Bill Bryden's Cottesloe Company, which flourished at Peter Hall's National Theatre, was the English theatre's only true ensemble of the last thirty or so years. Impossible Plays tells the story of the company and the many actors and musicians connected to it. Co-written by Keith Dewhurst, author of eight plays for the group, and Jack Shepherd, a founder-actor, it explains the ideas behind the company's work and how the work was staged, and provides an idiosyncratic, lively and deeply personal take on the company. "The search was always to find a popular theatre, a form of theatre that would draw into it people from all backgrounds, not just the cultured and the educated." Beginning with a Royal Court Theatre Sunday night performance in 1970, the story of one company's aim to create a popular theatre form includes such milestone productions as The Mystery cycle of plays and Lark Rise to Candleford. With photographs by John Haynes, Michael Mayhew and Nobby Clark, Impossible Plays is a glorious and timely tribute to one of theatre's most innovative companies.
Keith Dewhust wrote eight of the plays produced by the Cottesloe Company, including Lark Rise to Candleford. Jack Shepherd, a leading actor of his generation, was one of the founding actors of the Cottesloe Company as well as being a playwright. In 2005 his play Man Falling Down: A Mask Play was staged at the Globe Theatre, London.