Category Archives: Events

The Transports outdoors!

Crude Apache Transports3The Transports – Norfolk’s Folk Opera

After the massive success of their production in Dragon Hall in 2013, Norwich’s Crude Apache Theatre company are proud to announce a new, outdoor touring production of Peter Bellamy’s legendary folk-opera The Transports – in the Parks and open spaces of Norwich and Norfolk during August.

Originally a 1977 ‘concept album’ that topped all that years folk charts and ‘best of’ polls, The Transports was perhaps the most important work by the influential Norwich based Bellamy. It featured such folk luminaries as Mike and Norma Waterson, Dave Swarbrick, June Tabor and Martin Carthy and in recent years has been included in Mojo magazine’s Top 100 recordings of the 20th Century and the BBC’s Best folk Albums of the 20th Century.

The Transports tells the true story of Henry Kabel and Susannah Holmes. In 1783 they were both convicted of petty theft, imprisoned in Norwich Castle and sentenced to transportation as part the first fleet of convicts to be transported to the new world.

The couple married and prospered in the new world. In an inspiring story of offender rehabilitation Henry made a fortune from sealing and whaling, founded a mail service in Australia and went on to become the Colony’s first Chief Constable. His dynasty survives today and many of his descendants travel from Australia to visit Norwich and its castle where their ancestors were incarcerated.

The very first live production of The Transports took place in Norwich Castle in 1978 and it has since been performed at London’s Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Bracknell Festival and at the 1991 Whitby Festival as a memorial to Peter who had shocked and baffled his family and friends when he took his own life that year.

Now Crude Apache, under musical director Tim Lane and Director Panda Monium will recreate The Transports for a modern audience with a cast of 10 singers and 12 musicians.

This new hour long production will add a theatricality to the work and a modern feel to the music without losing the spirit and soul of Peter Bellamy’s remarkable and timeless original.

Performance dates:

Thurs 3rd August – Heigham Park – 7-30pm
Sat 5th August – Whiffler Theatre, Castle Gardens – 7-30pm
Sunday 6th August – Whiffler Theatre, Castle Gardens – 2.30pm
Thurs 10th August – Visitor Centre, Whittlingham Country Park – 7-30pm
Fri 11th August – Becketswell, Wymondham – 7-30pm
Saturday 12th August – The Locks Inn, Geldeston – 7-30pm
Sunday 13th August – Kett’s Heights – 2.30pm

All performances are free – bring something to sit on and a picnic


Magnificence by Howard Brenton

Crude Apache presents “MAGNIFICENCE” a play by Howard Brenton.
Wednesday 7th – Saturday 10th June 2017 at 7.30pm. The Shoe Factory Social Club, St. Marys Plain, Norwich NR33AF

A radical new revival of this 1970’s masterpiece by Crude Apache, Norwich’s up close and personal theatre company. Performed amid the stark, industrial backdrop of The Shoe Factory Social Club, “Magnificence” examines what form protest should take and whether violent protest can be meaningful, with a darkly comic edge which will appeal to today’s generation as much as those who lived through the squats and protests of the late seventies.

Read the reviews:




Please wrap up warm if you’re coming to see Richard III at the Shoe Factory, we do have heaters but it does get a little chilly later in the evening – fully licensed bar and hot drinks are available….

Richard III

poster_riii_webCrude Apache present Richard III.
In the decaying remains of a disused shoe factory Norwich’s most up-close and personal theatre company will plunge the audience into a post-industrial dystopian setting for this dark tale of treachery, deceit and murder.
Set in a cardboard kingdom in a septic isle, this is a war between two venal houses both alike in degradation, fighting over nothing.
Crude Apache’s production of Richard III explores the dark heart of this most fascinating of Shakespeare’s histories and its charismatic villain as he claws his bloody way to power.

The Shoe Factory Social Club
St. Mary’s Plain

Wednesday 23rd November – Saturday 3rd December

Tickets now on sale from:

Richard III

We’re looking for front of house volunteers for Richard III.
We need ushers / bar staff from Tuesday 22nd – Saturday 26th November and from Tuesday 29th November – Saturday 3rd December – comment here or email…it’ll be fun!


Well Zastrozzi was a great critical success which cemented our relationship at Dragon Hall with the new tenants The Writers Centre, saw 4 actors trained up to BASSC (British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat) examination standard in rapier and dagger combat, and I’m afraid lost nearly £1700.

This was partly offset by a very generous bequest of £350 from Visceral Theatre Co., who decided that their time had come. I hope our production of Zastrozzi was a fitting tribute to them.

We still have nearly £1500 in the bank, and the promise of a creative loan from the Common Lot if we need it, so onwards and upwards.

Next on the agenda is another Shakespeare – King Richard III – to be directed by Tim Lane in a venue yet to be confirmed. His plan is 8 actors, a seriously cut script and lots of very deliberate doubling. Watch this space for audition news. Planned for performance this November.

After that we have a plan for another production next May, this time to be directed by Tom Francis. Details will be announced in due course.

We intend to return to Dragon Hall in 2018 (after the building work) with a new play written by Jo Edye, Tim Lane and Panda.

Events of note coming up start with the RSC Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Theatre Royal in April, with our bastard offspring The Common Lot supplying the mechanicals – directed by our founder Simon Floyd. Really not to be missed. I’ll be in the one in the front row hurrumphing and tutting loudly.

On the 29th April at the Playhouse there is a benefit gig for the charity Sistema, who teach kids music, with performances from Karl Minns and our very own Singing Postmen, Tim Lane, Richard Brook and Leighton Williams.

Our next get together is a committee meeting at Jurnets Bar on Monday 9th May, 7.30pm, remember, all are welcome

Zastrozzi – the Master of Discipline

Zastrozzi02FLATLowZastrozzi – The Master of Discipline is the latest theatre production from Norfolk’s long established Crude Apache Theatre Company – and one of the most challenging pieces they have staged.

Set in 1893 and loosely based on Percy Bysshe Shelly’s Gothic novella Zastrozzi, the play tells the story of the master criminal of Europe, and his lover Matilda who seek violent revenge upon the artist Verezzi for the murder of Zastrozzi’s mother.

Only the solid form of Verezzi’s tutor Victor and the innocent beauty of Julia, the object of his affections can halt the fulfillment of Zastrozzi’s bloody quest.

Crude Apache’s action packed production of George F Walker’s unflinching play searches out the dark corners of the human psyche and questions the very nature of violence, lust and death. Director Jo Edye was approached by co-director of the Hostry Festival, Peter Barrow, a friend of the Canadian author, to stage the play and eagerly agreed. It is hoped that the writer will visit Norwich to see the show.

The cast of six includes Crude Apache regulars Leighton Williams as Zastrozzi), Tom Francis as the even more evil Bernardo and Tom Butterworth (Verezzi), joined by newcomers Peter Barrow (Victor), Jo Hipperson (Matilda) and Marianne Hayes (Julia).

‘It is a different style of play for us’ said Jo ‘especially when you consider our last production was a poignant comedy drama about Norfolk legend The Singing Postman!’ He continued ‘The play is highly dramatic and features many extreme sword and fist fights. We have engaged the services of not one but two professional fight directors, both fully qualified with the British Academy of Stage & Screen Combat to ensure that the action is realistic.’

The company are especially pleased to be returning to Dragon Hall which will be an imposing and highly atmospheric backdrop for the play – and will allow the audience an intimate close up view as the drama unfolds.

Tickets now on sale from:

Please note that ticket sales via the eventbrite site end at 11.30 am on the day of each performance – for late availability please email:

20th Anniversary show from Crude Apache

macbeths photo

Norwich’s theatre company present new production of Macbeth, the very first show they performed

To celebrate their 20th anniversary, Norwich’s renowned theatre company Crude Apache will perform their new production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Back in 1994 ‘The Scottish Play’ was the first show the company ever performed, in the Rotunda in Norwich Castle and many of the original cast are still involved with the company to this day.

Jo Edye who played Macduff in the 1994 version directs this new production, set in the Dark Ages of the 11th Century. There will be 9 performances between 5 and 15 November in the atmospheric surroundings of Dragon Hall with its timbered walls, dramatic roof spaces and dark corners.

Jo has enhanced the already creepily supernatural feel of the play with an aptly moody monochrome setting, enhanced by Tim Lane’s haunting soundscape which makes extensive use of bird and found sounds. An opening scene featuring sinister crow like witches adds to the air of otherworldly menace.

Macbeth is renowned as Shakespeare’s darkest tragedy and one of his most bloody and violent as the scheming, murderous title character sets out to realise the witches’ prediction that he will become King of Scotland. Crude Apache don’t shy away from representing the ensuing horror with spectacularly arranged fight scenes and theatrical blood contrasting vividly with the otherwise subdued colour palette.

As Macbeth and Lady Macbeth descend into further crime, madness and paranoia they are often considered arch villains but director Joe Edye has a different view ‘At the time competing clans were in constant struggles for control. Yes the Macbeths committed multiple murders in a ruthlessly treacherous bid to first seize power and then maintain it, but they really were only typical of a period steeped in violence and murder. People would literally do anything to achieve their goals and human life was cheap and disposable. Shakespeare understood this and this is demonstrated in the complex characterisation in the play.’

Since their formation Crude Apache have presented over 50 accessible, affordable and entertaining plays in and around Norwich. Their members are drawn together by friendship, passion for theatre and a love for Norwich and the surrounding area.

Weds 5 – Sat 8 November, Tues 11– Sat 15 November 7.30pm, £9, £6 Concessions.

All tickets £5 on preview night 5 November.

Dragon Hall, King St Norwich NR1 1QE 01603 663 922


Gammer Gurtons Needle – press release

1897915_10151887447976652_306090796_nNorwich community theatre collective Crude Apache celebrate their twentieth anniversary this summer, with a show that combines everything that this dynamic group does best – open air theatre, broad comedy, a sense of history, and a “louche disregard for convention”, as one reviewer once put it.

Gammer Gurton’s Needle is one of the first English comedies, a hilarious knockabout tale of misunderstandings between larger-than-life clownish characters. “Expect physical comedy, music, song, dance, a fast pace and some memorable moments,” says director Jo Swan.

The show contains some moderate medieval oaths and frequent references to bottoms.

In true Crude Apache style, entry to all shows will be free of charge – although donations will be welcomed.

The tour kicks off at 7.30pm on the 1st of July in the Tudor garden at Stranger’s Hall, and later visits Grapes Hill Community Garden (3 July),The Whiffler at Castle Gardens (6,11, 12 July), the hidden gem which is the Gothic-Italian Plantation Garden (9 July) and a number of city parks.

Full list of tour dates and locations below.

1 July – Stranger’s Hall Garden 7.30pm;

2 July – Wensum Park 7.30pm;

3 July – Grapes Hill Community Garden 7.30pm;

4 July – Heigham Park 7.30pm;

6 July – The Whiffler, Castle Gardens (matinee)3pm;

8 July – Waterloo Park 7.30pm;

9 July – Plantation Garden 7.30pm;

10 July – Cow Tower 7.30pm;

11 July – The Whiffler, Castle Gardens 7.30pm;

12 July – The Whiffler, Castle Gardens 7.30pm.

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