Past Productions

a person wearing checkered pyjamas is lying on the floor while a woman in a nurses uniform, a woman in a doctors uniform and a man all kneel over him with their hands on him, there is an empty wheelchair in the background.

A month after stating “we will stop the top-down reorganisation of the NHS that has got in the way of patient care”, the government launched the biggest top-down reorganisation the service had seen in its 65-year history. With characteristic wit, tenderness, and dives into surrealism, Stella Feehily’s play explores one family’s journey through the digestive system of the NHS, and asks: what is the prognosis for this much-loved institution?

This May Hurt A Bit was developed in association with the National Theatre Studio and Out of Joint and was produced by Out of Joint and Octagon Theatre Bolton on a UK tour in 2014.


“A touching drama about one family’s encounters with their local hospital intertwines with a surreal, hilarious and hard-hitting examination of the history, politics, economics and day-to-day running of the NHS… Max Stafford-Clark’s direction is masterly. A naturalistic moment moves to tears, a hard fact strikes to anger, an absurdity raises laughter… Each member of his eight-strong cast is a joy to watch, in every single one of their 25 characters. This co-production between Bolton Octagon and Out of Joint is every bit as theatrically entertaining as it is politically committed.”
– The Observer ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“A passionate agit-prop, surreal and poignant portrait of the health service… Nuanced and funny family drama… Stafford-Clark directs a versatile cast with vigour ”
– Sunday Express ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Two tightly-packed hours of dynamic, urgent theatre”
– Financial Times ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Stella Feehily’s passionate, urgently topical play… Our theatre has long been crying out for a new play on the subject”
– The Guardian ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Told with truth, humour and understanding… Very funny and entertaining. I was enthralled by the production’s complexity, bravado and freshness and also the fine performances of each member of the eight-strong cast. Ensemble theatre at its best.”
– Oxford Times ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“As agit-prop theatre goes, [this] production must surely rank as one of the most stylish ever staged”
– ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


Cast: Frances Ashman, Stephanie Cole, William Hope, Natalie Klamar, Hywel Morgan, Brian Protheroe, Jane Wymark, Tristram Wymark

Director: Max Stafford-Clark
Designer: Tim Shortall
Lighting Designer: Jason Taylor
Sound Designer: Andy Smith
Associate Director: Tim Hoare 
Choral Composer: Adam Pleeth
Soundtrack Composer: Charlotte Hatherley
Choreographer: Orian Michaeli


6-15 March 2014
Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds

17 March 2014
Eastwell Manor

18 March 2014
Houses of Parliament

19 March 2014
Old Operating Theatre

20 March
Guy’s Hospital

21 March 2014
Old Operating Theatre

22 March 2014
The Hospital Club

25 March – 5 Apr 2014
Octagon Theatre Bolton

8-12 Apr 2014
Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

15-19 Apr 2014
Everyman Theatre Cheltenham

22-26 Apr 2014
Oxford Playhouse

29 Apr – 3 May 2014
Bristol Old Vic

7-10 May 2014
Liverpool Playhouse

14 May – 21 June 2014
St. James Theatre, London


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