Many of our shows explore the relationship between the original source material and its broader appeal in subsequent twentieth century popular culture. This allows us to mix fact with fiction, to enable famous fictional characters to meet with real historical personages. By doing so, our stories can blend different genres whilst exploring the impact each has on the other. We also look at how social and cultural events from the period still resonate today, and we enjoy including little references which add poigniancy (and in many cases humour!) to our material. Improvisation is a big feature of our shows, particularly in relation to  audience participation. Our actors use great skill in maintaining the language,  attitude and idiom of the era when talking directly to audience members,  deftly handling anachronsism much to the delight of the spectators. Leave your mobile phone switched on at your peril! We liken the stage and its set dressing to a traditional pop-up book. There is no fourth wall, and so audiences must be prepared to be engaged fully. The direction and staging of each piece is stylised and symbolic, allowing each audience member to use his or her imagination to augment the scene being set. Our theatrical style, the aesthetics of what we stage, is strongly influenced by the classic Universal horrors of the 1930s and 1940s, and the films of Hammer Studios in the 1950s and 1960s. Incidental music, sound and lighting effects support the narrative and to infuse it with its own distinct character. Lighting is employed to create a moody ambience, with shadows cast by and upon our actors lending to the air of menace. thebestcellar@gmail.com ©’Don’t Go Into The Cellar!’   2019   All rights reserved Using a talented and versatile troupe of professionally-trained actors and crew, we perform at theatres, festivals, schools and events across the United Kingdom. Ladies and Gentlemen, it is our pleasure to bring before you a plethora of performances this season! In the Victorian tradition of fog-bound chillers and sensational thrillers, our stage-players are delighted to unveil a kaleidoscope of nineteenth-century theatrical treats... Formed in 2010, Don't Go Into The Cellar! are the UK’s finest practitioners of theatrical Victoriana in a macabre vein. The company is based in the heart of the West Midlands, and the region has links with some of the greatest Victorian and Edwardian genre writers. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle began his career as a writer while practicing medicine in Birmingham and Fu Manchu's creator, Sax Rohmer, was born there, too. Washington Irving penned his classic horror tale, "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" whilst living in Birmingham,  and Charles Dickens performed often at the second city's Town Hall, giving the very first public reading of "A Christmas Carol" there in 1853. The famous humourist Jerome K. Jerome, author of "Three Men in a Boat"was born in nearby Walsall. Both he and Dickens  were marvellous exponents of the macabre tale when the mood took them, and the spirits of all these nineteenth-century greats haunt our stage-work. Artistic Director Jonathan Goodwin has been fascinated with the Victorian and Edwardian eras since childhood, and especially the works of Conan Doyle, Stoker, Stevenson, M R James and their ilk. Indeed, the first novel he can recall reading is The Hound of the Baskervilles, when he was six or so.  Jonathan was an avid viewer of the black and white Sherlock Holmes films, the Bela Lugosi and the Boris Karloff films, and the early Hammer Horrors back in the days when they were still screened on TV. Little could he have known that all of that would one day lead to his following in their footsteps on stage! Indeed, he even corresponded several times with Peter Cushing on the topic of acting, when Goodwin was still a teenager. Of course, Peter Cushing was one of the first actors a young Goodwin watched playing Sherlock Holmes, in fact, along with Basil Rathbone. They remain his favourites to this day, along with Jeremy Brett, naturally. Jonathan is an omnivorous reader and a bit of a bookworm. On his bookshelves are innumerable titles on Victorian and Edwardian crime, plus works by all the late nineteenth century's greats of popular fiction. But he always allows his imagination free rein when writing scripts, and thinks a degree of artistic licence is allowed when crafting a piece of entertainment – however macabre the subject matter!