You have to be a bit of a British theatre nerd to work out what this is, but you don’t need to be one to appreciate it. This document that I found in one of my files yesterday is a piece of theatre history.
It’s a theatre programme from the Hen & Chicken pub theatre in Bristol, from April 1991. That wouldn’t seem like much but it marks three very auspicious theatre debuts.
First, it’s the debut of Suspect Culture, who would go on to be one of the most important and celebrated Scottish theatre companies of the 1990s and 2000s.
Second, Savage Reminiscence is written by David Greig and this show marks his professional writing debut. (The show - a monologue about Caliban left on the island after the events of The Tempest - was performed by Graham Eatough, who was the co-founder of Suspect Culture and would direct most of its shows, including my own Static.)
Third, the second half of the double bill is Comic Monologue, which was written and performed by Sarah Kane, and this marks her professional stage debut as a writer (and performer).
Sarah Kane, David Greig, and Suspect Culture would go on to be three of the most vital forces in British - in fact European - theatre in the decade that followed.
I vaguely remember the evening: Graham on a stepladder, affable and clever and riddling; Sarah sprawled challengingly, telling us the stark tale of a vicious assault; a climb up some stairs, a bare room, my friends. It felt admirable and I think I would have been terribly jealous that I hadn’t had the balls or the entrepreneurial flair to do something like that, but what a thing, what a thing to have been there.