Great Apes | Arcola Theatre

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15 March–21 April 2018

Arcola Theatre and Stepping Out Theatre

Great Apes

by Will Self

Adapted by Patrick Marmion

Directed by Oscar Pearce

“I want my life back now. Feel human again. Homo erectus.”

When Turner Prize-winning artist Simon Dykes wakes up one morning after a wild night out, he finds his world has changed beyond recognition. His girlfriend, Sarah, has turned into a chimpanzee. And to his horror, so has everyone else. Immediately rushed to hospital, Simon is taken into the care of charismatic radical psychiatrist Zack Busner and treated for being under the psychotic delusion that he’s human.

Great Apes is Will Self’s hilarious, disturbing and dazzlingly original take on man’s place in the evolutionary chain.

This raucous new stage adaptation from Patrick Marmion (The Divided Laing) mixes razor-sharp language with movement and puppetry, journeying into the mystery of what it means to be a human being.


“Planet of the Apes meets Nineteen Eighty-Four … humorous, gripping and provocative.” – The Guardian on Will Self’s novel

“Prodigiously original and very funny” – The Observer on Will Self’s novel


Read Will Self’s blog post on Great Apes →

Are Human Beings Overrated?

Join Will Self, Mark Rappolt and Timandra Harkness in a free panel discussion hosted by Dr Wendy Earle.
Saturday 7 April, 5.30pm – 7pm

Read more information and book your place at this event →


Jeannie’s Theatre Conversations

There will be a free post-show talk with playwright Patrick Marmion with Jeannie, from Arcola’s community.
Saturday 24 March, after 3pm matinee performance

★★★★★ I urge you not to miss this extraordinary production
★★★★ Will Self's novel gets a skilful adaptation ... director Oscar Pearce maintains a firm grasp on the show's tumbling craziness
—Evening Standard
★★★★ Exhilarating
—The Upcoming
★★★★ Wildly entertaining and extremely thought-provoking
—Mind The Blog
Wonderfully physical
—The Stage
Packed with debate
Real invention and swagger
—The Guardian
—Time Out
The cast masterfully pull off this bold concept
Visually stimulating
—Islington Gazette
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Donna Berlin
John Cummins
Bryan Dick
Ruth Everett
Ruth Lass
Vivienne Smith
Stephen Ventura


Will Self


Oscar Pearce


Patrick Marmion


Sarah Beaton

Lighting Design

Matt Haskins

Sound Design

Daniel Balfour

Movement Director

Jonnie Riordan

Production Manager

Ben Karakashian

Stage Manager

Catherine Cooper

Assistant Stage Manager

Sophie Macfadyen

Costume Supervisor

Kate Hemstock

Puppet Direction

Tom Espiner

Puppet Maker

Maia Kirkman-Richards

Chimp Consultant

Peter Elliott
Best £26 (£22 previews)
Standard £22 (£19 previews)
Value £15
Restricted £12

Standard tickets are £12 or less with Arcola Passport.

Monday - Saturday, 7.30pm
All Saturdays and Wed 18 April, 3pm matinee


  • Students / 26 and under - Value seats at £10 or 20% off Standard seats
  • 65 and over - 20% off Standard seats on Mon–Wed evenings and all matinee performances
  • People in receipt of disability benefits - free companion with full-price Standard seat or 20% off Standard seat
  • People in receipt of unemployment benefits - Value seats at £10 or 20% off Standard seats
  • Theatre union members - 10% off Standard seats
  • School and college groups (10+) - Best available seats at £12 for Mon–Wed evenings and Wed matinees, one free teacher per 10 students
  • Groups (10+) - eleventh ticket free

    Pay What You Can Tuesdays – limited allocation of tickets available in person, each Tuesday from 6pm. More info »

    Running time: 140 minutes approximately (including interval).

  • This production contains:
    Strong language
    Scenes of a sexual nature
    Drug use
    Flashing/strobe lights
    Loud noises

    Suitable for 14+

    Press enquiries: Anna Arthur —

    24 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London, E8 3DL
    020 7503 1646

    © 2017-19 Arcola Theatre.
    Arcola Theatre Production Company is a registered charity no.1108613. Registered as a company limited by guarantee in England no.5242988. Registered Office: 24 Ashwin Street, Dalston, London E8 3DL.

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