★ ★ ★ ★★  'Director, writer and designer Alex Howarth has created something truly extraordinary with this piece of theatre. It is sad and it is fun. It is delicately simple and wrenchingly complex. It is unmissable.' Adelaide Theatre Guide

As a writer Alex's work has been seen across the world in countries including Australia, the US and China, in venues including 59E59 Theatres New York, and The Arts Theatre, West End. He worked alongside Oscar-nominee Peter Hedges to adapt his acclaimed novel 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape' for the stage, and is currently developing an adaptation of indie movie 'Safelight', which examines the inheritance of prejudice in rural America. 

His play 'Cassie and the Lights' which was based on interviews with young people in the care system and the real-life case of a 17 year old who went to court to get custody of her younger siblings opened in 2020, winning the 'Excellent Play' Award at the Central Academy Awards in China, and playing seasons at Vault Festival and Adelaide Festival Australia, where it won a Best Theatre award, and received outstanding reviews. 

Sirens

by Alex Howarth & Zoo Co

National Tour

June-July 2019

Writer in the room

Combination of spoken English and British Sign Language

★ ★ ★ ★★ Mind the Blog

★ ★ ★ ★- British Theatre Guide

★ ★ ★ ★- Deadline News

Back to Blackbrick

by Alex Howarth, after

Sarah Moore-Fitzgerald

Arts Theatre West End and touring

August 2015-July 2016

Director & Adaptation

Cast: Alex Brain, Grahame Edwards, Lizzie Grace, Lloyd Bagley, Alexandra Simonet

Musicians: Eleanor and Imogen Mason

★★★★★- West End Frame

★★★★★-  The Blog of Theatre Things

★★★★- The List

★★★★- The Edinburgh Guide

What's Eating Gilbert Grape

by Alex Howarth, after Peter Hedges

World Stage Premiere- Mountview

September 2014

Director & Adaptation

Cast: Mountview 3rd year actors

 

Developed with the writer & director of the film and author of the novel- Oscar nominee Peter Hedges

Additional writing credits include: Safelight (in development) and In Stars (Workshop, 2017). Lead deviser on We Live By the Sea, When We Ran, and Beans On Toast.

In rehearsal for What's Eating Gilbert Grape at Mountview

Katy, an autistic teenager, gives a presentation to her class- from 'We Live By the Sea' 

KATY Hello Class 10B. And welcome to my presentation... It is called The Big Wave. One day when I was 8 and 3 days I went to the beach with a girl called Hannah who is my sister, and a man called Paul who is my dad... I had a special secret feeling in my tummy that I only get when something that is like a kind of magic is going to happen. So I stood by the sea and waited for the magic to happen..and after twelve minutes and four seconds of waiting it happened. The biggest wave the world had ever seen was coming straight towards me and I could not do breathing or feel thinking in my head. It was so high now and my heart was going so hard it felt like all of me was beating... And it was the most magnificent I have ever felt... A Princess Knight… 

 

(Music fades out. She stops, and looks nervously out. She makes a decision, and puts her speech in her pocket. She looks out at the children) 

 

I think… I think some of you don’t like me very much.. Because I wear my ear savers, and sometimes I do shouting and crying and sometimes when people say things I do not know what to say back and so I don’t say anything at all not at all... And Hannah says that that it is OK when some people do not like you because everyone has people who do not like them- even the best people like.. Beyonce...and David Attenborough... But I think.. I think that maybe you could like me.. if maybe you just try to do a different kind of thinking? If you think that my ear savers are just the same things as your headphones for when you do listening to the music, and that when I do not know what to say it is because I am scared… just like you are scared too.. of bears and of people and of dragons... I know that this kind of thinking is possible… because Ryan and Hannah are doing it every day. But if you can never do this kind of thinking- if this is totally impossible that that is ok because two people do... And every time he says “Hello Katy!” or Hannah does smiling... it is like the big wave is hitting me all over again and I am scared, and I am bursting, and I am everything that I think anyone could ever be... And it is how I want to be... That is how I want to be... forever.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Sirens respond to their myth being told- from 'Sirens'

 

XOE Except… that’s all bullshit. 

 

LOU Great story 

 

PIA Very dramatic

 

LOU Love the whole shrivelling skin thing; very American Horror Story

 

PIA Snazzy imagery, 8 out of 10, would read again

 

XOE But… bullshit… So

   

LOU Bit of context- we ARE the Sirens- bird women

 

PIA Great singers

 

LOU Like he said. And we did live on a rock, and some blokes did die

 

PIA Unfortunate

 

LOU But the rest of what he said was

 

XOE Kinda… total bullshit. So

 

LOU In the interests of accuracy

 

PIA Authenticity

 

XOE Y’know- TRUTH

 

LOU We’ll give you the real version. 

 

PIA What we know now, here, in this theatre in 2019

 

LOU Perspective

 

PIA ...to be true. What we didn’t know then, and then when we travel to Hastings and go into doing the ‘play’ proper we won’t know again. We’ll talk the way we used to talk, and we’ll only know the lies they told us. The lies they told about us.  

 

LOU This is like… the prologue, if you like- direct address, proper Brecht- remember him from A Level Theatre Studies? 

 

XOE We are the Sirens. 

 

LOU Bird women 

 

PIA Great singers

 

XOE Murdering fucking whores. Apparently.

 

(Music)

 

SIRENS But the rest of it was shit so we’ll tell it

The way it happened, 

The way it went, no embellishment  

Through our eyes, from our mouths no filter 

Take our story back kick the system outta kilter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tin and Kit talk about their foster home- from 'Cassie and the Lights'

KIT Maisie Peters who I sit next to at lunch asked me an’ Tin today what was different about living with Mark and Barbera ‘stead of bein’ at home with mum. 

 

TIN And I started an’ said all the books they have- by people like Charles Dickens and Richard and Judy

 

KIT Then I said the jar I found that said Waitrose Essential Artichoke Hearts and I didn't know what Artichoke Hearts were so I googled them and I don't think Artichoke Hearts are essential really I think they are a treat 

 

TIN Mum likes the music we do, but Mark likes Wagner and Tchaikovsky

 

KIT and he thought Ariana Grande was summat you ordered in Starbucks

 

TIN Butter on our Dairylea sandwiches

 

KIT An’ carpet that feels like a dead soft sheep under your toes when you take your slippers off

 

TIN That our bedroom isn’t really our bedroom ‘cos it’s only our bedroom for a bit

 

KIT An’ that our bedroom doesn’t have Tin’s glow in the dark stars on the ceiling she got out of the space magazine

 

TIN Or Kit’s poster of an extra long trunked elephant on the wall

 

KIT Janice

 

TIN Cos it’s only for a few more days that we’re here probably 

 

KIT an’ we don’t want to waste blu tac

 

TIN That a social worker comes round every week an’ asks daft questions an’ fills out loads of forms and puts them in a box

 

KIT That when we came we only had Mr Potato Head and Elephant, and the Jenga we made out of ice lolly sticks

 

TIN but they gave us lots more things they already had like lego and stickle bricks which is mega kind 

 

KIT but they don’t go in our games so they just sit; and if they come to life when we’re not looking like in Toy Story they’ll be sad

 

TIN That it doesn’t smell like our house

 

KIT That mum isn’t there and even though Mark and Barbera are very nice when it’s bedtime and the lights are turned off I feel mum not being there in my tummy

 

BOTH That even when all the lights are on it feels like it is dark. 

Cafe Nation at Mountview

We Live By the Sea at Adelaide Festival © Kate Pardey

Ash and Dad talk about Ash's mum- from 'In Stars'

 

(Ash and Dad are sat in the ice-cream parlour across from each other with a huge sundae inbetween them)

 

DAD …and I threw her over my shoulder, ran back through the lab, flames taller than me, smashed through the window with my boot and carried her to safety. I had to roll around on the grass to stop my clothes bein’ on fire y’know. 

 

ASH Like that bit in that Die Hard film we watched?! 

 

DAD Erm… yeah, I guess. But mine was way cooler. Denise loved that story, let me tell you… 

 

ASH Who’s Denise? 

 

DAD Erm… my new err… (trying to be down with the kids) homie. Yeah homie. 

 

ASH Dad you can say girlfriend- I get it- it’s like Georgie and Justin Beiber except not just in her head. What’s Denise like?

DAD Awww Ash you’d love her right, she’s gorgeous- Miss Didcot 1983- blonde… loves a silver fox… 

 

ASH Dad why are they always blonde? 

 

DAD Oh Ash you’re only 11- one day you’ll understand. 

 

ASH (beat) I’m 12…  

 

DAD Oh… sorry mate, (referring to self) what a dick! Anyway, she’s coming round the lad pad later- I’ve got Phil to clear off for the night. Makin’ her my spag bol, maybe play her a bit of the ol’ guitar… 

 

ASH Tell her about when you did security for David Bowie!

 

DAD Aw yeah and all my great chats with him- I’d be like “Alright” and he’d be like “Alright”... Classic. 

 

ASH Dad… I… wanted to talk to you about Mum. 

 

DAD Oh ruddy hell here we go- what’s she done- did she shout at you? 

 

ASH No no- she doesn’t shout at me dad- well, hardly ever anyway- it’s the exact opposite- she’s hardly saying anything to me. It’s like she’s got some big secret. 

 

DAD That’s your mum all over, sorry love. Used to keep things from me all the time… 

ASH Really?

DAD (seeing an opportunity) Oh… yeah… I mean… you wouldn’t know ‘cos it was before you were born, but yeah- massive secrets and fibs all the time… part of the reason I dumped her… (sees Ash’s face) I mean… part of the reason we… amicably broke up. For your sake. ‘Ere… (fake serious) there haven’t been any strange men sneaking around the flat ‘ave there? (can’t hold it in any longer and laughs) Maybe she’s got herself a boyfriend!

 

ASH (to herself) Trevor… 

 

DAD (he missed it as he was laughing) What’s that? 

 

ASH Oh… err… nothing… I’m sure it’s fine. Look it’s 4.56- I’d better get back home. 

 

DAD Alright kid, I’ll text you to sort out our next meet yeah, I’ll just have to… 

 

ASH Check your diary. I know. (goes to leave) 

 

DAD Who’s your Starman? 

 

(Ash stops.) 

ASH You are dad. You are. 

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