Shouting About:

We’re delighted to announce that, thanks to a National Lottery grant from Arts Council England, we’ll be starting to work on SPITZER’S OWLS (working title) over the summer. This will be a collaboration between Richard Crowe (writer), Ben Sutcliffe (composer), Zaid Al-Rikabi (composer) and a visual artist we are recruiting now (see the advert below).

Ben and Zaid are co-founders of The Peoples’ String Foundation, described by conductor and composer, Charles Hazlewood, as “one of the great wonders of the West. Stonking, earthy, organic, delicate & barn-storming.”

Creative Producer, Emma Bettridge, who has worked with the likes of Kneehigh and Bristol Old Vic, and Director, Ged Stephenson, one half of Shoebox Theatre, make up the rest of the creative team.

While visiting his aged schoolmaster, a boy’s imagination is sparked by a staircase hung with images of owls by artists from around the world. A gift, a print by one of the artists, connects the boy to the magic and colour of the circus, and the despair of the concentration camps.

The relationships the boy makes now, with his teacher, with art, with artists, and the values he learns, will inspire him for a lifetime…

Focussing on the relationship between Walter Strachan, a poet, collector and master at an English public school, and Walter Spitzer, a Polish/Jewish artist, survivor of the holocaust, the play takes as its theme the schism between man’s capacity for extreme inhumanity and selfless humanity for his fellow man.



Thanks to funding from the National Lottery and Arts Council England, Over the Wall Productions CIC is developing a new play, SPITZER’S OWLS (working title), that will be devised by playwright, Richard Crowe, and two musicians, Ben Sutcliffe and Zaid Al-Rikabi (of The Peoples’ String Foundation) working with a visual artist/set designer.

The play explores the relationship between Walter Spitzer, a Polish artist and holocaust survivor, and Walter Strachan, an English public school master and connoisseur/collector of art work. It takes place between Auschwitz, a Parisian street café and in Strachan’s house in Bishop’s Stortford, and revolves around a staircase, hung with prints, etchings and lithographs of owls.

In the first instance, the playwright, musicians and artist will work together to create the language of the play and help establish the different worlds the characters inhabit at different points in time. It is envisaged musicians and artist will work closely with the actors and will perform with them on stage to create each performance afresh.

The artist will be expected to produce sketches/drawings both as part of the set design and as part of each performance.

We are interested to hear from any artists/designers/performers who are excited to respond to this challenge and feel they can fulfil its remit. The details here are minimal, we want you to create your own, unique contribution to this collaborative process. But please do contact Richard Crowe at for more details and to discuss further.

This project will be delivered in three phases:

Summer/Autumn 2021                                  Research and Development (14 days July-November)

Spring 2022                                                    Making

Autumn 2022                                                  Performances/tour

The fee offered for the first phase of the project is £2,000

Expressions of interest in any of these formats – MP3, MP4, PowerPoint, Word – should be sent to Richard Crowe at by 12 noon on Tuesday 1st June 2021

While we would encourage everyone excited by this opportunity to respond, we would particularly welcome responses from women and people of colour as we are under-represented in these areas.

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