Up The Road Theatre, a Kent-based company, was founded in 2015. Partly born out of a desire to create new work specifically for communities with little access to live theatre, we also wanted to create more opportunities for fellow theatre freelancers.
Our work explores culture, heritage and lived experiences.
We want to tell stories without technical wizardry, but plenty of invention and imagination.
We're developing a stripped-back style of theatre, using a little to tell a lot, with plays rich in language and character.
We're a touring company, visiting theatres, arts centres and non-theatre spaces, including village halls, libraries, museums, and the more unexpected, such as lightships and boathouses. There's something rewarding and exciting in taking theatre into a space where it wouldn't usually be seen.
We've created work for families and adult audiences. Our inaugural show, Bardolph's Box, toured twice in 2016, introducing Key Stage 2 children to Shakespeare's plays.
In 2019, we toured Peril at Sea, exploring the lives and communities of seafarers.
In autumn 2020 we started work on our third touring production, Beneath the Banner, which we're gearing up to tour in the spring of 2023.
In 2022 we created and performed an outdoor show for Her Majesty's Platinum Jubilee.
Our touring productions are all made through a R&D process. Each show is at least 18 months in the making by the time it gets to rehearsal. We have been really fortunate in receiving Arts Council England funding for all
of our touring shows.
Up The Road was founded by Nicola Pollard, a freelance theatre director:
I grew up on the east Kent coast. My experiences of professional theatre were the panto in Canterbury (and occasionally Chichester) and trips to London. Opportunities to engage with theatre professionals and see locally made work were few. My aim has always been for Up The Road to be a company that takes work to communities that don't otherwise access live theatre, and to show young people living in villages and small towns that a career in theatre is a possibility. I studied English and Drama with Education at the University of Cambridge, then a MFA in Staging Shakespeare at the University of Exeter. My first professional job was with Ipswich-based Eastern Angles, with whom I have now worked five times, including directing their touring production Red Skies in 2020 and 2021. Other credits as a director include scratch nights and short runs at Theatre503 (Rapid Write Response), Hen & Chickens, Old Red Lion, King’s Head, House of Detention and a rehearsed reading at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse. In 2014 I was assistant to the Head of Text at Shakespeare’s Globe, Giles Block, for the whole summer season. In 2022, I joined the Mercury Theatre Directors' Programme.
I'm a trained workshop facilitator, and a Mental Health First Aid Instructor, qualifying in 2020.
We can't make theatre on our own. Up The Road would like to thank the following individuals for their help and support over the last few years:
Dee and Simon Pollard
Those who have supported us through donations and sponsorship.
And... Arts Council England, without whom we would never have got started.
"Not many of our children have the experience of going to a theatre,
this brings it to them."
Primary School Teacher, Bardolph's Box