Productions by Fail Better

To view pictures, plot information, synopses and cast & crew listings for a production simply click on the relevant link from our archive below.

Productions Archive

Fail Better Fragments

devised installation - 21st April 2012

Humanities Studio, Warwick University

"Angels, shadows, voices, dreams".
This performance installation created a new theatrical experience from the texts, objects and memories within the Fail Better archive. The audience was invited into a different kind of theatre museum.


work in progress - 1st October 2011

Pegasus, Oxford

"Zero. Zero. Zero".
The beginning of a major project exploring the human body in relation to scientific knowledge, Endlessness was a Pegasus 'First Stage' performance thinking through scientific method and the void.

Diary of a Madman

after Gogol - 21st & 22nd January 2011 @ 7:45pm

Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry
First performed at The Rosemary Branch, London Fringe 2007

"I love going to the theatre. As long as I've a kopeck in my pocket, you can't stop me".
A bold new adaptation of Gogol's absurdist masterpiece, adapted and devised by the company. The story examines the life of Axenty Ivanovich, a civil servant whose ordered existence spirals into fantasy and despair as his obsession with the enchanting daughter of his superior grows.

Meanwhile, two little dogs contemplate his fate...


after Shakespeare - 21st & 22nd January 2011 @ 7:45pm

Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry
First performed at The CAPITAL Centre, Warwick University

"Hell is murky".
A new devised piece, performed by The Student Ensemble, which freely adapts Shakespeare's tragedies in a theatrical language inspired by the work of Samuel Beckett. A highly innovative staging sees disembodied heads, emerging from a cabinet of curiosities to relive their 'rooted sorrow'.

Stasis:Beckett Shorts

Rough for Theatre II & Ohio Impromptu by Samuel Beckett

7th & 8th Dec 2009 - Pegasus Theatre @ The Burton Taylor
First performed at The CAPITAL Centre, Warwick University

"I don't seem to be able ... to depart".
A rare opportunity to see a double bill of short plays by Samuel Beckett, staged together for the first time. As their stories and lives come to an end, the characters consider what has happened, how things may have been different and what remains of the past. Static bodies in concrete stage images begin two intensely focused dramas of the mind.


after Golding - 2nd-3rd May 2009

The CAPITAL Centre, Warwick University

"Thank you for giving me this nothing".
Ceres' search, Jove's judgment, Dis' lust all threaten to engulf Proserpine as she struggles to compose herself. A piece for 'nine imprisoned performers' this recycling of the Persephone myth draws upon a rich research and development process across various venues.

Play Without a Title

by Federico García Lorca
in a new translation by David Johnston

2nd-8th October 2008, The CAPITAL Centre, Warwick University

"I like the truth as well - just for a moment".
Exploring the relationship between theatre, politics and poetry, as well as the distance between reality and illusion, this lost classic marks the beginning of Lorca's quest to stage 'the impossible'.


by Zoë Simon - 5th-29th August 2004

The Smirnoff Underbelly, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2004

"The worst kid in the park now"
Sometimes ferocious, sometimes delicate, this is a tale of destructive love between two young delinquents. Set on a South London estate, this stunning new play is premiered by a "young, unhyped, first-rate company" - List. Fail Better's devised show Echo and Narcissus received critical acclaim on the London fringe last summer.

Phaedra's Love

by Sarah Kane - 5th-29th August 2004

The Smirnoff Underbelly, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2004

"It burns. Meant to be. We were. Meant to be."
This powerful retelling of the Phaedra myth mixes brutality and beauty, revealing a royal family ripped apart by obsessive love. Fail Better return to The Smirnoff Underbelly following their massive success with Sarah Kane's Crave in 2002 ("a diamond of a show" - List).

Echo & Narcissus

after Ovid - 24th June-13th July 2003

White Bear Theatre, London

Having been cursed to eternally repeat the words of others, Echo developes an infatuation for the self-obsessed Narcissus. But when he cruelly rejects her, Narcissus himself is cursed to crave the one thing he cannot reach, his own reflection.


by Sarah Kane - 1st-25th August 2002

The Smirnoff Underbelly, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2002

"I feel nothing, nothing. I feel nothing".
Deep in the city, four characters relive memories of life, love and loss. Their stories, confessions and conversations interweave to expose the horrors and desired at the centre of contemporary life.

Pinter Double Bill

'A Kind of Alaska' & 'Silence' by Harold Pinter

May-June 2001 - venues in England, Wales and Slovakia

An early work, this production was directed by Jonathan Heron and launched the company name through a small scale European tour. During this period, company members also collaborated on student productions of Shakespeare.