International award-winning theatre group brings Real Magic to Sussex

Britain’s ground-breaking, highly influential experimental theatre group, Forced Entertainment, will visit the Attenborough Centre next week with the UK premiere of their new show, Real Magic, on Thursday 10 and Friday 11 November.

Described in their own words as "part mind-reading feat, part cabaret act and part chaotic game show", Real Magic takes the audience on a hallucinatory journey in a work about optimism, individual agency and the desire for change.

The Sheffield-based theatre group are recipients of the prestigious 2016 International Ibsen Award, presented to them in a week-long celebration of their work in Oslo earlier this year. The prize is given in recognition of their outstanding contribution to theatre-making, and is the first time it has been awarded to a British company.

Forced Entertainment’s interdisciplinary practice extends across theatre performance, long durational works of up to 24 hours, gallery installation, site-specific pieces, books, and photographic and film collaborations.

On Saturday 12 November, the group will be offering audiences a rare chance to see them perform one of their renowned durational works, And On the Thousandth Night, between 4 and 10pm.

A live, six-hour performance of improvised storytelling shared between seven performers, the piece creates a sprawling mix of interrupted and broken narratives that shift between the banal, the poetic, the fantastic and the extraordinary. Audience members are free to arrive, leave and return at any time.

This performance is preceded at 1pm by a free ‘In Conversation’ event between the company’s Artistic Director, Tim Etchells, and Dr Sara Jane Bailes, Reader in Theatre & Performance Studies at the University of Sussex.

Dr Bailes has known the group since they began making theatre work in 1984 and works alongside them as observer, respondent and chronicler of their practice. She is the author of Performance Theatre and the Poetics of Failure (2010), which examines the first 25 years of the company’s practice alongside other significant contemporary theatre ensembles and artists.

“Watching, writing about and teaching Forced Entertainment’s work now, 31 years on from when I first saw their theatre while I was a Theatre and English undergraduate student frustrated by the limitations of the British theatre scene, I am still constantly surprised by their work,” explains Dr Bailes.

“Their performance continues to confront our expectations of what such an encounter might be: what theatre can do and the unique, often ridiculous but always imaginative ways in which it can do it. They are interested in narrative and how theatre can still be made to speak to us with such immediacy through the fragmented, multiple languages of the moment we live in.”

Tickets for the In Conversation event are free and can be booked by visiting:

Tickets for the performances are selling fast and can be booked at: and

By: Patrick Reed
Last updated: Thursday, 3 November 2016