Islands, or how to play dirty and get away with it

Caroline Horton & Co, with China Plate and the Bush Theatre


Currently an Associate at Birmingham Rep, Caroline Horton is an award-winning writer/performer who makes playful experimental work addressing universal social agendas and sometimes difficult subject matter in accessible, engaging and affecting ways.  Her work, made with a wide range of collaborators from both the theatre and non-theatre sectors, is text-driven but always incorporates physical storytelling and strong visual imagery and design. Committed to reaching the broadest audiences possible, her shows have been presented in a diverse range of spaces - from rural village halls to schools and universities, from hospitals and nursing homes to studio theatres and festivals - both in the UK and internationally. 

Transposed to ‘Haven’ - a bizarre and monstrous world where no-one has to pay for anything - Islands is a black comedy about tax avoidance, enormous greed and the privileged few who have it all. Devised in consultation with The Tax Justice Network and drawing on the grotesque style of bouffon theatre, the show spits in the face of polite, political debate.

Islands was commissioned by Warwick Arts Centre and Harlow Playhouse.


In the press

"…the year’s most talked about piece of theatre" Andrew Haydon, Postcards From The Gods

"a disgusting, exuberant, foul, eloquent, lavatorial, piece of popular theatre mashed up with performance art" Dan Rebellato

Production details

  • Writer

    Caroline Horton
  • Devisor

    Caroline Horton, John Biddle, Seiriol Davies, Hannah Ringham, Simon Startin
  • Director

    Omar Elerian
  • Designer

    Oli Townsend
  • Number of people on stage

  • Number of people in touring company

  • Freight


    Costume, Fake Dead Deer, 5x props boxes, Assorted set, diving board structure (flatpack to 2.5x2.5x1m). This will pack to 15m x 15m volume.

  • Touring Availability

    2016 – 2017
  • Scale of venue

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

    5m x 10m
  • Text-based

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

    Sexually Explicit Material, Strong Language, Violence

In Edinburgh

  • Venue

    The Dissection Room, Summerhall
  • Production dates

    22 – 29 AUGUST
  • Production times

    1405 – 1545
  • Duration

    100 MINS (no interval)
  • Audience capacity

    100 – 300



Devising, writing and bouffon workshops offered.

Caroline specialises in making work in collaboration with non-theatre experts including psychiatrists, psychologists, activists, economists and political scientists. Islands can be performed in conjunction with panel discussions/foyer installations/workshops about tax justice created/curated in conjunction with international and local experts and the Tax Justice Network.

Additional productions

You're Not Like The Other Girls Chrissy, Mess