Physical Theatre & Performance Parkour
Miranda Henderson & Alister O'Loughlin founded Prodigal Theatre in 1999 on returning from working and training in Eastern Europe. The company's work is 'Epic within a small frame' and moves from intimate, in-the-round storytelling and site-specific adaptations of classic texts through to the wordless drama of dance at speed and height with the Urban Playground Team performances. The company is multi-award winning, and has toured across five continents, on nine occasions with the British Council. From the outset Prodigal has pioneered models of engagement with at-risk communities of young people, and the co-directors hold specialist teaching degrees from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire.
Now based in Cornwall, Prodigal UPG are fundraising for a new purpose built rehearsal and development centre Kresen Gul Hwel. They recently established The Emergent Ensemble - a year long programme contracting six early career artists through the Covid lockdown period and beyond. As members of the Freelance Taskforce they authored 'The 5 Guiding Principles' - a Fair Trade model for Freelancers which is now being adopted by performing arts organisations across the country. They are currently planning a new festival of outdoor work - The Par-Tea - and have been commissioned by the Time & Tide Bell organisation to make a new, touring show.
Artistic Directors: Miranda Henderson & Alister O'Loughlin
Miranda trained as a dancer in the UK and at the Duncan Conservatoire, Prague. Alister trained as an actor in the UK and as an apprentice of Dah Teatar, Belgrade. In 1999 they together returned to the UK and founded Prodigal Theatre with the aim of creating physical adaptations of classic texts.
In 2002 They took on the management of the Nightingale Theatre, Brighton, which became their base until 2010. During 8 years at the Nightingale they contributed to the development of over 100 new pieces of theatre and dance, establishing a ladder of development that brought together and empowered artists from all levels of the profession. Throughout their management Steven Berkoff was the theatre’s patron. The venue itself was award winning, as was Prodigal’s work there.
In 2006 they established a second ensemble; The Urban Playground Team, coining the phrase Performance-Parkour to describe its unique blend of free running and dance. The UPGTeam has toured internationally ever since. From 2014 – 17 the pair studied the Diploma In Dance Teaching and Learning with which they graduated from the Laban Conservatoire.
As well as their own work, both continue as freelance artists. Miranda has choreographed for Inspector Sands, directed for Lucinka Eisler, and is a regular teacher of dance for actors at the Royal Central School of Speech & Drama where she is now writing the dance syllabus for CDT.
Alister has acted in Steven Berkoff’s Ensemble, touring as Tiresias in Berkoff’s adaptation of Oedipus. He also writes on the Prodigal UPG company’s work, publishing in the Theatre, Dance & Performance Training Journal and elsewhere. In 2017 the company moved to Cornwall where it is in the process of establishing a new creation centre