Justin Butcher

Writer

Add to shortlist

Film, TV & Theatre

Assistant : Christian Ogunbanjo

Film, TV & Theatre

Radio

ProductionCompanyNotes

ESCAPE FROM GAZA

2011

BBC Radio 4

co-written with Palestinian writer Ahmed Masoud, telling of his perilous journey into Gaza in ‘09, for BBC Radio 4, dir. Jessica Dromgoole, broadcast Jan 13th ‘11

THE PATIENCE OF MR JOB

2010

BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, dir. Claire Grove, broadcast Aug ‘10, featuring Jude Akuwudike & Adjoa Andoh; satirical update of Old Testament fable, set in fictitious West African country devastated by well-intentioned meddling of “development” agencies & climate-change related disasters
Pick Of The Day in The Daily Telegraph & The Daily Mail

“Nicely played and very funny satire by Justin Butcher.” (The Daily Telegraph)
“Funny and deeply tragic.” (The Daily Mail)

CHUKWUDEBELU - PRESERVE OF GOD

2005

Big Heart Media / BBC Radio 4

co-written with Nigerian musician Ben Okafor for BBC R4, dir. Richard Shannon, broadcast Jun ‘05, true story of a child soldier in the Biafran War

THE MAN ON THE PILLAR

2002

BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4, dir. Claire Grove, with Paul Bhattarcharjee & Tom Smith, broadcast Dec ‘02, story of Simeon Stylites, 5th century Syrian hermit & pillar-saint

Pick Of The Day in The Guardian, The Times & The Daily Mail

“Captivating” (The Times) “Justin Butcher has done it again” (The Radio Times)

THE SEVEN WHITE MASKS OF SCARAMOUCHE JONES

2001

BBC Radio 4

dir. Claire Grove, with Warren Mitchell, broadcast Mar ‘01

“A masterpiece of extraordinarily imaginative writing” (The Radio Times)

Theatre

ProductionCompanyNotes

SCARAMOUCHE JONES

2011

Rebbeck Penny / Bristol Old Vic

What’s On Stage Best Solo Performance 2002 (winner)
Barclays Stage Partners Best Actor Award 2002 (nominee)
Canadian Dora Award 2003 (nominee)
BankSA People’s Choice Award, Adelaide Fringe 2010 (nominee)

THE PRISONER OF WINDSOR

2011

Leicester Square Theatre

Royal Wedding satire, with music by Harvey Brough, Leicester Square Theatre, May-Jun ‘11

“The excellent Justin Butcher … erudite, sophisticated, lots of fun.” (The Spectator)

THE ROMAN BATH

2010

Gologan Productions

translation & adaptation of Bulgarian satirist Stanislav Stratiev’s 1973 classic communist-era satire, Arcola Theatre, with Gologan Productions, UK premiere, Apr-May ‘10, dir. Russell Bolam

“A sparky new version by Justin Butcher” (Michael Billington, The Guardian)
“Justin Butcher’s witty text” (Michael Coveney, The Independent)

THE SPIRE

2010

Salisbury Cathedral / Salisbury Playhouse

adaptation of William Golding’s novel, comm. by Salisbury Cathedral, Festival & Playhouse for production in 2012, Golding Centenary Year

PETER PAN

2009

PPKG Ltd

adaptation, developed for multi-media production in circus theatre tent in Kensington Gardens, summer ‘09, dir. Lucy Bailey, designed William Dudley

GO TO GAZA, DRINK THE SEA

2008

Theatro Technis

co-written with Ahmed Masoud in quick response to Dec ’08/Jan
’09 attack on Gaza Strip, designed Jane Frere, live music Nizar Al-Issa, Theatro Technis, Feb-Mar ‘09, Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh Fringe, Aug ‘09

"A deeply felt, humane and vividly expressive reaction to the current crisis."
(Michael Billington, The Guardian)

“Raw power … carries huge moral and emotional impact.” **** (The Scotsman)

“A harrowing journey into a very modern heart of darkness and a moving celebration of the human spirit.” (The Stage)

“A heartfelt tribute to the people of Gaza” (Palestine Telegraph)

“By far the most powerful example I’ve yet seen of a border-crossing theatrical mix ... An extraordinarily versatile cast ... Profane, witty, desperate and poetic – a voice from Gaza Beach itself” (Tribune)

THE RUIN OF BRITAIN

2008

Royal and Derngate Theatres

retelling of King Arthur legend, a “dream of Sir Thomas Malory”, comm. Rupert Goold & Royal & Derngate Theatres, Northampton

CHILD OF BIAFRA

2007

Contact Theatre, Manchester

co-written with Ben Okafor (see above), Contact Theatre, Manchester, Jul ‘07, with Manchester University’s “War & Our World” International Conference, working with local Nigerian community choir in Manchester

THE FIREBRAND

2006

Royal and Derngate Theatres

huge community play – original fable based on local history, comm. to celebrate reopening of Royal & Derngate Theatres, Northampton, performed in promenade by community & professional all-age cast in 5 spaces, September 2006, dir. Dani Parr

THE TRADUCERS

2005

Host Universal

satire on 2005 G8 Summit, Blair’s Commission for Africa, Live8 etc, comm. by Host Universal for Flight 5065, London Eye, dir. Steve Keyworth, Jul ‘05

THREE GOTHIC TALES

2005

Union Theatre

adaptation of HG Wells’ The Red Room, Dickens’ The Signalman & Poe’s The Tell-tale Heart for solo performance, The Sticking Place’s Season Of Terror, Union Theatre, Nov ‘05, & continuous touring of UK schools since

GUANTANAMO BAYWATCH

2004

New Players Theatre

finale to anti-war trilogy, New Players Theatre, Oct-Nov ‘04

“Hits its targets with deadly accuracy … delightful in its frighteningly plausible absurdity.” (The Evening Standard)

“The shining exception is Justin Butcher … very funny … some of the best political satire around … incisive, funny and thought-provoking.” (British Theatre Guide)

“The torch was taken up by a young Oxford-educated writer-director, Justin Butcher, who was driven by indignation about the Iraq war to stage a trio of satirical revues all based on existing works. The first of them, The Madness Of George Dubya, was easily the most successful ... Butcher shrewdly tapped into Britain’s oppositional mood and on the first night the audience cheered the play to the echo, as if relieved to hear someone say in public what they themselves believed in their hearts.”

Michael Billington, State Of The Nation – British Theatre Since 1945 (2007)

A WEAPONS INSPECTOR CALLS

2003

Theatro Technis

sequel to Madness, Theatro Technis, Dec’ 03–Jan ‘04, Pleasance London, Feb-Mar ’04, New Players Theatre, Oct-Nov ‘04

“Butcher lands blow after blow … confirms Butcher’s rare talent for blending moral anger with brute farce.” (Michael Billington, The Guardian)

“Hilarious” (The Spectator)

“Political theatre at its best” (What’s On In London)

“Lands many tough blows through song and dance … deeply unsettling … startlingly accurate.” (The Daily Telegraph)

THE MADNESS OF GEORGE DUBYA

2003

Theatro Technis

smash-hit anti-war musical satire hailed by The Guardian as catalyst for re-politicisation of British theatre, Theatro Technis, Jan-Feb ‘03, Pleasance London, Feb-Mar ‘03 & Arts Theatre, Apr-Aug ‘03, receiving global media coverage

Fringe Report Best Political Dramatist Award 2003 (winner)

“Excellent … deserves the warmest of welcomes … Aristophanic vitality and ability to keep abreast of events … the strength of Dubya lies in its ability to blend manic comedy with passionate polemic.” (Michael Billington, The Guardian)

“Song and dance numbers, witty one-liners … fantastic piss-take … way too close to the bone … the comedy and current affairs crackle along like Carry On meets Kubrick … jabs and tickles the ribs and inflames indignation too … packs a powerful punch … comedy with smart gags that hit the target.” (Time Out)

“A welcome blast of light relief … a judicious mixture of puerility and intelligence, and delivered with refreshing splashes of song and dance … this oil-black comedy scores … direct hits.” (The Daily Telegraph)

“Justin Butcher’s stealth-bomber of a show” (Independent On Sunday)

“This lively, sexy production has a gloriously distinctive bark” (Evening Standard)

BREAKING STRAIN

2003

comic update of Phaedra/Hippolytus legend, St James Cavalier Centre, Malta, Oct ‘01, Edinburgh Fringe ‘03, dir. Jamie Bower

“A modern classic: overwhelmingly intelligent … uproarious empowering of the older woman … very funny … witty, clever and comic … set[s] the stage alight and make[s] the atmosphere crackle with danger and sexual tension … as intelligent as it is hilarious.” ***** (The Scotsman)

“With an expert sense of verse and vulgarity, Butcher’s interpretation puts Liz Lochhead’s Thebans rather in the shade … genuinely sordid but always hilarious. Living proof that the Greeks will never be too old for today.” (The Daily Telegraph)

SOUL FOOD

2001

Salisbury Cathedral

THE MILLENNIUM MAN

2000

Theatre Royal, Bath

Modern re-working of Mystery Plays for Theatre Royal, Bath & Churches Together in Somerset, premiered Theatre Royal, Bath, May ‘00, then regional tour

“An unexpectedly gritty affair … extremely effective … wittily written” (Venue)

KING OF FOOLS

2000

Greenbelt Arts Festival

Post-modern commedia dell-arte style passion play, comm. & prod. for Greenbelt Arts Festival ‘94, Westminster Abbey & UK tour ‘95, UK tour ‘96, Greenbelt Arts Festival ‘98, UK tour ‘00

“This amazing production … offered something for everyone … kindness, a sense of humour, love of humanity … pain, anguish … wit, compassion and earthiness … You didn’t have to be a believer to get something from this production … its honest and imaginative portrayal of Christ’s lasy days on earth was both invigorating and entertaining.” (Oxford Times)

“Unsafe … impressive … challenging and entertaining, and imaginatively performed … compelling … See King Of Fools and take your friends.” (Church Times)

“There have been some moving passion plays in recent years … but none can surpass King Of Fools for energy, imagination and heart-rending power.” (The Tablet)

Justin Butcher's credits as a director include:

NOYE'S FLUDDE, THE STATE WE'RE IN (Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh Fringe, 2009), BLACK COMEDY, and A WINTER'S TALE (Creation Theatre Company, Oxford, 2005).

His credits as an actor include:

SCARAMOUCHE JONES (Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh Fringe '08 & UK tour, Adelaide Fringe '10, dir. Guy Masterson)

"A Superbly inventive monologue... played with electrifying energy by the show's author" The Spectator

CINDERELLA (Mr Marakovic, Unicorn Theatre, Dec '09 - Jan '10, dir Phil Porter)