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Polly, the Heartbreak Opera


Polly is an updated production of John Gay's Polly, sequel to The Beggar's Opera, drawing on bouffant clowning and just about every music genre there is.


Directed by Stephanie Kempson, Devised and performed by Marie Hamilton, Katy Sobey and Madeline Shann, with music by Ben Osborn and additional music by Madeline Shann.


A work-in-progress of the show was presented at The Wardrobe Theatre, Bristol, in spring 2018.

"Gritty, in-your-face, intelligent exploration of feminism, power and control, completely bang on for political timing and satirical commentary." Weston Super Mum on Polly

 "Not only does it provide enough thought-provoking barbs to the audience in the middle of some overwhelming fun, but it also seems much more relevant than so many recent productions of The Threepenny Opera, which have sold themselves on their timeliness." Exeunt on Polly


The Darkest Corners by RashDash (2017)

Madeline performed the lead role in RashDash's The Darkest Corners; a site-specific, outdoor cabaret rally, performed in a car park in Holbeck, Leeds, as part of Transform Festival.


With Headphone Disco technology and a live original score, the show addressed violence against women and the lengths women are forced to go to in order to feel "safe".

More information here:

"...we get gleeful shadow dance, capoeira-esque movement sequences, tongue-twisting monologue delivered with sure-footed ease, and even a choreographed routine performed by sudden neon furries. At times it’s like being in the anxious inner world of a woman just trying to navigate herself home at night; at others it’s like watching the most fun pop video ever, created live (music and all) in front of our eyes."

Mark Smith, British Theatre Guide


Little Terrors 


Little Terrors is a look at our unpredictable world through the eyes of someone who is afraid of pretty much everything. From clowns to climate change, rollercoasters to robot uprising, Madeline Shann takes us in disquieting detail through her deepest, darkest fears in search of some kind of bravery.

A dance theatre lecture, Little Terrors uses movement, storytelling, experimental sound design and any other means necessary to explain why life is terrifying.


This show is a darkly funny, poignant and ultimately hopeful look at our relationship with our fears, and how the cowardly can hope to find courage.


Little Terrors premiered in May 2014 at Accidental Festival at The Roundhouse in London and has since been performed across the country, including at UK Young Artists Festival, Plymouth Fringe Festival and Story City Festival. It was performed in Milan as part of  Mediterranea 17 Young Artists Biennale in 2015.

'“A treat. Inventive, surprising and intelligent. Just the sort of thing that audiences are crying out for.” Tom Roden, New Art Club

"Shann gives a convincing and sincere performance; her movement strong and comedic characterisation faultless." The Public Reviews

"Powerful, thought-provoking performance" audience member, Derby Theatre's From Scratch.

"Mindblowing" audience member, The Roundhouse

"As someone who's never seen a piece of 'dance' (as such) WHAT an amazing introduction" audience member, Derby Theatre's From Scratch.

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Dust (2014)


Dust is a collaboration with playwright Isley Lynn (Lean, Skin A Cat), an experiment looking at the possibilities of interplay between dance and scripted drama.


The play looks at the lives of two characters whose very different worlds collide when they fall in love with each other outside of their existing relationships. The piece examines fundamental and uncomfortable questions about the ethics of love, happiness and fidelity.


The project was supported by Farnham Maltings' No Strings Attached fund and IdeasTap Innovators fund and a work-in-progress was shown in January 2014 at The Cockpit theatre, London. 

"I thought it was very erotic."

Miriam Margoyles




Mermer is a dance film about the craving for isolation, shot entirely underwater. It was filmed in 2011 and was shown at the Watershed cinema and on the Millennium Square big screen in Bristol, and at SifDans festival '11. It was released with an original score by Timothy Luke Smith in 2015.

The Christmas Live Survival Guide (2014)


Madeline's first one-woman musical and her second Christmas show, the Christmas Live Survival Guide was performed at the Northern Art Festival in Sheffield's independent arts venue Moor Delicatessen. A story about friendship, (un)happiness and hope at "the most wonderful time of the year", the audience-interactive show featured five original songs and hand-painted read-along picture books.





"One of my favourite things I saw in 2014, Honest, witty, touching and generally marvellous. top notch lyrics." Joe Bunce, Verismo and Paper Finch theatre companies

The Red Shoes (2014)


Madeline worked with Four Shadows Theatre to create this anarchic retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairytale, complete with live original songs, dance, energetic physical theatre and a bed which doubled as a vehicle. The Red Shoes was performed at FEVA festival, ADAM festival and Galtres Festival.


Night of the Barghest (2013)


Madeline choreographed and danced the part of Mad Alice in Takeover Festival 2013's original production written by James Wilkes (previously of BeltUp) and directed by Ruby Clarke (Tempting Fate). An immersive and interactive piece, the story - based on local myths and legends - unravelled through the many rooms and stairways of York Brewery.




The Red Tree (2013-2014)


A bedroom full of leaves. A paper boat on stormy seas. A fantastical odyssey. 


Shaun Tan’s award winning picture book is illuminated with striking movement, puppetry and dance. 


For children and adults: for anyone who’s ever felt lost. 


Madeline co-devised, choreographed and performed in Featherweight's show The Red Tree. The piece premiered at Headingley Enterprise and Arts (HEART) Centre in Leeds, and went on to enjoy a successful run at Edinburgh Fringe Festival to critical acclaim. In 2014 The Red Tree toured to The Hat Factory for Luton's Childrens Festival, Norden Farm Arts Centre and Rosemary Branch Theatre in London.



"Not a word is spoken but I found myself leaning forward, smiling, absorbed in Featherweight’s fantastical world." ThreeWeeks

"Inventive, poignant, sometimes very funny and often beautiful to look at" Primary Times

iShandy (2013)


Choreography for York Theatre Royal's original production iShandy written by Richard Hurford and directed by Damian Cruden.

The Xmas Project (2011)


Creation and choreography of The Xmas Project, a dance theatre piece which explored our relationship with the festive season. The piece drew from recorded interviews and accounts of Christmases past, present and future, looking at what Christmas means to modern-day Britain, what it takes to bring us together and what it means to be alone.

All of Me (Without You) (2011)


Collaborative devising and performance of multi-media work-in-progress with Wilkie Branson (Champloo, Travelling Light), Dan Canham (DV8, Punchdrunk), directed by Seth Honnor (Theatre Bristol, The Kaleider). The piece was shown at the Tobacco Factory's Prototype platform.

All of Me (2010)


Collaborative devising and performance of experiments in multi-media dance theatre with Joel Daniel (Champloo, Travelling Light) and Wilkie Branson (Champloo, Travelling Light) directed by Seth Honnor (Theatre Bristol, Imitating the Dog). The piece was shared at Tobacco Factory's Prototype platform.



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