HighTide and Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company present 

LIT by Sophie Ellerby

“When I think about you my chest feels like it’s about to explode and this energy pulses through me, heat, rising all the way up through my veins from my heart.”

The problem with love is that it’s different for everyone. For Bex, love is a flirt in detention and the promise of a date at a Chinese buffet. She doesn’t even like Chinese. How long can she keep searching for love before she ends up burnt?

LIT explores the turbulent teenage years of a girl looking for love in all the wrong places.

Sophie Ellerby’s writing revives a proud British tradition of placing complex working class people at the heart of her work. Sophie is an actor and a writer, and the spark of LIT came from her experience studying young women and mothers in the prison system. Originally developed through HighTide’s First Commissions programme, we are proud to be co-producing the full production after presenting it as a reading in Festival 2017.

Director Stef O’Driscoll, director of Paines Plough Roundabout 2018 and 2019 seasons, is a leading innovator in British theatre; ‘Creates an alternative experience for people who don’t think theatre is for them‘ The Stage.


Running time: 1h 30m

Age recommendation: 14+ This production contains strong language and references to sexual violence.

If you, or someone you know, are affected by anything in the play, please contact the One In Four helpline on 0208 697 2112 (Mon-Fri 6 -9pm, Sat 1-5pm) or visit http://thesurvivorstrust.org.



'A blistering debut'

The Guardian, Chris Wiegand

'pertinent to contemporary discussion'

A Younger Theatre

It has an infectious energy

The Stage

'a debut play which tackles provocative societal questions in a very human way'

East Midlands Theatre

Cast & Creatives

  • Eve Austin Bex
  • Josh Barrow Dillon
  • Tiger Cohen-Towell Ruth
  • Maxine Finch Sylvia
  • Kieran Hardcastle Lee
  • Jim Pope Mark
  • Sophie Ellerby Writer
    Sophie studied drama at the University of Manchester. She was awarded a place on HighTide’s First Commission scheme in 2016 and wrote her debut play LIT, which will be produced by HighTide and Nottingham Playhouse in 2019. Other work includes THREE, performed at the Arcola Theatre in 2017 and both Function and crabs for the National Youth Theatre. She is currently under commission to the National Youth Theatre and Fifth Word Theatre and is Writer in Residence at Pentabus Theatre for 2018/19. Sophie is dedicated to working on projects that challenge social norms and ignite community imagination. Her plays aim to tackle provocative societal questions in an accessible and human way.
  • Stef O'Driscoll Director
    Stef is the Artistic Director of nabokov and previously the Associate Director at Paines Plough and at the Lyric Hammersmith. Upcoming directing includes: LIT by Sophie Ellerby (Nottingham Playhouse and HighTide September 2019) and A HISTORY OF WATER IN THE MIDDLE EAST by Sabrina Mahfouz (Royal Court October 2019). For Paines Plough: Daughterhood by Charley Miles; On The Other Hand, We’re Happy by Daf James; Dexter and Winter’s Detective Agency by Nathan Bryon; Sticks and Stones by Vinay Patel; Island Town by Simon Longman; With A Little Bit Of Luck by Sabrina Mahfouz; Hopelessly Devoted by Kate Tempest; Blister by Laura Lomas; and as Assistant Director: Wasted by Kate Tempest. For nabokov: Last Night by Benin City (Roundhouse/Latitude); Box Clever by Monsay Whitney (Marlowe Theatre/Roundabout/Bunker); Storytelling Army (Brighton Festival) and Slug by Sabrina Mahfouz (Latitude). For the Lyric, as Co Director: A Midsummer Night’s Dream; as Associate Director: Mogadishu (Manchester Royal Exchange); as Assistant Director: Blasted – winner Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre 2011. Other Director credits: Yard Gal by Rebecca Prichard – winner Fringe Report Awards for Best Fringe Production 2009 (Oval House); A Tale From The Bedsit by Paul Cree (Roundhouse/Bestival); Finding Home by Cecilia Knapp (Roundhouse); A Guide To Second Date Sex and When Women Wee (Underbelly/Soho) and as Assistant Director: Henry IV (Donmar/St Anne’s Warehouse).
  • Minglu Wang Designer
    Minglu Wang is a scenographer who likes to explore materials, body, space and performance. She graduated from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama with Distinction and has a background of BA theatre, film and Television art designing. She works nationally and internationally and her work has featured in festivals including the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space 2011 and London Art Biennale 2015. She was a Linbury Prize finalist, winner of Taking the Stage 2015 supported by British Council Ukraine, and was a selected designer at World Stage Design 2017, Taipei. She is also a visiting professional at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
  • Peter Small Lighting Designer
    Peter is an Offie and Theatre & Technology Award nominated lighting designer working across theatre, dance and opera. Recent credits include Square Go (Roundabout and New York); Angry Alan (Soho Theatre and Aspen Fringe); Baby Reindeer, Do Our Best (Francesca Moody Productions Edinburgh Fringe); Radio (Arcola); Ad Libido (VAULT Festival, Edinburgh Fringe and Soho Theatre); YOU STUPID DARKNESS! (Theatre Royal Plymouth); Paines Plough Roundabout Tour productions 2017-19, including the Offie Nominated Black Mountain; A Girl In School Uniform (walks into a bar) (Offie and Theatre & Technology Award Nominated - New Diorama) and All or Nothing (West End and tour). Upcoming shows include Spiderfly for Theatre 503 and transferring Baby Reindeer to Bush Theatre, among others.
  • Dominic Kennedy Sound Designer
    Dominic Kennedy is a sound designer and music producer for performance and live events; he has a keen interest in developing new work and implementing sound and music at an early stage in a creative process. Dominic is a graduate from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, where he developed specialist skills in collaborative and devised theatre making, music composition and installation practices. His work often fuses found sound, field recordings, music composition and synthesis. Recent design credits include: Roundabout Season 2019 (Paines Plough); YOU STUPID DARKNESS! (Paines Plough/Theatre Royal Plymouth); Pop Music (Paines Plough/Birmingham REP/Latitude); Skate Hard Turn Left (Battersea Arts Centre); Roundabout Season 2019 (Paines Plough/Theatr Clwyd); Angry Alan (Soho); The Assassination of Katie Hopkins (Theatr Clwyd); With A Little Bit Of Luck (Paines Plough/BBC Radio 1Xtra); Ramona Tells Jim (Bush Theatre); And The Rest of Me Floats (Outbox Theatre); I Am A Tree (Jamie Wood); Box Clever (nabokov).
  • Hayley Chilvers Movement Director
    Hayley has extensive experience working as a dancer for physical theatre, dance and opera companies. Choreographers Hayley has worked with include, Rosie Whitney-Fish, Taira Foo, Natasha Kamjani, Katie Pearson and Kerry Fletcher. She has also worked with director Mark Murphy on the Cricket World Cup Opening Ceremony as a dancer and then as a choreography consultant for the ball boys and girls on his latest production of Rematch, an immersive recreation of the Wimbledon tennis final between Borg and McEnroe produced by Wimbledon. Hayley works as dancer and rehearsal director for The Natashas Project, an international physical theatre charity founded in 2013. Its aim is to use dance to inform and equip the public about Human Trafficking and Modern Day Slavery and support survivors through creative means by providing restorative workshops at safe houses across London. Hayley worked with Anna Morrissey during the creation of On Progress for Historic Royal Palaces at Hampton Court which she also later helped to revive as Anna’s rehearsal director. She then went on to work with Anna for an initial research and development phase, helping to create movement for Emilia which was first performed at the Globe and then went on to the West End at the Vaudeville Theatre. Hayley most recently worked with Stef O’Driscoll as associate movement director for Paines Plough on their Roundabout productions which are currently touring the UK, she is delighted to be working with Stef again on LIT.
  • Jonathan Holby Fight Director
  • Vicky Richardson CDG Casting Director
    Vicky is currently Associate Casting Director at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester and was previously Casting Associate at Donmar Warehouse. Credits as Casting Director include: Town Mouse and Country Mouse (Nottingham Playhouse); Of Kith and Kin (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield/Bush Theatre); Desire Under the Elms (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield); Macbeth; Romeo and Juliet; I Want My Hat Back (National Theatre); Breaking the Code (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester); Run the Beast Down (Finborough Theatre); Henry IV (Donmar Warehouse/St Ann's Warehouse); Constellations (Singapore Repertory Theatre); House/Amongst the Reeds (Clean Break); Archipelago (Lighthouse, Poole); Dinner with Friends (Park Theatre); Debris (Southwark Playhouse). Credits as Co-Casting Director include: Our Town; Persuasion; Twelfth Night (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester); Parliament Square (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester/Bush Theatre); The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui; Versailles (Donmar Warehouse); Shakespeare Trilogy (Donmar Warehouse/St Ann’s Warehouse); Dedication (Nuffield Southampton Theatres). Credits as Casting Consultant include: Misalliance; Low Level Panic; Each His Own Wilderness; Buckets (Orange Tree Theatre); Blue Heart (Tobacco Factory, Bristol/Orange Tree Theatre).
  • Jill Robertshaw Production Manager
  • Amber Jane Taylor Stage Manager