SHOW OF STRENGTH – Stays Strong In A Pandemic

Crimes and Crinolines in Clifton, our new Theatre Walk completely sold out October to December 2020

Our THEATRE WALKS change the face of cities — FRANKENSTEIN IN BATH led to a plaque in Abbey Churchyard to Mary Shelley [] »

THEATRE WALKS are back in 2021 — with two new shows coming to fresh parts of Bristol

TRADING LOCAL puts live theatre in independent high street shops – here’s Jack Price’s lovely film about it:

And here’s Mary Portas enjoying us in Ashton Fruit Shop:

The rest is History – with Herstory as often as possible

  • Founded Bedminster, Bristol in 1986 and no intention of moving
  • Created 3 informal, intimate, accessible NEW Bristol venues including the Hen & Chicken (1989) & Tobacco Factory (1998).
  • Worked with Sandi Toksvig, Mark Ravenhill, Mustapha Matura, Catherine Johnson, Alan Dossor, Stephanie Cole, Peter Nichols, Moira Buffini and more.
  • Managed partnerships & produced new work with Exeter Northcott, Plymouth Theatre Royal, Cheltenham Everyman, Travelling Light, Artspace Lifespace, Circomedia, Bristol Old Vic, M Shed, Closer Each Day, English Heritage Schools (2021), Local Learning (2021) and more.
  • Awards include Best of Bristol 2018: Theatre from Bristol24/7, Best Live Performance Creative Bath Awards, Society of London Theatre Producers Bursary, Guinness/Royal National Theatre, London Weekend Television Plays On Stage
  • Committed to accessible new work in informal non theatre spaces indoors and outdoors
  • We tell forgotten stories that need telling including 18th century Bristol engineer SARAH GUPPY


‘uncanny, macabre, cracking script, consummate performer‘ — Bristol Life Magazine
‘best walking tour I’ve ever done’ — @WeirdBristol on Twitter


‘I have attended three walks in Bath and this is the best. Well researched with less known information.’ — Trip Advisor
‘Captivated from the very first moment! Now want to do all the company’s tours as this was incredible.’ — Trip Advisor


‘truly remarkable… inspiring and witty homage to someone who deserves a far more central place in Bristol’s – and Britain’s – commercial and industrial history.’ — Bristol24/7
‘congratulations on a marvellous production, I was enthralled from beginning to end. Good for you for giving her a voice and a story.’ — Helen Taylor, Emeritus Professor of English, University of Exeter


’thrilling… gurgles with life’ – Lyn Gardner in The Guardian
‘totally fab… We LOVED it … wonderfully theatrical…totally nailed the story… richly Bristolian without being a provincial in-joke… iconic’ — Audience member


‘a joyous piece of theatre: Show of Strength have delivered a magnificent Fanny’ — Venue 5 stars
‘Brill theatre… what a great evening’ — Sheila Dillon, presenter Radio 4’s Food Programme


‘an exhilarating odyssey… vivid, accessible theatre, creatively walking the streets founded on the cruelly traded’ — Guardian 4*

Creative Producer/Company Secretary: Sheila Hannon
Board of Directors/Trustees: Marion Cockcroft, Dr Madge Dresser, Vic Ecclestone, Kellie Hasbury, Simon Partridge, Lynda Rooke (Equity Vice President), Chris Ryde (Chair), Bob Whyatt
Associate Producer: Julien Weston
Registered Charity 1067886 Limited Company 02889027
Registered Office 74 Chessel Street, Bedminster, Bristol BS3 3DN
Twitter @showofstrength Instagram @showofstrengthtc Facebook /showofstrength

The SOS Mission

Founded in Bristol in 1986, Show Of Strength is a professional theatre company. SOS has three key strategic aims:

  1. To commission and produce new theatre that engages and involves the diverse communities of Bristol and South West England
  2. To identify, encourage and showcase new and emerging playwrights from Bristol and the South West of England
  3. To use spaces and venues that are not normally used for theatre to encourage diverse and engaged audiences.

These core aims are underpinned by the following objectives:

  • Working with individuals and communities to develop new writing by new writers.
  • Working with professional writers to encourage and develop the work of less experienced writers.
  • Creating work opportunities for South West theatre professionals, particularly actors and writers, through our programmes of work.
  • Developing theatre for people that is performed in non-theatre settings (shops, community venues and high streets) and free to access.
  • Developing theatre by and for people that encourages interaction and pride of place for the community (through outdoor theatre and theatre in retail units and high streets).
  • Working with cultural providers, the business sector, and other regional partners to maximise the reach and impact of the Show of Strength experience.
  • Strengthening the Show of Strength brand and developing innovative partnerships through association with major Bristol, regional and, where appropriate, national and international activities.
  • Taking our work and developing new work in other cities and towns in the south west.
  • Providing value through low core costs so funding investment is used for high quality production rather than office and core staff costs.

Through these aims and objectives we serve our mission goals:

  • Engage with the ‘genus loci’ of the areas we work in, our writers create local stories about local people for local people – and performed by locally based theatre professionals.
  • Develop, find and promote intimate, unusual and accessible performance spaces and areas for theatre that’s “close enough to touch”.
  • Engage with the public, producing cutting edge theatre that audiences return to again and again.
  • Provide workshops and performances that are free for participants and audiences with completely open access.
  • Develop and produce highly accessible material, much of it by non-professionals and first time writers.
  • Combine work by established writers with national and international profiles alongside work by non professional and first time writers developed in our free workshops.
  • Respond to invitations to work with other professional arts providers.