Between 1987 to 1997, Third Theatre Ltd was a small to middle scale touring theatre company specialising in devised, issue-based productions. Founder and Artistic Director, Philip Knight, developed, with core members of the company, a physically and vocally demanding training and devising process which resulted in highly energetic, highly physical productions with a unique and recognisable style. The purpose of this website is to create an archive of that touring work, to host a manual of Third Theatre’s training programme and devising process for the use and reference of contemporary and future theatre makers, and to be a point of contact for those interested in the Third Theatre Method.

Artistic Director Philip Knight and core company member Tina Taylor have reunited to create this website and revive the Third Theatre unique methodology as a counterpoint to our increasingly digital world.

Perceived Need

It is perhaps more important now than in the last hundred years, to create a theatre which is able to articulate the emotional and mental state of a group, society, or tribe.

Information and its veracity are a serious issue at the moment, as it is increasingly easy to create and disseminate misinformation which is able to reach many thousands unchallenged. As like-minded people create echo chambers in cyberspace, ideas of all persuasions going unchallenged and exist outside but alongside a lived reality. We propose a new kind of theatre is needed as an interface between the abstract shared environment of the internet and the day-to-day truth of lived experience. We believe that Third Theatre’s collective wealth of devising experience and its effective training programme is ideally placed to initiate a move to a more interactive and democratic theatre experience.

In this new internet age in which human beings are increasingly engaging with society through the simulacra of an electronic presence, in which emotion is filtered and the energetic presence of a person nullified, it is perhaps live theatre which might be the place for people to explore what is happening and how they and those around them feel about it.

Third Theatre aims not to be a means of escapism, but to be the means for the participants to be more fully in the moment and grapple with truth, whether in the presentation of their own or in the watching and reacting to the presentation of the truth of others.

Third Theatre proposes to be a lodestone for a performative engagement in real time and space. It intends to make the performer in ‘the empty space’ and their projected ‘energy of will’, connecting with the watcher’s ‘energy of will’ the first motivation in the creative process. It is possible to envisage a situation where an event has no distinction between performer and audience, groups are created to explore an idea, or issue, and in the final event are both performers and audience.

In practical terms we hope to bring this about by:

1. Holding performance events with groups exploring an issue through the Third Theatre process. These groups do not have to be actors, the only requirement being an interest in exploring the proposed issue.

2. The training of performers/facilitators in Third Theatre’s creative process exploring three disciplines,

  • Physical Training, maximising potential of emotional expression through the body, spatial awareness, projecting your will, and reading the will of others.
  • Voice Training, connecting breath and voice to emotional intent.
  • Improvisation, the art of listening and responding.

3. The Production of events, performances workshops, and seminars which further the aims of the company.

Third Theatre are:

Phillip Knight - Third Theatre

Phil Knight

Artistic Director Third Theatre Ltd. 1987-1997

Before setting up Third Theatre, Phil Knight graduated with a first class degree in Expressive Arts and Dance from Brighton University, after which he toured the alternative cabaret circuit with Open Secret (‘manic politically barbed repartee’ – The Guardian) and performed in and choreographed pop videos.

Since Third Theatre, he has lectured in movement for actors, directing, devising, and physical theatre at Rose Bruford college, Royal Holloway college, Salford university, and the University of Central Lancashire. Further directing includes theatre productions at Hoxton Hall Theatre, Hackney, a mystery play for Shoreditch Festival, community theatre productions for Knaresbourgh Theatre, and BRIL Luxembourg.

Phil has also lead workshops in devising and Third Theatre’s method of creating theatre in schools and colleges across the country and has directed drama projects for Insight Arts Trust working with ex-offenders for the Children’s Parliament, Scotland, and for Creative Art Works, Edinburgh.

In 2015 he wrote and toured ‘Prometheus’, reworking the myth to explore mental health.

At present he teaches yoga and is designing ‘The Happiness Machine Project’ as a tool for facilitating expression, creativity, and engagement.

Tina Taylor

Tina Taylor Theatre – theatre director, teacher, and writer

Tina Taylor was a core company member of Third Theatre, performing regularly with the company during the years it was based in Bradford. Before working with Third Theatre, Tina studied Dramatic Arts and Dance at Bretton Hall College, Leeds University, and performed with the LEAP Project in London, touring to prisons and youth custody centres throughout the UK. For the past twenty years, Tina has been directing and teaching theatre in the San Francisco Bay area, including work with California Shakespeare Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Intersection for the Arts, EchoTheatreSuitcase, and Ross Valley Players. Additionally, Tina has created original, group devised productions and facilitated community engagement workshops with domestic abuse survivors, housing project residents, military veterans, youth groups, and with Amnesty International.

Since 2015, Tina has been the artistic director of Theatre Lunatico, Berkeley, California, a company whose primary focus is on creating gender parity, and on placing women’s stories at the centre of the narrative.

Tina has adapted her seasoned understanding of ensemble approaches to theatre making to develop a dynamic methodology of teaching and directing Shakespeare. Tina has directed over 80 Shakespeare productions with school, youth, community, and professional companies. She teaches Shakespearean text within the framework of ensemble, physical theatre.

During the pandemic, Tina moved back to the UK, and, whilst traveling regularly to California to teach and direct, she is now rebuilding her freelance career back in her home country. In 2019, she wrote her first full length play, Convoy 31000, and is currently working on several new theatre scripts. She is based in rural Suffolk.