Tobacco Factory Theatres and The Sum

Banksy: The Room In The Elephant

Tom Wainwright

Directed by: Emma Callander

Banksy was in LA for the Oscars when he sprayed ‘THIS LOOKS A BIT LIKE AN ELEPHANT’ on an old water tank. The tank was residence for a local legend, Tachowa Covington, who over seven years had furnished it with carpets, a stove – even CCTV. As news spread of Banksy’s latest work, a consortium of art dealers soon appeared to repossess the water tank. Suddenly, Tachowa was homeless again…

Starring Gary Beadle – best known as Eastenders’ Paul Trueman as well as acclaimed roles in the Royal Court’s Sucker Punch and Chichester Festival Theatre’s Blue Remembered Hills – this is a story about creating something from nothing and then having it taken away, in the name of art.

Tom Wainwright’s wildly successful play, originally commissioned by Bristol’s Tobacco Factory Theatres and a Play, a Pie and a Pint at Òran Mór, was a sell out at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and now joins us at Arcola Theatre as part of a national tour.

Tom Wainwright has written for Bristol Old Vic, Theatre Bristol, the egg and Hull Truck; previous works including Muscle and Buttercup. Banksy: The Room In The Elephant is directed by Associate Director of the Traverse Theatre and Co-artistic Director of Theatre Uncut, Emma Callander.

The play will be followed by a screening of Something from Nothing, documentary maker Hal Samples’ short film about Tachowa and the tank, edited from material gathered over 7 years.

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“A colourful and compelling performance by Beadle and a spunky, clever script that weaves poetry and street swagger from Tom Wainwright”

The Stage

“A vital piece of 21st century drama, about who gets to hold the camera, to define what is art, and to shape the stories we hear; and whose life finally counts.”

The Scotsman

“One minute he has the audience belly-laughing, with a deft twist seconds later we’re silenced as tears stream down his face.”

The Big Issue

“Fascinating and thought-provoking. (…) An elusive and fascinating piece”

★★★ The Guardian

“A rather shocking commentary on the reality of the marginalised” and “fascinating and fantastically moving”

The Public Reviews

“Tom Wainwright’s script has a poetic pulse that seduces us without our even being conscious of its touch”

A Younger Theatre

“Gary Beadle’s performance is nothing short of sensational – you will be hard pressed to see a better stage performance this year”

★★★★★ Remotegoat

“A sharply tailored piece of theatre, rich in self-awareness and not poor in dramatic quality either”

★★★★ Plays To See

Monday – Saturday at 8.00pm – £17 (£12 concessions)

Opening performances (1 – 5 April) – all tickets £12

Saturday matinees at 3.00pm – £14 (£12 concessions)

Pay What You Can Tuesdays (tickets in person from 6.30pm – limited and subject to availability)

Recommended for ages 12+ due to strong language

Running time is approximately 2hrs including an interval