Hello all! We hope you are keeping safe and well in these confusing times. We thought that the second blog of the month would be a little different. We hope to excite and amaze you as we hail our famous Dutch partners, who have come all the way from the Netherlands to work with us in March 2022. They are the Ashton Brothers!

Who are the Ashton Brothers?

“While influenced by Monty Python, the Ashton Brothers are agile, adept and funny enough to fill their shoes”. This quote, received in a five-star review of UK’s edition of Metro sums it all up, really. The Ashton Brothers are a new generation of performing artists: they are young and wild but truly skilled. Their work is inspired by old circus and variety acts, modern and traditional music, comedy, acrobatics, and slapstick.

The Ashton Brothers are named Pim Muda, Joost Spijkers en Friso van Vemde Oudejans. They are able to create an astonishing atmosphere in every theatre where they perform. May it be in their home base of The Netherlands or abroad in Belgium, Spain, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Switzerland, and Canada. We are very pleased to welcome them to the UK and are very excited about the work we can create together. We share a particular passion with them which is indeed, clowning.

Two white men are sitting in chairs looking backwards over their shoulders. They are wearing matching sparkly silver cowboy outfits with pink cowboy hats.

The Ashton Brothers ‘Ashtonia’


The Ashton Brother’s work

Their most recent work is Paleis der Wonderen (Palace of Wonders). In which the theatre is transformed into a Dickensian Winter Wonderland, in a Musical family performance full of spectacle, acrobatics, comedy, and poetry.

One of their most influential pieces of work has been creating their own Free State Ashtonia in 2018. Ashtonia can be found at the Zeist theatre in the Netherlands and is a place where visitors can expect to see acrobatics, slapstick, clowning, musicality, and taste good food. They also use sensory elements in their performances and we are truly excited to learn from them, collaborate with them, and see what we can make together.

A dark stage with blue curtains around the edge and top of the stage. The left and right of the stage are dimly lit highlighting three men dressed in long red tail coats, red bowler hats, playing instruments.

The Ashton Brothers ‘Ashtonia’


What work are we going to create with them?

The brothers will be staying with us for a week’s residency from Monday 21st March – Friday 25th  March as part of our Space to Explore project. They will be working with a group of young people and Open Theatre practitioners over a week to share their skills and devise some theatre. There will be a sharing on the Friday evening of a work-in-progress from the week.

How can you see it?

The work-in-progress sharing will be for an invited audience only, but we will be sharing behind-the-scenes updates throughout the week on our social media channels using the #StuffAndNonsense – follow us on:

Facebook – OpenTheatreCompany

Instagram – open_theatre_co/

Twitter – Open_Theatre_Co

And of course, you can see the fantastic work of The Ashton Brothers on their YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/user/AshtonBrothersNL

Here’s a clip of The Ashton Brothers that gives you a taste of their work:


Ashton Brothers (ND) [Online] Available from <https://www.linkedin.com/company/ashton-brothers/about/> [07/01/2022]

Ashton Brothers (ND) [Online] Available from <https://www.ashtonbrothers.nl/> [07/01/2022]