Alison Carr’s new dark comedy Dogwalker to be given semi-staged reading at the SJT UPDATED

Deborah Tracey: Semi-performed reading of Alison Carr’s Dogwalker at the SJT

NEWSFLASH 3/11/2020

IN light of Lockdown 2 starting on Thursday, this week’s semi-staged readings of Alison Carr’s Dogwalker are moving from Friday and Saturday to tomorrow (4/11/2020) at 6.30pm and 8.30pm. “And we have some availability!,” says the SJT. “Your last chance to get your live theatre fix for a little while…

QUESTION. Whose testing play, The Last Quiz Night On Earth, should have been performed at a sold-out Stephen Joseph Theatre in March before you know what struck?

Answer: Alison Carr, award-winning playwright from Bishop Auckland. Good news for Alison comes next week with the November 6 and 7 semi-staged debut reading of her new play, Dogwalker, at the reopened Scarborough theatre.

Performed by Deborah Tracey in The Round at 7.30pm each night, Carr’s dark comedy forms part of a season of pared-back work that permits the SJT to operate at social distance.

In Dogwalker, Helen’s main responsibility since losing her job has been to pick up her dog Harvey’s poo. When she finds a dead body in the neighbourhood dog park, suddenly everyone is paying attention to her. At least for a little while.

Now she has had a taste of the limelight, however, Helen refuses to fade into the shadows without a fight.  

Box Of Tricks Theatre Company’s promotional picture for Alison Carr’s The Last Quiz Night On Earth

Dogwalker’s dark hue of humour should appeal to devotees of Fleabag, I May Destroy You and I Hate Suzie, as well as those who encountered Carr’s play Caterpillar, either in the SJT’s 2017 season of play readings or a full visiting production there in 2018.

Dogwalker was submitted through the SJT Open Script Submissions window and was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Playwriting. Now, the SJT is developing it for a potential run at the Edinburgh Fringe.  

Deborah Tracey has pursued a wide and varied career in television, film and on stage, last year performing in artistic director Robert Hastie’s production of Richard Hawley and former York student Chris Bush’s Standing At The Sky’s Edge at the Crucible, Sheffield.
Dogwalker is directed by the SJT’s Carne Trust associate director Chelsey Gillard. Tickets cost £10 on 01723 370541 or at 

Oh, and if you had to miss Box Of Tricks Theatre Company’s production of The Last Quiz Night On Earth in March, Carr’s immersive, innovative pre-apocalyptic comedy was aimed at theatre and pub quiz enthusiasts alike, with its promise of “a very different experience of live performance”.

The Stephen Joseph Theatre artwork for Alison Carr’s Dogwalker

Pre-apocalyptic comedy alert!! But where will The Last Quiz Night On Earth be held?

Look at the pub name! Where else could The Last Quiz Night On Earth be held? Well, Pocklington Arts Centre, actually

QUICK question. Did you see Chip Shop Chips, Box Of Tricks Theatre Company’s show at Pocklington Arts Centre last year?

Yes? So, presumably you will want know when they will be returning to Pock and what in?

The answers are Friday, March 20 in The Last Quiz Night On Earth, an immersive, innovative new play by Alison Carr for theatre devotees and pub quiz enthusiasts alike, who are promised “a very different experience of live performance”.

PAC director Janet Farmer says: “The last time Box Of Tricks visited here, they wowed and wholly entertained us with Chip Shop Chips, an immersive theatre experience that our audiences still talk about. 

“So, we can’t wait to welcome them back to the venue with their brand new show. It looks set to be an absolute blast!”

In the Box Of Tricks locker already are the award-winning Manchester company’s shows SparkPlug, Narvik and Under Three Moons. Now they follow two sold-out tours of Chip Shop Chips with Carr’s pre-apocalyptic comedy, The Last Quiz Night On Earth. 

Next question. What happens? “It’s the final countdown. Landlady Kathy invites audiences to the last quiz night on earth with Quizmaster Rav. He is the host with the most,” say Box Of Tricks.

“But with time ticking, some unexpected guests turn up out of the blue. Bobby wants to settle old scores and Fran wants one last shot at love. Expect the unexpected to the bitter end and plenty of drama as the show gets quizzical.”

Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder directs the play, with design by Katie Scott. Pub landlady Kathy will be played by Meriel Scholfield, who has appeared in Coronation Street, Last Tango In Halifax, Holby City and Doctors, while Shaban Dar will take the role of pre-apocalyptic Quizmaster Rav.

Playwright Alison Carr’s past works include Caterpillar and Iris; her latest play, Tuesday, has been commissioned for the National Theatre’s 2020 Connections programme.

Next question. Why did she write The Last Quiz Night On Earth? “I wanted to combine the known and the unknown, the safe and the downright terrifying,” she answers. 

“My vision was to create something that audiences don’t just sit and watch but are part of – but not in a scary way. 

“Personally, the thought of audience participation makes me feel sick, but a quiz is something we can all do, whether we’re a general knowledge expert or the neatest so we can do the writing.” 

The play was “so much fun to research and write,” she says. “I have to admit, I know a lot about asteroids now, and the answers to a fair amount of quiz questions. I’m so excited to have Box Of Tricks bring it to life and to share it with audiences.”

Director Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder adds: “I’m really excited to be working with Alison Carr on her first play for Box Of Tricks. 

“Alison is a writer of real talent, crafting plays of depth, wit and real emotional warmth. The Last Quiz Night On Earth is a unique piece: a pre-apocalyptic comedy bringing people together through the power of trivia for a great night out.

“Following our success touring Chip Shop Chips to the heart of communities, I’m really looking forward to revisiting some wonderful places and spaces as well as discovering new locations with this play.” 

Last questions. Pocklington show time? 7.30pm. Ticket price? £12.50, under 21s, £10, and Friends Rates. Box office number? 01759 301547. Online?