Scratch Night At Exeter Phoenix

Scratch Night

Following the success of our Scratch Nights in 2022 and 2023, we are offering artists the opportunity to take their new ideas a little bit further with support for their performance development. In 2024 we will be delivering three Scratch Nights; the first took place in January, and the next one is scheduled for Monday 13th May, with the final Scratch date in October.

The successful applicants will receive a rehearsal space, the opportunity to perform their work in front of an audience and £150 to support their practice, which they can use however supports them best.

What comes before Scratch? The itch, of course! Find out more about Little Scratch here >>

MAY's Scratch Artists

'Bye Bye Baby' with a pen drawing of two people

On The Brink: Bye Bye Baby 

Heartbreak. Hypocrisy. Hamsters. Julia and Dan’s marriage is on the rocks. Well, more than on the rocks. They’re getting divorced. Amicably. For now. But when their lawyers step in, tensions and temperatures rise to breaking point. A dark comedy that delves into the complicated dynamics of a young marriage dashed by betrayal… and paperwork. With the lawyers holding a microscope to their relationship, boundaries are crossed and hidden characteristics are revealed. How well do you know the person sleeping next to you and does their lawyer know them better?

A man playing the guitar

Declan Duffy: Call Yourself An Irishman?! 

You’re born in one country. But your parents come from a different one. So what does that make you? What if the two countries in question share a profound and complex history, one of conquest and subjugation, of resistance and rebellion? But which happen to be closest neighbours across the Irish Sea, and have grown to a mutual understanding, and (a sometimes uneasy) co-existence?

Join Declan Duffy as he attempts to make some good sense out of it all. He’ll be considering the history of Irish migration to Britain, the difficulties encountered by the people who made that journey, and how all of it has influenced us, their descendants, in our consideration of who we are, what we are. There’ll be some songs, of course there will. Maybe a laugh, too. And we’ll attempt to answer the vexed question of how many boxes you technically have to tick in order to confidently state: “I am Irish (sort of)”.

A man on stage with colourful projections over him

Rob Pybus: Dinner With Dallog

Comedy performer and illustrator Rob Pybus is excited to share his tongue-in-cheek take on immersive storytelling, using the medium of animation, projection and his other main prop – his body. Dinner with Dallog is a work in progress show that follows the exploits of his time on the dating scene in London, looking for companionship amongst his busy life working in the city. Immersing himself into the animated backdrop he’s made ( to avoid the cost of building a stage set! ), he hopes to deliver some memorable moments of delight and peril, and in places leaning on the audience for assistance in what to do next within the story. Can he win the heart of Dallog? Come and see!

Fruitful Productions logo

Fruitful Productions: Sparks

Consisting of budding queer artists, writers and performers, Fruitful Productions aims to showcase own-voices queer representation. Our work is informed by honest stories depicting affirming representation we rarely get to see in mainstream media, whilst exploring themes from different financial and cultural backgrounds alongside. We all share the ambition to promote informed queer stories and help the LGBTQ+ community feel accepted through theatre, whilst showcasing human struggles and emotion alongside strong friendships, through theatre that is relatable, funny and emotional.

With our debut production 'Cherry' being taken to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August, 'Sparks' is a new work in progress, following the stories of a series of queer characters. It aims to showcase the aromantic and asexual experience within a world that centres around relationships. With an aro/ace main character and her non-binary/lesbian housemate, the show explores the emotions surrounding the person closest to you finding a partner in a world where you can't believe you ever will.

JANUARY's Scratch Artists

A pencil and watercolour drawing of the back of a girl sat down

Nia Powell: Tears of Joy

Tears of Joy follows three women (a Daughter, Mother, Grandmother) as they negotiate the ebbs and flows of motherhood, grief and intergenerational care. It is based on losing a close relative and friend and how we can produce something for their legacy and memory. Containing music and poetry it ebbs and flows like the sea.

Taking the form of an extended memoir poem that interweaves realism and performance art through
lyrical interludes. The mental health of the mother is interrogated whilst the Daughter undergoes severe health problems. Written with expression of care and support through a struggling mother, daughter and grandmother and their endless intergenerational giving. It touches on my south west heritage and the importance of this engrained self and I believe it is invaluable to see work that reflects smaller, rural and often forgotten communities.

'The First Men in the Moon'

Mark Jardine: The First Men in The Moon

Follow Bedford and Professor Cavor as they take a giant leap and boldly go where no men have gone before.

This extract from The First Men in the Moon by HG Wells, is a solo stage adaptation of the classic adventure novel brought to life by Devon based actor Mark Jardine. Previous solo performances by Mark include How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won the FA Cup which ran at the Gilded Balloon at the Edinburgh Festival: ‘Honest, straightforward, imaginative and a pleasure to be at’ **** Fringe

A dance group

The MTS Company: ‘Its Just Walking’

The recently formed MTs Company is a group of amateur adult dancers who were brought together by the joy of movement and a need to get out and socialise with like-minded people. Their performance, “It’s Just Walking”, is an experimental showcase of one person’s lonely struggle to overcome the powerful emotions and physical challenges created by a rediscovery of a love of dance after a 20 year absence from it. It is the tale of how this struggle unexpectedly brought together a group of people from all walks of life and cultures, sharing in the magic and expressive release of dance. “It’s Just Walking” is a metaphor for this journey both together and individually. We are proof that the power of dance can unite, bring joy and ultimately spark a shared passion and love for the magic of movement.




Spot on the Ceiling Productions: SOS

When Dexter first started writing his script, he only wanted to show it to one person. It was supposed to act as a letter of love and support for his best friend who had given up hope on the other side of the planet. SOS is a true story about two lost souls searching for answers and how, occasionally you just don’t have enough time to find them. Telling this story was all he could do to reach out, but by the time it was finished, it was too late. And after months of trying to defuse a ticking time-bomb, he found himself dangling over a smouldering crater of grief with only one lifeline: he knew that his story could help others from falling into the same pit. Armed with a knack for finding levity in the macabre, he joins forces with a director and sets out to spread a simple message- you are not alone.

OCTOBER's Scratch Artists

Scratch Image

Ghost Light Productions – Exposure: A New Ghost Story

Therapists are supposed to help aren’t they? After a troubling series of events, Jules visits Simone, a unique therapist highly recommended by her mother. In order to help decipher Jules’ problems, Simone decides to try a new type of treatment using live video recording. Unfortunately, Simone is unaware of the fact that Jules believes she is being haunted. But as things start going amiss and the camera starts to glitch, maybe Jules’ theory might not be entirely wrong…

STORIES EP scratch image square
Promo no text

Mattie Konig – Cleft in Twain: A Dispatch from Doggerland

“Cleft In Twain: A Dispatch from Doggerland” is the latest outburst from multi-disciplinary autist Mattie Konig (she/her), and the latest stage of a wider multimedia project that has been in the works since 2019. This Menippean slop of video, audio and still imagery invites you to consider if life on another Earth would really be any better than our own – and if bridging the gap between the two would really make things better for either of us. [Note: autist/artist pun intentional!]


Tash & Friends – STORIES, or How to Lift a Family Curse

STORIES, or How To Lift A Family Curse is a oneperson documentary play that tells the true story of a family living in Devon, some of whom believe in the existence of a generational curse. It is also the story of the playwright’s own experience as a new migrant, who finds herself entangled in the family’s story while also trying to navigate the landscape of her new home. Weaving in stories of her own family in Indonesia and Aotearoa New Zealand into this distinctly West Country tale, STORIES is an exploration of what it means to be part of a family, told through storytelling, recorded interviews, and archival material.

Four of Swords – The Magical Screentest of Isobel Jeffery

When Isobel was 12 years old, she suffered a series of epileptic fits which left parts of her brain damaged which were crucial to speaking and reading. Ironically perhaps given these difficulties, Isobel has grown up with a burning passion for story-telling, theatre and film, and a desperate desire to be an actor. She also has one of the wackiest and brilliant imaginations ever! This show is the true story of how Isobel has dedicated herself to following her dream, conquering speech therapy and developing all kinds of innovative strategies. It is punctuated by skits and sketches co-written by Isobel and Philip Kingslan John from Four of Swords.

MAy's Scratch Artists

Comedy headshot

Eliza Fraser

Flying back from an unknown place, a woman reflects on the past few years of her life; what's driven her to this point and the duty she feels in having to return after a horrific event. Using the idea of airline safety announcements and people's response to them, as outline for what's going on within the story, this show explores how prevalent stalking is in the UK and how victims feel unheard and untrusted to the point of not trusting themselves until, sometimes, it's too late.


A Press of Suspects

The Willtordian Ballorian Edwardian Experience ft Murph

Willtordian is a human male, a musical comedian, a father of 2, a married man and a joyful fool. He creates aural journeys with his collection of 80’s Casio Synths, loop pedals and FX units. Song themes range from Parenting, Mindful Activities (of a dubious nature), Clubbing in your 40’s and the odd Advert. He also likes a good quiz. And chaos. He will be joined by his musical accompanist “Murph” - a fella he found online whilst trying to get his tumble dryer fixed. Murph has never spoken but can play a mean guitar/fiddle/bass/straight man.

in memorium


In Memoriam

Graham Stephen Woodman is a grandad from nowhere. Or was. “In Memoriam” invites you inside the lives of the Woodman family the morning of Graham’s funeral - a time for the family to mourn in peace together and reflect on the loss of their loved one.

WRONG! From a troublesome Priest, to a mystery guest and a very very late hearse, you can expect family fallouts, secret affairs and LOTS of chaos. Come and watch this DEAD serious comedy to witness a mournful day quickly turn very, very sour….

February's Scratch Artists

South West Dance Hub

South West Dance Hub

Acceptably Human

This piece of contemporary dance theatre explores the concepts of acceptable social movement. How do we move to navigate the urban landscape and people around us? How do social conventions influence our patterns and behaviour?

The dancers are disengaged in abstract conversations, navigating their own pathways yet at times connecting through chance encounters.

‘Acceptably Human’ explores the tipping point when we are compelled to move outside of conventional forms. Devised by Ruth Bell alongside SWDH dancers, the choreography begins with gestural movement taken from the dancer's own expressions around the question, ‘How would your life be without restrictions, self or superimposed?’

Image: South West Theatre Photography


Charlie Coldfield


Frank is attempting to bring the dodo back from extinction in his garden shed. With him is his daughter Dorothy, nicknamed Dodo, although she may or may not be actually there. The great storm of 1987 is brewing and Frank needs to harness the energy of the lightning to bring his makeshift dodo to life. Featuring original songs, it’s a story of longing, regret and quite interesting, possibly true facts about the dodo.

Micha Columbo

Micha Colombo

The show that still needs writing.

An exclusive sharing of brand new writing so fresh it squeaks. It might be about climate change, it might be about feminist rage, it might be just me standing on a stage but there WILL be words on the page. Can't promise if you'll laugh or cry, but hey, maybe you'll have a nice time and you get to tell me your thoughts.  Come join me, writer-performer Micha Colombo as I share a new piece of spoken word performance in its absolute infancy. Because that's what scratch is all about, right?

'I think we will stay'

Sneaky Beast

Bodies (working title)

Two performers, each dressed, head to toe in brightly coloured pom-pom-suits. Behind them, the projected images of news stories and ‘debates’ on their bodies. A ‘conversation’, one side completely silent.

Through this highly visual, compelling immersive performance Sneaky Beast explore what our bodies mean to us and the feeling of home we can create and find within them. It deals with themes of visibility/invisibility, unspoken connection and finding yourself. This performance will give people the space to look inward and reflect on their own journeys and the joy that is to come. A quietly beautiful love story, not just about finding love in someone else, but also finding a love and peace in your own body.

A painting of ancient ruins

Alasdair Wallace

(S)he Who Delights

Alasdair Wallace (they/he) takes the audience to Crete at the beginning of recorded history. This deeply personal retelling of the myth of Iphis and Ianthe is about growing up knowing that you’re different. It’s about having to hide who you are to survive. It’s about that first horrible crush. And it is, to an extent, about being stranded in Swansea before the first day of the rest of your life.

Alasdair is a Bristol-based comedian and storyteller (alright, with a day job too). They are also a trans man, which informs rather a lot of this work. (S)he Who Delights may form part of a planned full show about navigating puberty with adult responsibilities, or it might turn out to be a completely different thing altogether.

Painting by David Roberts