Posts Tagged: Russell Bolam


2015 was one of my best years yet.

It began with POLITRIX, with the amazing The Big House, a company of care leavers. In the run up to the May election, Politrix was a sort-of verbatim play about the political life of care-leavers inspired by real stories from the cast, and a surreal visit to the Houses of Parliament.

“These people who we want to listen, I don’t think we ever get to see them… these people hide.”

  • From POLITRIX, The Big House. Photo: Catherine Ashmore.


Directed by genius Maggie Norris, Politrix was an extraordinary experience for me. Read my reflections on the process here:

Then came ACROSS THE DARK WATER, a ‘contemporary’ historical play about the Southampton Plot to kill Henry V. It was produced by The Berry and The Point in Eastleigh, directed by the uncannily brilliant Owen Calvert-Lyons, and was performed in amazing and atmospheric locations all over Hampshire, including Portchester Castle and St Julien’s Chapel, Southampton.
I loved doing this play, with a fantastic cast and creative team. It’s really got me excited about history, and writing about history. Here’s a trailer for the play:

If you missed the live performances, the play was also filmed rather brilliantly. Here’s the first episode:

Finally, the end of the year saw the premiere of my play CRUSHED SHELLS AND MUD. Perhaps of all my plays, this is the one I love the most, and I was delighted with a fabulous, rich, brilliantly-performed and realised production, directed with visionary aplomb by Russell Bolam.


  • @ Jack Sain, 2015
  • @ Jack Sain, 2015
  • @ Jack Sain, 2015
  • @ Jack Sain, 2015
  • @ Jack Sain, 2015

And I’m proud to say that Nick Hern Books also published the playtext.

Here’s the Crushed Shells trailer:

If you were able to make it to something this year, thank you for coming, and hope you enjoyed yourself. There’s more in the pipeline for 2016 – watch this space!

And many many thanks to all those gifted and generous people I’ve worked with this year. Too many to mention (but do please explore the other pages on the site for more about the plays and the teams behind them).

Happy new year!

Last week of Crushed Shells and Mud.

  • @ Jack Sain, 2015
  • @ Jack Sain, 2015
  • @ Jack Sain, 2015
  • @ Jack Sain, 2015
  • @ Jack Sain, 2015
  • @ Jack Sain, 2015
  • @ Jack Sain, 2015

There’s only a week left to catch CRUSHED SHELLS AND MUD at the Southwark Playhouse.

I’m so proud of the show. Incredible performances by all of our astounding cast – ALEX LAWTHER, HANNAH BRITLAND, ALEXANDER ARNOLD, SIMON LENAGAN, LAURA HOWARD, CLARE ALMOND. Stunning realised by a top-notch creative team headed by the fantastic RUSSELL

Here are some of the things that have been said about the play (I’ve selected things that focus on the writing, but there’s an abundance of praise for the outstanding, award-nominated performances and production to be found elsewhere).

Musgrave writes so beautifully: these intricate, intimate moments – psychological dances of persuasion, rivalry and cruelty. (whatsonstage)
‘Teen spirit in the apocalypse… A sensitive portrait of a teenage love triangle…Russell Bolam’s pensive production, with a strikingly rickety design by Ellan Parry, highlights the writing’s strengths. There’s much to admire in the performances, too’ (Evening Standard) 
‘The imagery is haunting, the performances are top class and the progression of the play always keeps us enthralled’. (
‘A heartwarming and heart wrenching portrayal of teenage relationships.’ (Exeunt Magazine).
‘4*s’ (Westend Wilma)
‘4*- ‘this play is infectious… troubling but thrilling …a performance that will stick with you’ (auditorium
And there’s lots on twitter (from people I don’t know!) including:
‘Can’t stop thinking about #CrushedShellsSP @swkplay last night. A captivating and compassionate play with a stellar cast! Go and see it
‘Gripping, charismatic, heartfelt writing, elegantly played by a vibrant cast – 5*’
‘Intimate and eerie, storytelling at its finest, #CrushedShellsSP @swkplay enchanting set and courageous acting from all. Go see!’
‘Crushed Shells & Mud at @swkplay had me on the edge of my seat. Incredible acting and the 2 hours flew by. Intriguing, dark and haunting.’