Monkeywood first emerged on the scene in 2003 when three likeminded actors, Francesca Waite, Martin Gibbons and James Harris, met while working for a Theatre in Education group in the north east, touring educational plays to children. As many of you will know, TIE means you do everything; drive, get-in, perform and get-out. Though tiring, it can be great fun and gives a fantastic grounding to learn everything involved in theatre production. As the school term ended, they began thinking about the next job and a discussion about setting up their own company came up. Surely all they'd need is a play, a venue and a name?
Monkeywood's first production, Closer by Patrick Marber, was chosen because of the fantastic writing and opportunity for each actor to portray a challenging character, regardless of the copyright fee. It was produced in a disused Chapel, a rather unlikely theatre venue but one used for fringe theatre in Manchester. Since the early days of 2003 the group has developed and moved over to the north west, losing founder member James to stand up comedy and short films with his own company, Shameless Films. The group sought another member and were pleased to welcome Sarah McDonald Hughes, the new chimp on the block.