Backstage in Biscuit Land

Touretteshero and Battersea Arts Centre Co-Production


Writer, artist and play-worker, Jess Thom co-founded Touretteshero in 2010 to celebrate and share the creativity and humour of Tourettes Syndrome. Taking on the identity of part-time superhero Touretteshero, she has turned her tics into a source of creative energy to spread the word about this frequently misunderstood neurological condition via a wide range of artistic channels. The company aims to increase awareness of the disorder and its challenges without self-pity or mockery; and makes work that turns the laughter associated with Tourettes into a genuinely funny cultural alternative.

Inspired by Thom’s urge to say ‘biscuit’ 16,000 times a day, Backstage in Biscuit Land is the company’s first foray into theatre. Premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2014, the show received huge critical acclaim and went on to win the Total Theatre 'Emergent Company' Award. Made in collaboration with established performer/puppeteer Jess Mabel Jones (AKA Chopin), it embraces unpredictability; weaving comedy, puppetry, song together with Thom’s wonderfully spontaneous movements and vocal interventions to tell a powerful story about the nature of theatre and the etiquettes and prejudices that can sometimes lead to the exclusion of people who don’t or can’t conform.


In the press

“The blessed Jess Thom... open, funny, frank, intelligent and enchantingly entertaining” Stephen Fry, Welcome to Biscuit Land foreword

“Extraordinarily entertaining… An adventure in every way” ★★★★ Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

Production details

  • Devisor

    Jess Thom, Jess Mabel Jones, Matthew Pountney
  • Number of people on stage

  • Number of people in touring company

    4 (2 actors, 2 technical and personal support)
  • Freight

    Excess baggage
  • Touring Availability

    September 2015 - September 2017
  • Scale of venue

    Small-scale (capacity up to 400),
    Middle-scale (capacity 400-850),
    Unconventional Space
  • Minimum performance space

    5m x 5m
  • Text-based

    Medium (some text with a strong visual/physical element)
  • Also contains:

    Interactivity, Strong Language

In Edinburgh

  • Venue

    Pleasance Two, Pleasance Courtyard
  • Production dates

    24-30 AUGUST
  • Production times

  • Duration

    60 MINS (no interval)
  • Audience capacity




Touretteshero has extensive experience delivering a wide variety of supplementary activities including:

Talks and Training:
Jess Thom is an experienced and poplar public speaker and has given talks on Tourettes, disability issues, campaigning, creativity and play.
Touretteshero also offers formal training, talks and Q&A sessions

Education, Workshops and Events:
Touretteshero has worked extensively with children and young people, with a specialism in inclusive play and creative activities including Touch tours, Tic-inspired drawing workshops and Superhero costume making activities.