Augmented Productions launches, supported by Told by an Idiot

As my Clore fellowship ends, I’m proud to announce that I’ve set up a new company called Augmented Productions (named after my forthcoming play, Augmented).

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Augmented Productions is over the moon to be partnering with the amazing, brilliant and funny Told by an Idiot for a year-long associateship. Over the next year the two organisations will play together, and grow together, with Told by an Idiot offering Augmented Productions vital support in our inaugural year!  This is going to be SO GOOD.

“I am thrilled that Augmented Productions will be joining us as our first associate company. The brains behind Augmented is Sophie Woolley, a unique writer, performer, and experimenter, who was a crucial part of our project with the Barbican ‘Let Me Play The Lion Too’.Sophie will surprise and challenge us with her playful and provocative work, and it marks a new and exciting development in the journey of both organisations.” – Paul Hunter, Artistic Director Told by an Idiot

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Augmented, the show, is supported using public funding by Arts Council England. Supported in its development by Unlimited, with funding from Arts Council England. Originally developed with Ovalhouse. Supported by the New Wolsey Theatre.

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Augmented R&D photos

Here are some photos (by David Monteith-Hodge) from my Unlimited and Ovalhouse supported writing R&D of Augmented. At the end of the month I shared the script with some invited guests at Poplar Union, to get their feedback.

Thank you to everyone who came to give feedback on the work at this early stage and to palantypist Norma MacHaye for the sharing captions and Martin Fox-Roberts for Q&A interpretation. And thank you all the artists who came to play with me over the last two months, Lucia Tong, Adrienne Quartly, Lee Affen and Martyn Garside and to producer Kendall Masson, dramaturge Sarah Dickenson, director Rachel Bagshaw. I feel very fortunate to be working with such skilled, talented, lovely people. It was great to finally leave my house and work in actual venues – a month at Ovalhouse with extra time and space at Poplar Union, Sheffield Crucible and New Wolesy Theatre.

If you would like to come and give feedback on the next R&D (where I work on performance ideas) you can book to see the public scratch performances for a fiver in advance at Ovalhouse 12-14 July. Every date has live palantype captions. (When the show goes into full production in 2019, the subtitles will be designed as part of the show.) On 13 July there will be an after show discussion which is palantyped and BSL interpreted by Jacqui Beckford.


Sarah Dickenson, Rachel Bagshaw, Sophie Woolley


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Augmented wins Suitcase Day Prize at Pulse Festival.

Sophie is handed a giant cheque for one thousand pounds by James McDermott, a white, blond performer with a goatee. He also hands her an old suitcase covered in show flyers.
2017 winner, James McDermott, hands over the Pulse prize suitcase.

I performed a 20 minite scratch of my one person show, Augmented, at Pulse Festival and won a grand and a loan of an old suitcase!

“The Suitcase Prize challenges theatre makers to think in an environmentally and economically sustainable way. The 10 participants compete to win £1,000 by presenting a 20 minute scratch which can be transported on public transport! Yes, literally in a suitcase!”

Sophie holds up a giant cheque for one thousand pounds. She smiles broadly.

Thank you to everyone who has attended our sharings and contributed feedback.  Thank you to Unlimited for funding the writing R&D and to Ovalhouse and Poplar Union. The script will go through several more drafts.

The full length scratch performances are on 12-14 July at Ovalhouse. Tickets are a fiver in advance and eight quid on the door. The performances are palantype captioned and in the downstairs accessible theatre. Your feedback at these performances will help me create the full production in 2019.

Told by an Idiot

Sophie and Jean are in costume. Jean is faking a heart attack and Sophie is helping her.
Jean St Clair, Sophie Woolley, Photo by Laura Granelli

I learned loads whilst working with Told by an Idiot’s Paul Hunter and Stephen Harper. And from the other eleven actors in the ensemble too. There were extra sessions with Lisa Hammond, Wardrobe Ensemble, Little Soldier and Rachel Bagshaw. I discovered I like playing with half masks. A lot.

We did three improvised Let Me Play the Lion Too performances at The Barbican, along with a panel discussion, due to be broadcast by Sky Arts next March, in a short film presented by Sally Philips.

Every day was fun, exciting, risky and inspiring.


More photos and information about the project here. 

Let Me Play the Lion Too

This is happening! I’m going to be working with 11 other performers in a Told by an Idiot production in February 2018 at the Barbican Pit Theatre.

Here’s the information…

Let Me Play The Lion Too

19 Feb, 2018 – 03 Mar, 2018

“an improvisational experiment

Let Me Play the Lion Too sees Told by an Idiot use our trademark working practices to tackle the lack of diversity on stage as part of the Sky Arts Art 50 initiative.

In an intensive two week residency in The Pit, a group of 12 performers, six of whom have a disability, work with us to devise new improvised evenings of anarchic spontaneity. The process enables artists to develop their theatre making skills, and to push their imaginations and creativity in new ways, whilst looking to affect change in the wider arts infrastructure.

Let Me Play The Lion Too is part of Sky Arts Art 50, a landmark project to commission 50 artworks that will explore what it means to be British in a post-Brexit Britain.

Art 50 is a partnership between Sky Arts, the Barbican, Sage Gateshead, BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art and Storyvault Films.

‘In a new partnership with the Barbican we announce our unique project entitled ‘Let Me Play The Lion Too’. This will bring together twelve performers of exceptional promise, with an equal mix of those with a disability and those without. An intensive two week period of improvisation will empower them to take responsibility for their own creativity, and will culminate in evenings of anarchic spontaneity.’ Paul Hunter, Artistic Director of Told by an Idiot

Public performance at the Pit, Barbican Centre on 3rd March 2018. Booking details released soon.”