Kneehigh Theatre

Based in Cornwall, Kneehigh tells stories and creates theatre of humanity from an epic and tiny scale. It works with an ever-changing ensemble of performers, musicians, artists, technicians and administrators, and is passionate about its multi-disciplined creative process.  

Kneehigh aims to collaborate with fellow human beings, whether they are adults or children, professionals or outsiders. Aiming to create events and offer experiences that can profoundly change people's lives, it creates relevant and emotionally charged work, reaching out to the non-theatre going community, to build a non-elite audience and to celebrate our time on the planet.

Kneehigh chooses to be based and work in Cornwall, within a community but outside the ‘business'. Inspired by Cornwall and calmed by Cornwall, it dedicates itself to thinking outside the constraints of fear and neurosis. Taking in the principles of play, generosity, vulnerability, ambition, bravery, anarchy and instinct, it believes that human beings are capable of anything and push to find new depths, new joys and new excitements in its relationship to its work and its audiences.

  • Image: Tristan & Yseult. Photograph: Steve Tanner
  • Image: The Wild Bride. Photograph: Steve Tanner
  • Image: The Red Shoes. Photograph: Steve Tanner


Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs)

  • Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes, including interval
  • People on road: 17
  • Freight: Freight
  • Freight details: 1 x 40ft container if LX and audio are sourced locally


What the HELL is the world coming to?

Mayor Goodman has been assassinated. And so has his dog. Contract killer Macheath has just married Pretty Polly Peachum and Mr and Mrs Peachum aren’t happy. Not one bit.

Kneehigh are back with their theatrical tour-de-force Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs). Based on John Gay’s classic musical satire, The Beggar’s Opera, Kneehigh’s wild retelling is busting with wit, wonder and weirdness. This encore performance of Kneehigh’s riotous hit sees their extraordinary cast of actor musicians shoot, hoot and shimmy their way through this twisted morality tale for our times.

Kneehigh’s Ubu! – A sing-along satire

  • Duration: 2 hours and 20 minutes with two intervals
  • People on road: 14
  • Freight: Freight
  • Freight details: Staging
    1 x 20ft container.


We all know King Ubu. That deranged dictator we all love to hate.

Impossibly greedy, unstoppably crude, inexorably daft and hell-bent on making the country great again!

Sound familiar?

Based on Alfred Jarry’s riot-inducing masterpiece, Kneehigh will let rip with their own version of theatre’s most anarchic creations – KING UBU.

Expect world-class buffoonery in this deliriously unhinged improvised promenade musical (surely the first of its kind!). Featuring some of the most iconic anthems of our times, given a fresh rub for their money by a belting Kneehigh band, plus an extraordinary choir of extras – you! – we guarantee this will be a rocking, rollicking riot of ridiculousness that you won't forget.

He’ll rise! He’ll reign! Only together will we make Ubu fall!

The Dancing Frog

  • Duration: 1 hour with no interval
  • People on road: 4
  • Freight: Freight
  • Freight details: Staging
    1 flight case.


Poor Gertrude thinks she’ll never laugh or love again. But then she has a lucky encounter on a lily pad. With a frog. Called George. Suddenly, things are looking bright again!

For George isn’t just any frog. He’s a dancing frog.

And when Gertrude thrusts this web-footed wonder into the spotlight he becomes an overnight sensation the likes of which the world has never seen!

Featuring a team including Old Rope String Band musician and early Kneehigh member Tim Dalling, puppeteer Ailsa Dalling, local performer Jenny Beare, puppeteer extraordinaire Sarah Wright, with puppets created by, Lyndie Wright of the Little Angel Theatre. Mike Shepherd directs this delightful tale of hope, heart and hip-hoppity adventure based on the classic children's book by Quentin Blake.

The Tin Drum

  • Duration: 2 hours 20 minutes, including interval
  • People on road: 17
  • Freight: Freight
  • Freight details: Staging
    1 x 40ft container if LX and audio are sourced locally.


On Oskar's third birthday, he rails against the adult world and decides to remain a child forever. Armed with a heart full of rage, a singing voice that shatters glass, and a seemingly indestructible tin drum, Oskar sets about to reveal the world for what it truly is.

However, the world has other plans for our hero... The tide is turning. People are taking sides. And the shadow of the Black Witch draws ever closer.

Often hailed as one of the greatest novels ever written, Günter Grass' surreal post-war masterpiece has never been more prescient. Kneehigh will retell this extraordinary story of love, war and fizz powder as startling musical satire: part Baroque opera, part psychedelic white-out, part epic poem. A burlesque, a blitzkreig, a tidal wave about to break.

Written by Carl Grose, composed by Charles Hazlewood and directed by Mike Shepherd - the team that brought you the internationally acclaimed Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs), The Tin Drum is a folktale for troubled times: one political, profane and profound.

Prepare the dance to the beat of a different drum!

Fup: A Modern Fable

  • Duration: 2 hours, including an interval
  • People on road: 9
  • Freight: Freight
  • Freight details: Staging
    1 x 20ft container, if LX and audio are sourced locally.


The Santee family are unconventional, to say the least.

One hundred year old Grandaddy Jake and his enormous grandson Tiny live life on the fringes, drinking whiskey, building fences, boasting of immortality. But then, Fup arrives – an ass-kicking, web-footed, feathery sonofagun. See, Fup is a duck. A very big duck. A very big duck indeed... And she is going to change their world forever.

Fup is a big-hearted, uproarious modern fable about family, love and nature set in a weird and wild Cornwall not so different from this one. Featuring live, foot-stomping music, quacking puppetry and Kneehigh’s infamous eccentricity and charm, Fup is a story like no other.

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings

  • Duration: 90 minutes, with interval
  • People on road: 5
  • Freight: Freight
  • Freight details: Staging
    1 x 20ft container.


The world's been sad since Tuesday, the child has a fever and is hotter than a fish on a spit. The dog chases its tail, Mother dreams of a new broom and Father gazes out to sea. The whole village is on the brink. Then the sky gets frisky, the sea rears up and, in a bolt of lightning, a very old man with enormous wings crashes to earth in a flurry of feathers. Nothing will ever be the same again!

Inspired by Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short story and presented with visual beauty and magic by leading theatre companies, Little Angel Theatre and Kneehigh Theatre. This is a must see show for adults and young people alike, showing a world of ruined beauty and magic reality where everyone dreams of their five minutes of fame and riches.

For everyone from 6 to 66 who believes that an old man might fly.

Wraparound work

Kneehigh also offer post show talks and introductory workshops with the Director/s.

Press Comments & Testimonials

"Kneehigh is as magical as it is powerful. Creating worlds and igniting the imagination of both young and old. Incredibly impressive and important work that I feel so blessed to have seen with my family"

Kate Winslet

"Fiendishly clever…a constant barrage of visual, theatrical and musical surprises." *****

The Stage on Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs)

"Trust Kneehigh, the whirligig mavericks of theatrical storytelling, to take it on, and trust them to give it such a dark glitter than it leaves you giddy" ***** 

The Times on The Tin Drum

"The show simmers delicately on the edge of chaos. This is Kneehigh going back to their roots as exuberant physical performers and it is both joyous and immensely skilful" ***** 

 The Financial Times on Kneehigh's Ubu!

"This is a miracle of a show. In its small but perfectly formed way it is as memorable as anything I've seen" ***** 

The Times on A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings


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Artistic Director(s)

Mike Shepherd & Carl Grose

Contact details

Liz King

15 Walsingham Place

Twitter Feed

@WeAreKneehigh RT @edenproject: What could be better than world-class theatre on the beach? The wondrous @WeAreKneehigh are on Carlyon Beach this summer.…
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@WeAreKneehigh RT @ElstonBuddy: Had an absolute cracking time @WeAreKneehigh Asylum with the UBUs. Such fun, charismatic, care-free entertainment which ha…
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