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Person Spec is not a theatre show. It is a recruitment event. And the audience must interview and appraise the evening’s exciting new candidate for an unspecified work opportunity.

Jack, our candidate, can feel himself on the precipice of this new job, and his new life. He’s more than ready to jump to get it.

Fortunately for him, the Zantro Recruitment Representatives (the audience) are there to help.

Person Spec is a show that playfully flips its audience’s expectations, empowering the audience to have an active and complicit role in Jack’s success or failure.

However, as the interview continues, the exercises become increasingly surreal and exacting.  As Jack perseveres, the interview’s real metrics emerge, with the crowd as its witness.

But whatever happens, Jack needs this job.

Audience Feedback

“Very acute satire of the workplace”

“VERY BUSINESS!”

“I completely succeeded in evaluating all Jack’s qualities and capacities.”

“The dancing was hilarious.”

“Full marks for trying [feedback for Jack not the show]”

A SHOW FOR NOW

In the last year the UK has moved through an explosion of unemployment and underemployment, with thousands furloughed or laid-off over night. For others, work has literally merged with home life in a sudden change seems likely to endure for many.

For many places of the country, this turbulence has arrived on the back of a decade of austerity, wage stagnation and erosion of skilled jobs. Compounded with the effects Brexit and the approach of work-automation, the future of work is more than a little daunting.

Person Spec is a place to continue meaningful and broad conversations about the re-framing and re-negotiating of what work means to us, as individuals and as a society.

Supported by:

Forest Sounds Theatre make performances that use a live event to explore political and social contexts. We’re interested in how we treat others, and how we treat ourselves. 

Forest Sounds began in 2015 as a Resident Company at Theatre Deli in Sheffield, and the company has since shown work at Alphabetti, artsdepot, Hull Truck, DINA, DNweekeND, UnShut Festival, Format Festival, Royal Central School of Speech & Drama, Wardrobe Theatre, Rebuild Festival and the Edinburgh Fringe. 

Our work has been written about in The Stage, The Quietus, State of the Arts, RMC Media and Now Then Magazine.

Our shows are all boldly experimental, and foster a sense of the unknown wherever they take place – from auditoriums to phone boxes or shop-fronts. Our  shows place an audience in the centre of a surreal world that slowly opens up around them.

People often say that Forest Sounds’s work is funny, raucous, and surreal. For us as artists, it’s just about playing with the conventions of a social event. We want to turn audiences into collaborators, and co-conspirators.

As part of this, we aims for widespread popularity with the work. It’s our mission to win people over. We want to share our work with all people, especially those who think experimental contemporary theatre isn’t for them. It helps that we really like making people laugh.

“We have worked with Forest Sounds Theatre for several years and do not hesitate to recommend them and their work to any interested venue. Each piece has managed to be a thought provoking exploration of its themes at the same time as being engaging, emotive, accessible and warm – a genuinely marvellous achievement.

Audience feedback has never been short of glowing and the experience from start to finish has always been of the highest quality.”

Sara Hill
Programmer Producer, Theatre Deli

“I am really excited about Forest Sounds latest project – Person Spec. The company is made up of incredible artists who are extremely skilled and generous, they are a constant joy. They have a good reputation in the north of England and are beginning to gain a national presence. …Person Spec is such an important piece of work and is crucial to our society – Forest Sounds are the company to make it.”

Ali Pritchard
Artistic / Executive Director
Alphabetti Theatre

Press: THE CHURCH OF JIM

★★★★★ “weird, wonderful and somewhat outrageous … with a genuine intention for positivity and community … from terrifying and bizarre, to beautiful and hypnotic.”
– State of the Arts

★★★★ “It felt a bit like an hour and half of a warm cuddle, I don’t remember the last time I laughed so hard. Lovely experience of what it feels to have and explore faith of any kind, as well as a brief insight into persecutions some face.”
– Amanda Munro, artsdepot

Venues North Edinburgh Guide Recommendation
ARC Edinburgh Recommendation
Third Angel & FLIM NITE Edinburgh Recommendation

Press: A PARTY AFTER THE END OF THE WORLD

“I found myself in a room full of almost strangers, giddy with the possibility of positive human interaction, and a new understanding that this work so subtly and cleverly has highlighted our separateness and brought us all together.”
– State of the Arts

“If the whole night was an exercise in melting the social anxiety of a large group of strangers, then it worked as well as any drug – we could have known each other for a decade rather than an hour … We were more than active participants in the experience, we were the experience.”
– The Quietus  

I found it hard to join in with the ending as I was so astounded by how clever it was. …It is this sort of writing, that experiments with the roles of the audience and inanimate objects that only comes from a very talented and imaginative writer such as Andy.”
-RMC Media

Press: DID YOU CALL THE POLICE?

“Forest Sounds … break spine-bristling new ground … demonstrating that immersive theatre still retains the power to shock your socks off”
– The Stage

“It was an intense experience that combined lighting effects, recordings, live action and brilliant audience control to produce a work that was tense and exciting to be a part of whilst making and inviting intelligent political and social comment. If you see a police officer wandering around the building, follow him.”
– Now Then

The Person Spec Team:

Alfie Heffer

Alfie trained at Dartington College of Arts and has worked for seven years as a deviser & participation producer. He has directed with Under The Stars, an arts charity working with adults with learning disabilities. Alfie is also a Participation Producer at Site Gallery and is a regular collaborator (participation) with Forced Entertainment.

Inés Collado

Ines trained in Madrid with Grumelot Compañía and Estudio Juan Codina. She graduated in BA (Hons) Drama at QMUL and MA Advanced Theatre Practice at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. She has worked as an actor and performer with Grumelot in [El Aquiles] (2015) and [Un cine arde y diez personas arden] (2015-2016) at Nave73 and Umbral de Primavera (Madrid). She debuted as a director and writer with [TRAINS] at Chats Palace (London) and Festival IMPARABLES (2019, Madrid).

Olga Hernández

Olga has trained in the drama school Nave 73 (Madrid) and she moved to London to continue her studies with Brigid Panet. She has worked as assistant director for José Padilla (Madrid), Fourth Monkey (London) or La dalia negra (Madrid) and others. As an actor she debuted in the International festival of Almagro Off and continued working with the company Producciones Kepler for 4 years. She debuted as a director in Festival Imparables (2019).

Andy Owen Cook

Andy was born in Sheffield and has made work for Hull Truck, Camden People’s Theatre, Glasgow School of Art, Leeds School of Art, Northern School of Dance, Royal Northern College of Music, and elsewhere.

 His writing has been published by New Fire Tree Press, Wordlife Anthology, Black & BLUE, and elsewhere. He has a degree in English Literature with Creative Writing from the University of Birmingham, a Masters (Distinction) in Advanced Theatre Practice from Central School of Speech and Drama, and has completed residencies at Hull Truck Theatre (Be Our Guest), Glasgow School of Art and and elsewhere. He was short-listed for the Flying Solo Award at Contact Theatre.

Who is this show for?

Target Audiences:

– People who are unemployed or in precarious labour.
– Young people (17-30).
– People interested in comedy.
– People interested in having a night out with a difference.
– People interested in politics and social issues.
– Adventure seekers.

Previous success in Marketing

  • Communicating shows as a fun, distinct and exciting experience. E.g. Advertising The Church of Jim as “Alternative comedy” in an “exciting secretive location”. Result: sell-out shows in 2017, 2019
  • ‘In-world’ communication: using ‘shonky’, purposefully amateur aesthetics in graphics, copy and video.

Practical Info:
Tech requirements: Haze machine, simple lights, a projector.
Cast size: two performers. One performer on the stage; the other should be concealed from the audience, appearing only on the stage via the projector.
Tech team: One stage manager, to be recruited
Accessibility note: The show uses a projector, which can incorporate surtitles.
Age Guidance: 10+.
Content Warnings: The show contains references to housefires.

Available for booking from February 2022.

Previous Teasers: