Young writer debuts first production at Nottingham Playhouse

21 September 2018

An award-winning writer will debut his first production at Nottingham Playhouse next week.

Up and coming writer Tom Powell, aged 26, will premiere I Dare You at Nottingham Playhouse from Thursday 27 to Saturday 29 September. The production is commissioned by In Good Company - a creative and business development programme for theatre makers and companies in the East Midlands.

I Dare You is a 70-minute production described as “Hansel and Gretel meet Black Mirror in an escape room”. The play is aimed at young audiences under 30 and explores the grief that follows the death of a parent and the challenges of being a child alone in an adult world.

Tom is working with director Beth Shouler who received support from In Good Company and Derby Theatre to bring the production to stage. Beth specialises in making work for teenagers and young adults in the East Midlands, and is passionate about showcasing new writing for younger audiences at regional theatres and small-scale intimate spaces outside London. 

I Dare You tells the story of siblings Emily and Solomon coping with the end of their parents’ marriage. Emily is played by Derby actress Sabrina Sandhu, who recently won best debut at the BBC Audio Drama awards for her performance in Black Eyed Girls. Solomon is played by Thomas Mahy, a recent graduate from Drama Centre London.

Director Beth Shouler, said: “When I read Tom’s script for I Dare You I was struck by its ability to address the resilience of young people facing trauma.

“The play touches on a number of experiences around families, including abuse, divorce and death but we’ve been careful not to make it an ‘issues’ play that patronises young people with a moral message. Despite some dark content, it’s extremely playful and funny. Think Hansel and Gretel meet Black Mirror in an escape room!

“The production wouldn’t have been made possible without the support we received from In Good Company which enabled us to apply for match funding and expand our creative team to give opportunities to emerging artists.” 

Beth and Tom are working with co-producing team Hannah Stone, Tilly Branson and Ria Ashcroft on I Dare You, which runs from Thursday 27 to Saturday 29 September at Nottingham Playhouse in the Neville Studio.

Tickets cost £14 and £12 for concessions. The play is suitable for age 14 plus. Tickets can be purchased through the Nottingham Playhouse website at:

In Good Company and Derby Theatre are part of The Big House, a £5 million tailored support programme for the creative and digital industries (CDI) sector, part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Beth Shoulder has received professional support through The Big House initiative.

I Dare You received match funding from Arts Council England. As well as being showcased at Nottingham Playhouse, the production will also tour to The Curve in Leicester from 25 to 26 October. The play is available for touring in 2019.

Notes to editors

Media contact: Charlotte Goldthorpe at Capital B Media or 01226 766900

About I Dare You

“I dare you to cut your eyes out with a kitchen knife.”

You live in the perfect family. Mum. Dad. Sister. Brother.
But lately Mum’s started sleeping all the time.
Dad’s knocked all the walls out and replaced them with glass.
Solomon is waging war on the insects trying to get in.
And Emily will only drink Coca Cola.
Something’s going horribly wrong.

A play about family, trauma, and a sofa that has seen everything.

Think Hansel and Gretel meets Black Mirror in an Escape room.

*This performance contains strong language, scenes of violence and disturbing content. The piece deals with issues around divorce, death of a parent, domestic violence and sexual abuse.

Writer Tom Powell
Director Beth Shouler

Watch the trailer for I Dare You:

Follow the I Dare You Tour on Twitter:

In Good Company (IGC) is the flagship professional creative and business development programme for theatre makers and companies in the East Midlands. IGC’s ERDF-funded business support service provides a wide range of targeted business support, from workshops to one-to-one mentoring, for theatre makers, performance artists, actors, producers, directors and those forging a career in theatre in the D2N2 region (Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire).

IGC and Derby Theatre are part of The Big House

Supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), The Big House project, provides free support for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire-based creative and digital businesses. From developing potential business ideas, nurturing start-ups and new entrepreneurs, to working with established businesses wanting to grow, our partner network provides specialist support. You can access grants, 1-2-1 mentoring, networking events and workshops to help build contacts, skills and knowledge to succeed. #TheBigHouse #ERDF. Match funding has also been secured from the Creative Local Growth Fund programme, funded by Arts Council England. 

European Regional Development Fund

The Big House Project is receiving up to £4.5 million of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund.

Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit

This press release was prepared by Capital B Media, a public relations and media training agency based in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. For more information, please visit

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