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Preview: Person Spec at Newcastle Alphabetti Theatre

Offering audiences full corporate control, Person Spec comes to Alphabetti Theatre

Person Spec 

Newcastle Alphabetti Theatre

Tuesday 28 February– Saturday 18 March 2023

This is not a normal theatre show. It is a job interview. And you are the panel.

Disguised as a corporate recruitment event, Person Spec is a participatory performance piece that invites audience members to be an active and essential part of a looming first job interview. Person Spec is created by Forest Sounds Theatre, a company that strives to push the boundaries between audience and actor, exploring how we treat others, and how we treat ourselves. Fostering the feeling of the unknown, this bold and experimental company will be returning to Alphabetti Theatre as part of the Newcastle venue’s Spring Season.

Our interviewee is Marion, an unemployed woman in her twenties whose second language is English. She is on the precipice of a whole new life and this interview is a huge opportunity for her. 

Structured around a series of interview tasks, Person Spec will enable the audience to facilitate and rate her performance. However, as the interview progresses it becomes apparent that these tasks aren’t intended merely for Marion, but are a part of something a lot more sinister. Whether the candidate succeeds or not is down to the audience and Zantion Recruitment has every faith in them.

After writer and founder of Forest Sounds Andy Owen Cook was made redundant twice in one year and graduated into a global recession, the idea of Person Spec was born. Forest Sounds Theatre was established in 2015 as a Resident Company at Theatre Deli in Sheffield and has since performed at places such as Wardrobe Theatre and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The production was curated by an interdisciplinary team of creatives from the UK, Spain, Portugal and China, with essential input from non-professional participants with experience of precarious labour. The structure and setup of the show reverse the traditional role of the audience, positioning them as the experts and authorities in the room. Person Spec reveals the troubling implications when audience participation is laid bare.

Writer Andy Owen Cook comments, I started writing this show in-between job applications after I was made redundant twice in one year. It’s about feeling redundant, and fighting against that. You have to. I come from Sheffield, which has suffered under the effects of austerity for the whole of my adult life, on top of multi-generational unemployment. You see the effects everywhere. Person Spec is about finding a way through all this. There has to be more to us than our LinkedIn profiles would have us believe. I hope so because my LinkedIn profile sucks.

Person Spec was curated with support from Alphabetti Theatre, New Diorama Theatre and Camden People’s Theatre, The Writing Squad, and Arts Council England.


Pay What You Feel (28th February – 4 th March)

£3-£15 (7th March – 18th March)

Running Time 75 mins

Age Restrictions 16+

Content Warnings This performance may contain themes and language that some audiences may find upsetting and distressing for more information please contact the theatre.

Access Captioned performance (Wednesday, 8th of March)

Audio Described performance (Wednesday, 15th of March)

Relaxed performances each Saturday matinee.

Cast& Creatives:

Writer Andy Owen Cook (he/him)

Director Alfie Heffer (he/him)

Producer Belisa Branças (she/her)

Performer Inés Collado (she/her)

Dramaturg Olga Hernandez (she/her)

Graphic Designer Jingyi Yu (she/her)

Sound Designer/ Composer Cameron Naylor (they/them)

Stage/Technical Manager Frances Allison (she/her)

Video Artist Peter Martin (he/him)

Video Editor Aaron Mears (they/them)

Digital Developer Michael Cook (they/them)

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