Giant Olive Theatre Company

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Giant Olive Theatre Company
The Hostess of the Inn.jpg
The Hostess of the Inn

Giant Olive Theatre Company was founded in the summer of 2008 by Artistic Director George Sallis. The company stages classical theatre, commedia dell'arte, dance, contemporary plays, comedy, new writing and has become well known for its Charles Dickens Christmas adaptations along with its bold dance projects including the GOlive Dance and Performance Festival, curated by Donald Hutera (The Times).

Hugh Bonneville is a Patron of the Company. Associate artists include Ray Shell (Starlight Express, The Lion King), Antonia Franceschi (FAME, New York City Ballet), Mark Baldwin Rambert Dance Company and Zoe Martlew.


From left to right: Hugh Bonneville, George Sallis, Antonia Franceschi, Mark Baldwin, Richard Alston, Martin Lawrence, 22 January 2011

In 2013, Giant Olive produced the inaugural GOlive Dance and Performance festival, curated by veteran arts journalist Donald Hutera, whose writing has appeared in The Times, Time Out, Dance Europe and many other publications and websites worldwide. The festival patrons were Siobhan Davies and Rosemary Butcher. Spread across 21 consecutive days, and comprising over four dozen individuals or companies, the GOlive Festival featured work by Darren Ellis, Ella Mesma, Renaud Wiser, Anusha Subramanyam, Daniel Hay-Gordon/Eleanor Perry, 70/30 Split, Shane Shambhu, Nuno Silva, Moreno Solinas, Peta Lily, The Dangerologists, Stephanie Schober, Anna Williams, Stopgap's Sg2, Angela Woodhouse, Dog Kennel Hill Project, Avatâra Ayuso, Mickael Marso Rivière, Jennifer Jackson/Susie Crow, Annie Lok, Zoi Dimitriou and Fred Gehrig amongst many others. Between them the artist involved had worked with the likes of Complicite, Richard Alston, Siobhan Davies, Shobana Jeyasingh, Russell Maliphant, The Royal Ballet, Wayne McGregor|Random Dance, Rambert Dance Company, Henri Oguike, Arthur Pita and Fiona Shaw.

In 2011, George Sallis and Antonia Franceschi teamed up to produce a Gala performance, to mark the closure of the Lion & Unicorn Theatre for refurbishment. The evening included performances choreographed by Richard Alston, Mark Baldwin, Martin Lawrence, Jonathan Goddard with poetry directed by Patsy Rodenburg, and ‘Disco’ from Giant Olive’s POP8, again featuring Ballet Black.[1]

In June 2009 Giant Olive Theatre Company produced 'POP8' with Antonia Franceschi, a new dance theatre piece incorporating a short film by Tal Rosner and Franceschi set in Kentish Town, and an additional film by Terry Braun also featuring Franceschi which was choreographed by Rambert's Mark Baldwin. Performers included Ballet Black dancers, resident at the Royal Opera House, Zoe Martlew on Cello and voiceovers from Franceschi and George Sallis directed by Patsy Rodenburg. The production was supported by Camden Council.[2] and received Critic's Choice in London's TimeOut.

The ZIP Project (Gun & Knife Crime)[edit]

Giant Olive received Time Out Critics Choice in 2010, for its Community Outreach project, 'ZIP:Gun & Knife Crime'. With the support of The Big Lottery Fund, Camden Council and Choice FM, the company ran workshops in Camden with people affected by gun and knife crime as victims or perpetrators. Working with the experiences and stories told, Giant Olive produced an original streetdance musical. The project was supported by Local MP, Rt Hon Frank Dobson, Councillor Tulip Siddiq, Councillor Abdul Hai and Chief Superintendent Neil Wilson.

The Gaea Theatre Festival[edit]

The Gaea Theatre Festival celebrates international women playwrights, performers, directors and designers and was launched by Giant Olive in August 2011. The festival received 7 award nominations from the Theatre Awards and Time Out Critic's Choice for Caroline Horton's 'I'll Show You Mine'.

Little Olives[edit]

Little Olives is Giant Olive's children's theatre company.


  • 2015 JUST DANCE UK Premiere. Produced by AFD/Giant Olive at the Theatre Royal Winchester, Choreography by Antonia Franceschi, featuring performers from the Royal Ballet, Rambert, Ballet Black and Random Dance [3]
  • 2013-2015 GOlive Dance and Performance Festival, Curated by Donald Hutera [4]
  • 2011 AN EXPERIMENT WITH AN AIR PUMP, Shelagh Stephenson, Directed by Liisa Smith,[5]
  • 2011 I'LL SHOW YOU MINE, Adapted and Performed by Caroline Horton, Produced by Giant Olive Theatre Company[6]
  • 2011 BEAUTY IS PRISON-TIME, Written and Performed by Zoe Mavroudi,[7]
  • 2011 TOM JONES, Henry Fielding, Directed by Edward Kingham,[8]
  • 2011 GO GALA, George Sallis (GO Artistic Director), Antonia Franceschi (GO Artistic Advisor), Mark Baldwin (Artistic Director, Rambert), Richard Alston (Artistic Director, The Place), Martin Lawrence (Choreographer) [9]
  • 2010-11 A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Charles Dickens[10]
  • 2010 ZIP:Gun & Knife Crime, Produced by George Sallis.
  • 2009-10 OLIVER TWIST, Charles Dickens, Adapted by Piers Beckley, Directed by Ray Shell[11]
  • 2009-10 SUPERNATURAL, Written by Aline Waites and Jago Turner, Directed by Mykal Rand[12]
  • 2009 KITTY AND DAMNATION, Written by Joseph Crilly[13]
  • 2009 POP8 with Antonia Franceschi, Zoë Martlew and Ballet Black[14]
  • 2009 GETTING OUT, Sarah Henley, Directed by Francis Watson and Gillian Foley[15]
  • 2009 DARK TALES, Hans Christian Andersen[16]
  • 2008-09 A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Charles Dickens, Adapted by Piers Beckley[17]
  • 2008 THE HOSTESS OF THE INN, Carlo Goldoni, Translated & adapted by Katherine Gregor, Directed by Alex Hunter[18]
  • 2008 ANTIGONE, Sophocles[19]
  • 2008 ADULT ORGASM, Dario Fo and Franka Rame[20]
  • 2008 THE WOULD BE GENTLEMAN, Molière, Directed by Alex Hunter[21]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Nominations for the Theatre Awards:

Most Promising New Playwright for Beauty Is Prison-Time

Best Female Performer for Beauty Is Prison-Time

Best Director for Beauty Is Prison-Time

Best Female Performer for I'll Show You Mine

Best Director for I'll Show You Mine

Best Female Performer for Nine

Best Male Performer for Not About Heroes

Giant Olive team[edit]

The Giant Olive team

  • Group Artistic Director George Sallis
  • Artistic Associate Tamzin Paskins

The Giant Olive patron

Production team

  • Head of Technical Department Ciaran Cunningham

Advisors Artistic Advisor Donald Hutera


  1. ^ 28 January 2011
  2. ^
  3. ^ Theatre Royal Winchester listing published 1 February 2015
  4. ^ [1] published 3 September 2013
  5. ^ Review in The Stage published 24 October 2011
  6. ^ CRITICS CHOICE Review by Whats On Stage published 16 August 2011
  7. ^ Review Whats On Stage published 4 August 2011
  8. ^ Review in Time Out published 31 May 2011
  9. ^ published 28 January 2011
  10. ^ published 20 December 2010
  11. ^ Review in Time Out published 21 December 2009
  12. ^ Review in The Stage published 27 November 2009
  13. ^ Review in The Stage published 14 August 2009
  14. ^ Listing in TimeOut Critics Choice 07/09
  15. ^ Review in The Stage published 22 April 2009
  16. ^ Review in The Stage published 27 March 2009
  17. ^ Review in The Stage published 30 December 2008
  18. ^ Review in The Stage published 21 November 2008
  19. ^ Review in The Stage published 15 September 2008
  20. ^ Listing in Remotegoat
  21. ^ Mentioned in article in Whats On Stage published 13 October 2008