Many of our shows explore the relationship between the original source material and its broader appeal in subsequent twentieth century popular culture. This allows us to mix fact with fiction, to enable famous fictional characters to meet with real historical personages. By doing so, our stories can blend different genres whilst exploring the impact each has on the other. We also look at how social and cultural events from the period still resonate today, and we enjoy including little references which add poigniancy (and in many cases humour!) to our material.
Our stage plays are all rooted in the popular fiction of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. We always strive to capture the spirit of the original source material, whilst at the same time adding something fresh and unexpected for audiences to enjoy. We explore the circumstances that surrounded the Victorian authors' lives, their own inspirations and backgrounds, in addition to the social history of Great Britain at that time.  Content Our performance style relies upon a sense of heightened realism, being intense, actor-driven and dramatic. The majority of our shows involve multiple role-playing with minimal costume changes, and allows audiences to enjoy transformational character acting at close proximity. In the course of a single show, the same actor can become a dozen different characters, through changes in physicality, vocalisation, accent and stance. Music, original and adapted songs, sound effects, lighting, dance and movement are all used to find interesting ways to drive the narrative. The actors art and their craft of story-telling is central to our work. Form
Improvisation is a big feature of our shows, particularly in relation to audience participation. Our actors use great skill in maintaining the language, attitude and idiom of the era when talking directly to audience members. Leave your mobile phone switched on at your peril!
We liken the stage and its set dressing to a traditional pop-up book. There is no fourth wall, and so audiences must be prepared to be engaged fully. The direction and staging of each piece is stylised and symbolic, allowing each audience member to use his or her imagination to augment the scene being set.
Our theatrical style, the aesthetics of what we stage, is strongly influenced by the classic Universal horrors of the 1930s and 1940s, and the films of Hammer Studios in the 1950s and 1960s. Incidental music, sound and lighting effects support the narrative and to infuse it with its own distinct character. Lighting is employed to create a moody ambience, with shadows cast by and upon our actors lending to the air of menace.
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Formed in 2010, Don't Go Into The Cellar! are the UK’s finest practitioners of theatrical Victoriana in a macabre vein.
The company is based in the heart of the West Midlands, and the region has links with some of the greatest Victorian and Edwardian genre writers. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle began his career as a writer while practicing medicine in Birmingham and Fu Manchu's creator, Sax Rohmer , was born there, too. Washington Irving penned his classic horror tale, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" whilst living in Birmingham, and Charles Dickens performed often at the second city's Town Hall, giving the very first public reading of "A Christmas Carol" there in 1853. The famous humourist Jerome K. Jerome , author of "Three Men in a Boat" was born in nearby Walsall. Both he and Dickens were marvellous exponents of the macabre tale when the mood took them, and the spirits of all these nineteenth-century greats haunt our stage-work.
Technical Director Gary Archer shares Jonathan’s love of the old Universal and Hammer movies. It was from these that at an early age he was introduced to the literature and authors behind the films.  Gary’s work includes the production of all publicity material for the company. He designs the posters, authors the website, and is responsible for video and photography.  Music has been a passion for Gary since his teenage years. He plays a variety of instruments and scores the original music for a number of the company’s productions. Sound effects are constructed especially to support the performances, taking their influence from the classic Universal and Hammer films.  All of this blends to realise Jonathan’s vision for his writing. Gary also directs many of the shows, providing that all important outside eye. When on tour he assumes the responsibility of Stage Manager, liasing with venue staff, in particular the technical department. He operates both lighting and sound for each show.
Artistic Director Jonathan Goodwin has been fascinated with the Victorian and Edwardian eras since childhood, and especially the works of Conan Doyle, Stoker, Stevenson, M R James and their ilk. Indeed, the first novel he can recall reading is The Hound of the Baskervilles, when he was six or so.  Jonathan was an avid viewer of the black and white Sherlock Holmes films, the Bela Lugosi and the Boris Karloff films, and the early Hammer Horrors back in the days when they were still screened on TV. Little could he have known that all of that would one day lead to his following in their footsteps on stage! Indeed, he even corresponded several times with Peter Cushing on the topic of acting, when Goodwin was still a teenager. Peter Cushing was one of the first actors a young Goodwin watched playing Sherlock Holmes, in fact, along with Basil Rathbone. They remain his favourites to this day, along with Jeremy Brett, naturally. Jonathan is an omnivorous reader and a bit of a bookworm. On his bookshelves are innumerable titles on Victorian and Edwardian crime, plus works by all the late nineteenth century's greats of popular fiction. But he always allows his imagination free rein when writing scripts, and thinks a degree of artistic licence is allowed when crafting a piece of entertainment – however macabre the subject matter!
Our aim is to introduce new audiences to the classics of Victorian and Edwardian fiction. Also, to reacquaint those familiar with the originals to the source material. We strive to restore what has, in our view, been lost down the generations through weak, insipid or uninspired adaptations.  Aim