Buxton-born theatre group Three’s Company are celebrating their 20th year at the Buxton Fringe this July. Their upcoming adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s international best-selling novel The Little Prince will be the group’s 20th play at the annual arts festival since 2003 when they staged their first ever play aged 16.
Yaz Al-Shaater, Tom Crawshaw and Michael Grady-Hall all attended Buxton Community School, performed with Buxton’s REC Youth Theatre and Buxton Drama League, and started creating shows together, inspired by their drama teachers and leaders, when they were 13. They then formed Three’s Company and produced their first stage show – a comedy about a delayed train – at the Buxton Fringe in 2003.
Twenty years on and the trio are all working professionally in the arts – Tom’s award-winning writing has appeared on Radio 4 and been produced at the West End, Michael has performed at the National Theatre and RSC and is currently appearing in The House Of Shades at the Almeida, and Yaz is currently directing TV for Channel 4 alongside a range of film work.
But they are still creating new theatre shows of their own – and Buxton remains the perfect place to premiere work.
“The audiences in Buxton are so welcoming and the Fringe is an incredible mixing-pot of talent and creativity. It’s wonderful to bring a new show here, meet artists and see how audiences react!” says Tom.
The Little Prince, their latest offering, is a spectacular new staging of the international bestselling book about a stranded pilot who is visited by a strange boy who has journeyed from his own tiny star. The production fuses comedy, music, magic, puppetry and innovative lighting effects to create a joyous and uplifting show for adults and children alike. The beautiful design is being created by Dylan Howells – past finalist of the Linbury Prize for design – and the production is directed by Off West End Award-nominated Alice Kornitzer.
Among all that, the group are also editing Series 2 of their online audio-comedy Adventure Department. Series 1 and two Christmas Specials, which see the trio adventuring in a different genre each episode, have visited international podcast festivals and are now available for free online.
Michael said “It’s strange to think we’ve been making work together at the Buxton Fringe much more than half the time we’ve been alive. I don’t think any of us expected that when we started mucking about aged 16. Here’s to the next 20 years I guess!”
The Little Prince plays at Underground at The Old Clubhouse, 20-25 July, with tickets from undergroundvenues.co.uk
Three’s Company’s Adventure Department can be heard for free from all major podcast platforms or adventuredepartments.uk
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