We are Little Earthquake, a theatre company which was founded in 2005 by Co-Directors Gareth Nicholls and Philip Holyman. The two of us form the permanent core of the team, with Gareth working either as the director or as a performer, and with Philip onboard as the writer or dramaturg.

We also work with our brilliant Producer Zoë Roberts, and throughout 2017 our wonderful Administrative Intern is Vita Fox.

Day-to-day we are supported by our incredible Board of Directors. They ask us all the right questions and never tell us that our ideas are stupid. You can read more about our Board here.

For each project, we gather together a talented bunch of collaborators including artists, creatives, craftspeople, producers and specialist advisors. You can read more about the wonderful people we work with here.

We also work in partnership with adventurous promoters who help us to share our work with audiences, near and far. These supportive souls manage venues, curate festivals, lead rural touring schemes, and teach at schools and universities.

Gareth Nicholls
Gareth NichollsCo-Director
Philip Holyman
Philip HolymanCo-Director


We are a not-for-profit organisation. Much of our work funded by Arts Council England together with other partners on a project-by-project basis.


We make exciting, inclusive, high quality theatre for a wide range of audiences in a wide range of locations. Our projects marry striking visual images, evocative sound, crafted text, and engaging performances. Audiences are the most important ingredient in all we do, and we invite them to escape the ordinary and scupper their expectations. We strive to entertain, surprise, inspire and intrigue.

We’ve performed in theatre and studio spaces, shop windows, offices, factories, cinemas, heritage properties, libraries and school halls. Projects have included community events, literary adaptations, public interventions, new writing, storytelling, and collaboratively devised shows.

We run a wide-reaching participation and mentoring scheme, designed to increase our engagement with audiences,  students at all levels, emerging and established professional artists, and educators.




Work for young people and families 50%
Work suitable for rural touring 31%
Work outside theatre spaces 62%
New writing and devised work 54%
Work from the classics 31%
Participation activities 35%


We are based in Walsall, in the Black Country, which is pretty much in the middle of the UK. We make most of our work here or in nearby Birmingham before much of it tours around the UK.



We are planning projects, making shows, presenting work, and leading participation activities all year round. We usually make one major production each year, which is complimented by smaller events and projects.



We love making work through a collaborative process in which we gather interesting people around a central idea to see what happens. Sometimes, Philip begins by writing a script and we take it from there. Now and then, like in our Young Producers project, we spend lots of time with our target audience and see what they want to make. Some of our shows are structured improvisations or public interventions that rely on our audiences to help us tell the story. These are fun because each new project springs new surprises and makes us braver.

The way in which we make work is shaped by its form, content, location, the resources available, and most importantly, who we are making it for. At the centre of all these approaches is an idea of play, and a self-imposed commandment that “thou shalt not bore”.


Our blog, Rumblings, contains an ever-evolving record of our process, in the hope of opening it up to anyone who might be interested. The blog also includes articles about the independent theatre sector and other things we feel are worth sharing.


If you’re really interested in the way we work, you can join in by getting involved in one of our participation activities.


Gareth trained as an actor at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. Philip studied English and French at Oxford University and Film Studies at the University of Birmingham.

We draw inspiration from lots of people. Here are some thoughts…

Gareth loves the work of theatre makers Robert Lepage and Mike Alfreds, clowns Slava Polunin and Angela de Castro, magician Fred Kaps, and writers Nikolai Gogol and Mark Z. Danielewski.

Philip has a big thing for directors Ivo van Hove and Katie Mitchell, loves the films of Roman Polanski, is a huge fan of writers J.G. Ballard and M.R. James, and can’t get enough of anything involving Grace Jones.

An idea for a new show can be sparked by almost anything. We might come across a person, a place or an event, something with an intriguing story behind it, which we can then explore or expand. Gareth tends to work visually so it might be a single striking image that triggers things off. Philip works more with text and language; he is a big fan of starting with a title and working backwards from there. Sound is starting to play a more central role in our work and we sometimes start there, too.

From the very beginning, we spend time considering the audience we are making the show for and what their experience of this new show might be like. Wherever possible, we’ll try and get some of them involved in making the show with us.

Getting the right people in the same room at the same time helps enormously. That’s when everything starts falling into place. There is a lot of trial and error. Lots of blind alleys. Lots of letting go of popular early ideas for the greater good.

Our blog, Rumblings, contains an ever-evolving record of our process, in the hope of opening it up to anyone who might be interested. The blog also includes articles about the independent theatre sector and other things we feel are worthwhile sharing.

The Happiness Patrol was the theatre company founded by Philip Holyman. The Happiness Patrol and Little Earthquake merged in 2011. For more information, click here.

We tend to work with a regular team of collaborators, but are always interested in meeting new artists and creatives.

If you’d like to introduce yourself to us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We’ll keep CVs on record in case anything suitable comes up. You can contact us here. If you’re contacting us with a view to working with us, we ask that you’ve seen some of our work beforehand.

We often meet new collaborators, especially performers, through one of our participation activities. This is a good way of getting to know you, and a great way for you to find out firsthand how we work. You can learn more about our participation programme here.

Sometimes we’ll invite people whose work we admire to collaborate with us. Therefore, please do invite us to see projects that you’re involved in and we’ll do our best to come along. The more notice you can give us, the better!

Occasionally we put out open calls out looking for specific collaborators. To be the first to hear about these opportunities, please join our mailing list, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

We get many requests like this and although it isn’t always possible to meet in person, we’ll always do our best to help. Telling us the title of your dissertation and asking specific questions enables us to give clear and focused answers. Please contact us using this form.

You might also find our Rumblings blog a useful resource. It contains an ever-evolving record of our process, in the hope of opening it up to anyone who might be interested. The blog also includes articles about the independent theatre sector and other things we feel are worth sharing.

Unfortunately, we are unable to offer regular placements or internships, but very occasionally we are able to offer such opportunities on an ad hoc basis, and during key project periods.

Any such opportunities will be listed on our Opportunities page. To be the first to hear about these, please join our mailing list, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Unfortunately, our rehearsals are closed to the public. Occasionally we hold work-in-progress sharings which are a good way to see work as it develops, meet the team, and share your views.

To be the first to hear about these sharings, please join our mailing list, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

We run a participation programme which includes activities for a wide range of people. Please visit our Participation page for more information.

Of course! Our performers are always happy to meet audience members after performances, as are other members of the team when they are in attendance.

If you’d like to contact a member of the team, please use this form and we’ll pass on any messages.

The rights for all our work remain with Little Earthquake and, at present, we are unable to allow any reproductions of our shows. If you need any further information please contact us.

Unfortunately we don’t sell scripts, DVDs or CDs of our work. But in the future we might!