The Unreturning

By Anna Jordan



A Frantic Assembly & Theatre Royal Plymouth Production

The Unreturning was first performed on 20th September 2018 at The Drum, Theatre Royal Plymouth

This post is written by: Scott Graham Artistic Director

To celebrate 10 years of Ignition we decided to create a show inspired by the impact the program has had on its participants and using only those graduates. There were many clear success stories but one of the things that fascinated Neil Bettles and myself were the stories about what happened after the intensity of that week making work together in London. What happens when you go home? Do you feel the same? Do you see things differently? How does home see you?

This was the beginning and once we had engaged writer Anna Jordan our focus shifted to the greater issue of displacement caused by conflict.

Neil Bettles was to direct his first full scale show for Frantic and I kept to the periphery. This was only right as he had been with Ignition all the way but it was a new experience for me! Neil certainly seized that opportunity with both hands!

We assembled a cracking team of collaborators but I was taken by the level of collaboration and generosity each brought to the project. It was so inspiring to see them finish each other’s ideas and take the work to a new level.

Our cast of Ignition graduates were not bad either! Jared Garfield, Joe Layton, Jonnie Riordan and Kieton Saunders-Browne grew as a team and as individuals and totally blew me away with their power and slick invention.

I had said to Neil that one of my ambitions was that people would see a show that might be a little rough around the edges but would be a brilliant advocate of what Ignition can do. What Neil and his team created was a hugely impressive, moving and precise piece of work that totally transcended that ambition.


Anna Jordan
Neil Bettles
Set and Projection Design:
Andrzej Goulding
Sound Design:
Pete Malkin
Lighting Design:
Zoe Spurr
Associate Director:
Jessica Williams
Costume Designer:
Lily Arnold


All four members of the cast for The Unreturning were part of the Ignition programme before they went on to train professionally and pursue acting careers.