Slap Talk

Action Hero


Award-winning Bristol-based duo Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse have been creating interdisciplinary performance together for the past decade; touring to more than twenty countries across five continents. With the live experience at the heart of everything they do, their work takes many different forms and explores the iconography of popular culture and its use, both as a weapon and as a shared cultural memory. A book of six of their works, including Slap Talk, has been published by Oberon.

Slap Talk is a durational work that’s funny and entertaining but also dark, complex and deeply unsettling. For six uninterrupted hours, Action Hero read from autocues whilst audiences - who can come and go as they please - simultaneously watch the live performance and a video feed from a camera to a monitor. Over time the gestures, codes, images and rhetoric of popular culture (and by extension everyday life) are playfully re-rendered, reversed and repeated until the foundations of violence inherent in the clichéd languages and texts of contemporary culture are thoroughly exhausted.

Please note that tickets for Slap Talk allow multiple entry to the 6 hour durational show. Delegates can attend any time during the performance hours (1500-2100) and are encouraged to stay for a minimum of 1hr or to visit more than once.

In the press

"Poetic and playful and tough and unsentimental" Total Theatre

"The ultimate discursive arena, interrogating the construction and application of dialogue and performance" This is Tomorrow

Production details

  • Devisor

    Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse
  • Number of people on stage

  • Number of people in touring company

  • Freight


    No freight is necessary if some items can be locally sourced

  • Touring Availability

    From September 2017
  • Scale of venue

    Small-scale (capacity up to 400),
    Unconventional Space
  • Minimum performance space

    8m x 4m
  • Text-based

    Dense (important for audiences to have a good understanding of English)
  • Also contains:

    Strong Language

In Edinburgh

  • Venue

    Codebase, 38 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh EH3 9DZ
  • Production dates

    22 AND 25 AUGUST
  • Production times

  • Duration

    6 hours (Please note the performance is durational. Audience members can enter/leave any time. It is encouraged for audience members to plan to stay for a minimum of 1hr, or to visit more than once.)
  • Audience capacity

    Approx 50, with some additional standing room



Action Hero can provide workshops and master classes for students or practitioners as well as lectures. The company are experienced teachers and have taught up to Masters level in the UK. The company are interested in residencies as a way of facilitating a deeper engagement with audiences and partners.

Additional productions

Hoke’s Bluff: studio work presented as part of Edinburgh Showcase 2013
Extraordinary Rendition: one to one piece
Oh Europa: 6 month long project in 2018 in which the company drive through Europe creating a performance as they go