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Lab Associates: Meet the South West theatre companies working with TRP to develop new work

Lab associates

Press Contact: Chris Baker

13 June 2023


Theatre Royal Plymouth is working with three South West-based theatre companies to develop new work, through its Lab Associates programme.

It is a year-long attachment to the theatre with the aim of developing a new piece of theatre work with the support of TRP.

This year, the theatre is working with Back-to-Back Theatre, Seawitch and Rosie Race. Each will create a new production which will then be performed in front of audiences at TRP later this year.

Back-to-Back Theatre

Back-to-Back Theatre is comprised of Polly Ferguson-Carruthers and Jade Campbell, who are pushing boundaries with their new company and process. They are finding new ways of devising and developing a theatre making model as working mums in an industry still predominantly male dominated.

They have been facilitating for over 20 years and are interested in how to create original theatre that fuses their love of participation and co-creating, with people who wouldn’t normally access theatre or have a space to tell their own story.

They said: “We love to work with a range of practitioners in the industry to widen our own experience, ask difficult questions and talk about challenging subjects that we sometimes shy away from, head on!  We are here for it! We believe that every woman has a story to tell and we are about providing a space to share that – we welcome you to join us.”

Back-to-Back Theatre’s show Suffrajitsu is a powerful kick back against the patriarchy. A performance space for women set in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym and a mobile spray tanning tent, where we share stories of loss, sexism, body image, battles with food, and why we have to still fight for our rights, just like the Suffragettes did.

The show will be presented in The Drum at TRP in the Autumn.


Seawitch are a new company focused on making innovative new musicals in the South West. They are made up of Jennifer Fletcher, Harry Blake and Alex Lonsdale.

They said: “We are thrilled to be part of the Lab Associate scheme and will use the time and support to develop Mermaids, a funny and uplifting new musical about a drama group in a remote Cornish fishing village.”

Rosie Race

Rosie is an actor, writer and lecturer. She trained in Choreography and Visual Performance at Dartington College of Arts before graduating from RADA in 2019.

Rosie’s multidisciplinary approach to making work manifests in often absurb, poetic imagery which dances the line between realism, physical theatre and performance art.

During her time as Lab Associate, Rosie will be developing her first full length show Us Against The World which explores the intricacies and misconceptions around psychological abuse through a highly theatrical lens. She is also developing new writing with Soho Theatre Writers’ Lab and is an Associate Artist at Documental Theatre.


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