The Carrier Frequency

Studio Theatre  
Main image description

The Carrier Frequency, Impact Theatre’s collaboration with the novelistRussell Hoban, was one of the Eighties’ most outstanding and influential theatre shows. It is set in a post-nuclear world,where brutalised steel and concrete structures rise from a giant pool of water. It depicts six figures lost in an absurd and exhausting ritual, trying to revive a departed civilisation. Despite it’s harrowing subject matter, the show retains moments of ludicrous slapstick and verbal wit. When it exploded on the world in 1984 it caused a sensation.

As part of Birmingham’s Towards The Millenium 80’s Festival, Stan’s Cafe invited a number of guest artists to help revive the show. Working from a documentation video, using the original soundtrack and text a version of The Carrier Frequency was staged fifteen years after it’s premiere.

Many of the issues raised by this restaging were discussed in a seminar Archaeology, Repertory and Theatre Inheritance. Live Art Magazine produced asubstantial programme for the production including a series of essays.

We often get asked about videos of our staging or Impact’s original. Unfortunately due to the complications of copyright we cannot offer either for loan or sale.


The Carrier Frequency
by Impact Theatre Cooperative
and Russell Hoban
restaged by Stan’s Cafe and guests

Heather Burton (The People Show, Third Angel)
Cait Davis (David Glass Ensemble, Frantic Assembly)
Mike Kirchner (Talking Birds)

Jake Oldershaw (TG. Bulk, Stan’s Cafe, Reckless Sleepers, Wendy Houstoun)
Graeme Rose (Glory What Glory, Stan’s Cafe, Insomniac Productions, The Resurrectionists, Red Shift)
Charlotte Vincent (Vincent Dance Theatre, Volcano Theatre, Dance Republic, Cut Back Community Theatre)

Lighting: Paul Arvidson
Sound Operation: Brian Duffy
Set Design: Janet Vaughan
Set Construction: Mark Anderson and Craig Stephens
Production Photographs: Ed Dimsdale
Direction: James Yarker
Administration: Paulette Brien

With thanks to:
Blissbody, Jaki & Andy, Peter & Catherine, Marketing Department at MAC, Anthony Sargent & Birmingham City Council, all at the Crescent Theatre, Birmingham Rep, liveart magazine, DanceXchange – the national dance agency for Birmingham, John MacKinnon, Matthew Davison,Impact & Russell Hoban for their support and co-operation.

Original Performance

Impact’s Members were: Pete Brooks, Richard Hawley, Tyrone Huggins, Claire MacDonald, Graeme Miller, Steve Shill. Niki Johnson joined in 1982 and Heather Ackroyd in 1983.

The Carrier Frequency was devised and performed by
Heather Ackroyd
Richard Hawley
Niki Johnson
Claire MacDonald
Graeme Miller
Steve Shill
Bigsay Voice: Russell Hoban
Singer: Nicholas Hyde
Soundtrack: Graeme Miller and Steve Shill
Set design:Simon Vincenzi
Text: Russell Hoban
Direction: Pete Brooks
Publicity photos: Matthew Davison
Documentation and promotional videos: Steve Lipman
Tour technicians: Roy Allam and Andrew Poppy
Additional performers: Pete Brooks, Vic Karvchencko, Philip MacKenzie, Trevor Stuart and Rena Vets.
Freya Pinsent was Impact’s administrator from 1983-85 and Vic Kravchencko managed the company on tour in Europe.

The show premiered, thanks to John Sowerby, in Leeds at The Ralph Thorsby Community Centre, 30th October, 1984 and was last performed on 26th April, 1986 in Warsaw.

Tour Dates

  • 30th April – 1st May 1999:
    Crescent Theatre, Birmingham