2021: During the Pandemic

2021: In May Jonathan contributed to the Pleasance/Vault Festival’s Fringe Futures event with his workshop on ‘building an ad-hoc company into a viable business’.

In April Jonathan participated in a week of workshops with Angel Exit Theatre collaborating with Newfoundland Actors laying the foundations for a new show concerning the experience of Dorset fishermen who travelled to Canada to work in the Cod industry.

In early 2021 Jonathan Holloway was due to travel to East Asia to work with Hong Kong’s Chung Ying Theatre Company to again direct his much admired version of Tale of Two Cities : Blood For Blood. (please go to 2016 to see details of the production). Previously performed in English with a British cast in HK’s Amphitheatre and Pleasance Beyond at the Edinburgh Festival, this revival was to be in Cantonese (translator, Dominic Cheung) and was due to open in April at the HK Cultural Centre, then transfer to the new Hadid opera house in Guangzhou, but was postponed because of Covid-19. It is now rescheduled for 2023.

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2020: THE TIME MACHINE on the Eve of the Pandemic

2020: Jonathan was commissioned by Creation Theatre Company to create a contemporary re-imagining of H G Well’s THE TIME MACHINE written to be a site specific performance at the London Library and the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford. The Pandemic shut down the live show one week into its 10 week run, and Creation Theatre re-mounted it as an online show.

“Jonathan Holloway’s story deconstructs the original novel to creative effect and uses a sparse cast and modern technology to explore moral puzzles… issues are also raised around the blurry lines between science and money and between science and the law… we are now in an alternative timeline where Oliver Hardy gave up the comedy shtick to become a noted physicist and Jean-Paul Gaultier is a computer engineer living in Birmingham”
– * * * * londonist.com
“a proper immersive experience” – * * * * theatreweekly.com
“this production is astoundingly and unnervingly prophetic… a thought-provoking and bang-up-to-date production that is so zeitgeisty it feels like the zeitgeist itself”
– * * * * northwestend.co.uk
“packed full of ideas… an enjoyable and thought-provoking new take on a classic story with the added bonus of a unique historic space” – * * * BritishTheatre.com
“bonkers, brilliant and just a bit too close to the bone! An interactive adventure through an amazing building” – TheFamilyStage
Jonathan Holloway has adapted the father of science fiction’s best-seller into such a relevant immersive piece, it was as though it was written yesterday, or rather, tomorrow…. this production is astoundingly and unnervingly prophetic” – * * * * northwestend.co.uk
“always hugely literate and has a questing intelligence” – Lyn Gardner, Stagedoor
“brilliant” – * * * sardinesmagazine.co.uk
“an event that offers a unique adventure” – * * * * londonlivinglarge.com “We are whisked to alternate timelines where Wells wrote The Origin of the Species and Darwin wrote The Time Machine, where silent film comedy actor Oliver Hardy is a physicist and where Jean-Paul Gaultier is creating electronic music in Birmingham…. Thrilling” – * * * * bemyguest.org.uk
“it’s an eye opening bit of writing, that draws you in by showing you an idea of what the world would look like in the near future if something isn’t done” – * * * * withinherwords.co.uk

2017: 1984

Adapted and Directed by Jonathan Holloway
Site specific production for Creation Theatre, Oxford

1984 by Creation Theatre trailer on Vimeo

A site specific production for Creation Theatre at the Mathematics Institute, Oxford, based on Holloway’s BBC adaptation of 2012 which won a First Prize at the Prix Italia.

2016: A Tale of Two Cities

Blood for Blood
Adapted and directed by Jonathan Holloway (who also lit the show and acted in it)
Chung Ying Theatre Company, Hong Kong and Edinburgh Festival.

2015: Jekyll and Hyde

Adapted and Directed by Jonathan Holloway (who also lit the production)
Chung Ying Theatre Company, Hong Kong and London

Selected Work: Freelance

Jonathan Holloway: Freelance

In January 2017 BBC Radio 4 Extra re-broadcast Jonathan’s adaptation of Vita Sackville-West’s ALL PASSIONS SPENT. Directing included MACBETH (Review) for Creation Theatre Company as a site-specific production in and around Oxford’s Lady Margaret Hall, seen by 5,500 people.

2015: Writing for the BBC included THE LURE & SIN, two original semi-biographical dramas for the Arthur Miller centenary co-produced with LA Theatre Works (starring Ed Harris), and THE CARTER MYSTERIES which explored the occult adventures of a South London family removals business.

“Holloway cuts open the skin of a controlling and repressive society to reveal the wounds festering inside. The spectre of a semi-naked, hysterical and murderous Hyde, oozing blood from her bandaged breasts in the final scene makes for a compelling metaphor of Victorian society, stripped of its aura of refinement and respectability.” The China Daily, Asia

“Jekyll & Hyde is a complex, multilayered and gripping drama… intense but accessible, with strong performances… Olivia Winteringham excellent in her dual title roles, seductive one minute and ruthlessly cruel the next.” South China Morning Post


Jonathan was writing for BBC Radio Drama also included Samuel Johnson’s RASSELAS (for independent production company, Essential) and Philip K Dick’s DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP (New Statesman Review) (the book which became the movie BLADE RUNNER) sporting a remarkable cast led by James Purefoy (THE FOLLOWING, ROME, DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME, FLARE PATH) and Jessica Raine (PUNK ROCK, GARROW’S LAW, ROBIN HOOD).

2013: In September Jonathan won a First prize at the 2013 Prix Italia for his BBC adaptation of Orwell’s NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR. The play was translated into Norwegian and broadcast by NRK.

Earlier in 2013 Jonathan co-authored ‘The Real George Orwell’ season for the BBC inc the first radio adaptation of NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR (“Holloway’s script is not a typical adaptation. This is a menacing, violent satire that encapsulates the horror of Orwell’s writing like no other reworking I have encountered” – The Independent, “gripping… fully captures Orwell’s vision” – Sunday Times), and two original plays THE REAL GEORGE ORWELL – LOVING and THE REAL GEORGE ORWELL – JURA.

In 2013 he also adapted the innovative verse novel THE EMPEROR’S BABE by Bernardine Evaristo for BBC Bristol.

BBC Radio 4 Extra re-broadcast Jonathan’s 10 hour serialisation of CP Snow’s eleven novels collectively known as STRANGERS AND BROTHERS [see BBC iPlayer].

2009-10: The Fall of Man

Script Jonathan Holloway and John Milton
Direction Graeme Rose & Jonathan Holloway
Music and Sound Design Sarah Llewellyn

Performances June – July 2010 at Bristol’s Tobacco Factory, The Brewhouse Taunton and Lincoln’s Drillhall Arts Centre

2009: The Fall of Man

The Scotsman’s Hot Show * * * * Edinburgh 2009: “The Fall of Man is full of beautifully detailed observations. A brooding intensity is prevalent throughout… compellingly urgent performances… The poetic imagery of Milton’s classic is dynamically juxtaposed against the work of contemporary writer Jonathan Holloway, who captures his two characters through beautifully observed and stylistically distinctive dialogue. The chemistry… is at times electrifying, with repressed sexual tension building up to an explosive conclusion. Red Shift are a terrific company… a tribute to the kind of fleeting passions that make life worth living.”

The Guardian: “It is not the way that the tale pans out to its eventual and inevitable sordid end that matters, so much as the way the story is told. Working with only a bed, three simple lights and Sarah Llewellyn’s insistent soundscape, the production creates an intense intimacy that implicates its audience; you feel slightly soiled watching it. It also boasts two assured and brave performances.”

Three Weeks: * * * * “A bold, impressively performed production that endows a difficult literary work with graphic contemporary resonance.” One4review.com: * * * * “In the intimate space, barely lit by small domestic light bulbs, good performances are drawn from both performers in this strong hard hitting performance” Metro: * * * * “Casting the audience as culpable voyeurs by having us cluster round their bed, this is a branding iron of sex and guilt.” EdinburghGuide.com: * * * * “This is a superbly inventive and beautifully adapted piece that grips the audience in a vice and refuses to let them escape.”

Also produced by The Right Brain Project, Chicago, 2013


THE FALL OF MAN

Celebrated by press and public at the Edinburgh Festival 2009, June/July 2010 saw Red Shift touring this unusually intimate, hard-hitting ‘micro’ theatre piece to Bristol’s Tobacco Factory, Taunton’s Brewhouse Theatre and Lincoln’s Drill Hall Arts Centre where it was again lauded by audiences and industry observers. In 2012 Chicago’s Right Brain Project made their own production in a converted industrial unit near Lake Michigan. Chicago Theater Beat **** “Holloway has managed to find a wry sweet spot between pathetically predictable characters and a timeless masterpiece” New City Stage Recommended “That’s why Jonathan Holloway’s update/homage is so compelling; we see how relevant Milton’s themes remain today. Holloway intersperses segments of Milton’s epic “Paradise Lost,” detailing Adam and Eve’s fall, within the narrative of married businessman Peter (Corey Noble) and nanny Veronica (Anna Robinson) who contemplate and then conduct an affair.”

The Fall of Man played to full houses following Red Shift’s decision to move away from conventional touring and, at least for a while, create new work sensitive to locations and contexts. It was generally agreed the show confirmed the company’s position at the forefront of UK practice previously established over 27 years of innovation.

“It is not the way that the tale pans out to its eventual and inevitable sordid end that matters, so much as the way the story is told. Working with only a bed, three simple lights and Sarah Llewellyn’s insistent soundscape, the production creates an intense intimacy that implicates its audience; you feel slightly soiled watching it. It also boasts two assured and brave performances”. Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

The Scotsman: * * * * (featured Hot Show) “they have created another provocative piece – on the surface a small story of a briefly lived-out relationship, but more fundamentally, a tribute to the kind of fleeting passions that make life worth living.” Three Weeks: * * * * “A bold, impressively performed production that endows a difficult literary work with graphic contemporary resonance.”One4review.com: * * * * “In the intimate space, barely lit by small domestic light bulbs, good performances are drawn from both performers in this strong hard hitting performance”Metro: * * * * “Casting the audience as voyeurs by having us cluster round their bed, this is a branding iron of sex and guilt.” EdinburghGuide.com: * * * * “This is a superbly inventive and beautifully adapted piece that grips the audience in a vice and refuses to let them escape.” The List: “powerful body language, unnerving music, and the clash of native and non-native idioms and priorities create loaded moments”, Fringe Review.co.uk: “sexy and gratuitous, combining a fun romp with the sometimes fraught politics of sexual relationships, and make this piece delightfully watchable despite the sometimes heavy emotional content”, Broadway Baby: “with strong language, nudity and sexual situations. The audience surrounds the stage on three sides and is very close, giving a strong sense of immediacy and reality to the performances. It feels like we’re eavesdropping on something very private and intense.”, Fest/The Skinny: “Since the early 1980s, Red Shift has gained a reputation for innovative theatre and this latest piece comes as no exception… unfalteringly bold in simulating sex and violence… Performed in the round against an intimate set comprising just a single bed, this is never gratuitous, simply visceral.”

The show required an intimate claustrophobic situation, needed only minimal technical support and because of its length (40 mins) could be played twice in an evening.

The Story: Sited in the bed-sitting room of Slovenian child minder Veronica. Visited in the early hours by Peter – father of the children she nannies – we watch their adulterous relationship fall apart in near darkness. An intense theatrical experience played with the audience huddled around their single bed. Unforgiving in its explicit physicality and emotional depth. Skirmishing across issues of the actor-audience relationship. High tragedy in a tiny domestic environment. Huge words. Throwaway remarks. Candid love-making eclipsed by mistrust. Red Shift welcomed Graeme Rose back to the company for this ambitious risk-taking event: Graeme is a theatre-maker committed to developing innovative, collaborative work. A co-founder of companies Glory what Glory, Stan’s Cafe and The Resurrectionists, he is also associate artist with Bodies in Flight, and has worked repeatedly with the likes of Insomniac Prods, Talking Birds and Red Shift.