We run a regular Event of short ‘Scratch’ performances followed by ‘The Space’ which showcases new work by live artists, companies, performers and writers.

  • ‘Scratch’ is performed with one rehearsal beforehand, often ‘script-in-hand’ – and open to submissions: from performers and writers, at any level of experience.  It is a great opportunity to test work out in front of an audience, we offer advice and feedback and we can help direct the work and supply performers if needed.  We are open to performance work on any topic, and past ‘Scratch’ events have included radio plays, monologues, live art performances and comedy sketches, alongside more conventional plays.
  •  ‘The Space’ offers artists, performers and writers the chance to show new performances of, fully formed pieces of original theatre and live art as well as Work-in-Progress.  We have previously shown work based on narrative and fragments; verbatim speech using ‘Selfies’ and Situationist practices to explore the city, and one-to-one performance.

The company was created at the beginning of 2014 by Artistic Director Hayley Alessi, who was frustrated at the lack of spaces in Sheffield for new and emerging artists and writers to try out their work.

“As the largest centre for theatre outside of London, Sheffield had nowhere that supported new performance and writing locally. During my MA I realised there was a real need for somewhere to create and explore new work and that a lot of performers and writers didn’t know how to take their work from devising/scripts into performance.  Having experience of devising, writing and staging original work, my aim was to create: a space, audience, performers and direction, to enable new performers and writers to develop their skills and progress their work to the next level.”

Verbal is comprised of experienced theatre makers, writers, performers and artists, as well as people new to the industry; and as a company we are open to all and invite anyone with a passion for performance and writing to submit their work to us. 

It is a team effort, with permanent members, headed up by Director Hayley Alessi and associates: Andrew Tildesley, David Jones, Kirsty Surgey, Amelia Mather and Becky Pilkington, as well as people involved on a more ad hoc basis.

“We’re all working together to encourage and support new performance/writing/live art. Artists are given full support to stage their work in front of an audience, as well as feedback and advice to refine it and take it into final production – and writers who submit their script to us will have access to actors to perform their piece as well as fellow writers to share observations and give feedback on how to improve work.”

The Company provides an open forum for artists and writers to show their work.

Hayley has a solid foundation in devising, writing, directing and producing original theatre and live art.

“I have been teaching Theatre and Performance, Creative Writing and English since 2005, helping students to write, direct and perform their own work.  I completed an MA in Theatre and Performance in 2013, and have spent the past few years working as a freelance theatre maker, performer and director –  I write, direct and perform my own work, as both a solo artist and in collaboration with other theatre makers – and currently lecture in BA (Hons) Performing Arts as well as running workshops and making performance in the community and educational establishments.”

VERBAL also produces ‘Launch’  – premiering full-length pieces of new theatre/performance work up 3 times a year.

For more details see our ‘Contacts’ page.

(image used is a close-up of a section of Harry Brearley Sheffield street art by Faunagraphic)

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