tess young company


Barrel Organ and English Touring Theatre are making an adaptation of the classic novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, due to tour nationally in 2021/22, and we need your help to make it. 


The book is about a 16 year old girl called Tess from a working-class family, who has little control over what happens to her. At a time when a global situation has stripped young people of opportunity & freedom, we want to give you, a group of 21st century young people, the opportunity to reinvent a story written by a 19th century man. To create an empowered Tess, transforming her tragedy into something new. Together, we will go on a journey to find out who Tess could be outside the story Hardy gives her. 


Guided by your ideas, we will build the show from the ground up for the new world post COVID-19, and aim to make something which you would all want to see. We are committed to workshopping this show with young people (between ages of 16-22, mirroring Tess’ age in the book) from all different parts of the country. Our aim is that these workshops are a fun, safe place to explore ideas and have your opinions heard.


Our idea is a series of online workshops with the director (Ali Pidlsey) and writer (Rosie Gray) over an initial 8 week period from November 2020.  


What we are looking for: 

  • Motivated, passionate individuals up for reinventing what theatre can be post covid

  • Young people wanting to pursue a career in theatre or the arts, but feel there are barriers preventing them from doing this

  • People interested in the creative process - writing, directing, conception of an idea 


Our offer to you is: 

  • A chance to work with a professional company at the workshopping stage of a process

  • The opportunity to become part of a small nationwide company of young makers

  • A fee of £75 per session 

  • An opportunity to come into the rehearsal room and watch your ideas come to life 

  • An opportunity to workshop your own piece of work as a company


Further requirements: 

  • You must be willing to commit to sessions once a week for 8 weeks from November 2020.

  • You do not need to have read Tess of the D’Urbervilles to apply

  • You must be 16 - 22

How to apply: 

If you fit the above requirements to apply then please answer the following question: 

  • Tell us about the last time someone or something inspired you

  • Tell us why you want to be involved in this project


You can send us this information via a short voice note or video application to ellie@barrelorgantheatre.co.uk via email, vimeo link or wetransfer by 12pm on Friday 16th October 2020. If you have issues sending your application please do not hesitate to contact us. 

Website photos credited to Aenne Pallasca, Anthony Robling & Leeds Playhouse, Richard Davenport, Joe Twigg & Barrel Organ