A work in progress by Nathan Penlington Supported by Arts Council England

Sunday 7 Aug, 7.30pm Monday 8 Aug, 7.30pm Tuesday 9 Aug, 7.30pm

FREAK is stranger than fiction – a true story that reaches from depression era America, through the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the second world war, the phenomenon of Ripley’s Believe it or Not, and the burgeoning civil rights movements of the '50s and '60s.

This work in progress is told through a combination of live documentary, storytelling and magic. Nathan follows freak shows from the peak of their popularity, through controversies of human rights, and visits the oldest living sideshow operator in the USA.

It is an exploration of difference, tolerance, and the lives of tattooed ladies, rubber-skinned men, fat women, conjoined twins, and the ‘world’s strangest married couple’. Lives that turn the assumptions of exploitation and disability upside down.

Audiences are invited to see FREAK by author and performer Nathan Penlington at an exciting stage of its development.

£3 entry

Praise for Nathan’s previous work: 

'Deeply nostalgic and dazzlingly modern’ - The Independent ‘A directive to live actively and make choices’ - The New York Times 'An awkward, unusual, tender story about what it is to be awkward and unusual’ - The Times 'That rare creature, a truly lovely show’ - Evening Standard


Nathan Penlington is a writer, performer and obsessive. He has performed his work in venues as diverse as New York’s Tribeca Film Festival, London’s Soho Theatre, Glasgow’s AyeWrite book festival, Chicago’s Drinking & Writing Festival, and has been broadcast on BBC Radio 1, 3, 4, 6music, and Australia's ABC.

Choose Your Own Documentary - a true story of obsession, childhood sweethearts, friendship, loss and adventure – won a Fringe First Award at the Edinburgh Festival 2013 for innovation and new writing.

The Boy in the Book, Nathan’s first work of non-fiction, was published by Headline in May 2014. An attempt at exhausting a place in London, a homage to the work of Georges Perec, was published by Burning Eye Books in October 2015.

He is a lifelong zine, fairground and magic fan.