Desperate Men Theatre Company

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Desperate Men Theatre Company is a street theatre company founded by Richie Smith and Jon Beedell in 1980,[1] and is the UK's longest-running street theatre company. Now based in Bristol, England, the company aims to produce original, accessible comic theatre, and offers a variety of street animations,[2] bespoke work,[3] and creative consultancy.[4]

In 1985, Smith and Beedell appeared in Vivian Stanshall and Ki Longfellow-Stanshall's Old Profanity Showboat production of Stinkfoot, a Comic Opera. Smith played the part of Buster and Beedell played Screwy. Richard Smith reprised his role in the 1988 London production at the Bloomsbury Theatre.

Desperate Men have a history of producing work that deals with social and environmental issues, such as littering – the Rubbish Heads,[5] recycling – Eco-Pirates[6] and the bicentenary of Charles Darwin's birth – Darwin and the Dodo.[7] In 2007 they were artistic leaders on the Severn Project,[8] one of the UK's largest outdoor arts projects.

Desperate Men have also worked internationally, including in Beirut[9] and in Hong Kong.[9] They also developed a project as part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad in the South-West of England,[10] and featured in the 2014 and 2016 Wye Valley River Festivals.[11]

The name 'Desperate Men' comes from a poem by John Donne – 'Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men...'[12]


  1. ^ Commedia Dell'arte: A Handbook for Troupes By John Rudlin, Olly Crick Published by Routledge, 2001 ISBN 0-415-20408-9, 978-0-415-20408-8
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Fairy tale or horror story - join the debate | RUDI - Resource for Urban Development International". Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  4. ^ Welcome to Desperate Men – Desperate Men – Street Theatre, Outdoor Events & Commissions
  5. ^ "North Devon Journal Online |". Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Severn Project". Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  9. ^ a b "Santona Residence". Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  10. ^
  11. ^ wye valley river festival 2016 at
  12. ^ Donne, J.; Smith, A.J. (1971). The Complete English Poems. Penguin Books Limited. ISBN 9780140422092. Retrieved 2014-12-02.
  • Commedia dell'arte: A Handbook for Troupes By John Rudlin, Olly Crick. Published by Routledge, 2001. ISBN 0-415-20408-9, 978-0-415-20408-8
  • Street Theatre and Other Outdoor Performance. By Bim Mason. Published by Routledge, 1992. ISBN 0-415-07050-3, 978-0-415-07050-8
  • "In situ, European artists on the road", CARNETS DE RUE collection, editions l’Entretemps, 207 p. ISBN 2-912877-53-9