Nick Field

Work Play

Theatre maker Nick Field leads us into the battlefields of work, played out through power struggles over stationery and wars sparked by cupcakes, in this inventive, provocative and hilarious new show. Available for touring from November 2016.


Work Play explores the games we play at work, and why we play them. It makes the tiniest office incidents into the biggest things in the world, it makes desks into epic battlegrounds and stationary cupboards into coveted treasure chambers. It asks why we so willingly become embroiled in mi- nuscule intrigues blown up to medieval court proportions in the workplace, when all we really need to do is get paid. It pitches the personal implications of this against a political context in which the increasing loss of workplace stability and rights crank up the imperative.

Work Play uses sharp observations from first hand experience of working in an eccentric, hilariously dysfunctional and archaic institution fighting a losing battle to survive in a hostile and shifting landscape. It locks us in a world where the paper type of A4 envelopes becomes explosively controversial, where malicious, Chinese-whisper gossip lubricates the engine and a gifted box of cupcakes between colleagues is treated as an act of war. Multimedia and interactive, this show leads the audience through surreal encounters with workplace politics, plays with ideas of scale both physical and conceptual, and draws them into games that mirror, subvert and parody those we’ve all played at work. Work Play features searing, soaring storytelling, sharp-eyed comedy performance, live music and participatory games that sit somewhere on a sliding scale between Guess Who? and Gladiator.

Watch the venue information video

Find out how cupcakes become war

Directed by Rebecca Atkinson-Lord

Developed in collaboration with Rachel Mars

Commissioned by Harlow Playhouse, developed with support from House Theatre, Ovalhouse, The Garage & Apples and Snakes with funding from Arts Council England


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