Founded by Jeff Nuttall, John Darling, Laura Gilbert and Mark Long in 1966 and performing its first show in the basement of Better Books in London's Charing Cross Road, the People Show was London's first performance art company with a "seminal role" in the evolution of British alternative theatre.
Although some People Show shows begin with scripts, these are largely just starting points for devised theatre performances by actors, musicians, poets and artists, tailored specifically to the spaces they take place in. In 1969 they staged a performance at London's Royal Court Theatre that involved inviting passers-by into a telephone box to look at some "dirty postcards", only to present them with "two sugar lumps ... coloured with red ink or, alternatively, a bra stuffed with baked beans".
From 1982 to 2013, the company was based at People Show Studios, a former church hall in Bethnal Green. People Show continues to be a nationally touring company, having produced 127 productions to date - the most recent being People Show 127: Hands Off at Toynbee Studios, Artsadmin. Hands Off proudly introduced a new generation of people Show artists and explored gaming and questioned who really was controlling the outcome. People Show Studios in Bethnal Green, London, was a vibrant creative hub for east London. The company is now based at the Brady Arts Centre in Whitechapel, London.
People Show are currently working towards their 50th Anniversary in 2016 with a series or works in preparation for this. They will shortly be working on show number 128 in a Crypt in Paddington in collaboration with students from the University of Roehampton and ALRA (Academy of Live and Recorded Arts). Shortly after that they will be embarking on creating a short film with some long standing People Show people.
- Neil, Cooper (1999-06-06). "People power". The Sunday Herald. Newsquest (Sunday Herald) Limited. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
the People Show, London's first performance art troupe co-founded by Nuttall himself in 1966
- Kershaw, Baz (1992). "The carnival of performance art". The Politics of Performance: Radical Theatre as Cultural Intervention. Routledge. p. 69. ISBN 0-415-05763-9. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
The idea nicely captures the group's seminal role in the evolution of British alternative theatre
- Calder, John (2004-01-06). "Jeff Nuttall: Artist, poet, actor, and pioneer of the 'happening'". The Independent. Independent News and Media Limited. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- Kershaw, Baz (2004). "Alternative theatres 1946-2000". In Milling, Jane; Thomson, Peter; Donohue, Joseph W.; Kershaw, Baz. The Cambridge History of British Theatre. Cambridge University Press. p. 361. ISBN 0-521-65132-8. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
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