington and Birmingham before returning to London and the Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court.

Image: Lisa Hammond and Rachael Spence by Idil Sukan.