In celebration of 25 years of making “brilliant virtuoso physical comedy” (BBC R4 Saturday Review), Spymonkey are launching a new manifesto and programme of work for 2023 and beyond.

The last three years have seen major changes to the UK’s longest running comedy theatre company. Stephan Kreiss, one of the world’s greatest physical comedians, died tragically and quite unexpectedly in the summer of 2021. And co-founder Petra Massey began a long-term secondment to Spiegelworld’s Atomic Saloon variety show in Las Vegas in 2019.

Joint artistic director Toby Park reflects:

“After we lost Stephan, we did a lot of talking. We kept circling back to our shared journey over the last two decades, about making funny theatre, about the nature of laughter. About making each other laugh. Work that hovers in a space between the comedy and theatre that we have been navigating for the last 25 years.

And laughter in particular feels like an undervalued commodity right now.

What has emerged as a result of those conversations is a manifesto that defines our creative philosophy, and launch ourselves into what will be the next 25 years of work. We have called it Theatre of the Funny.”

The Theatre of the Funny manifesto can be found here:

Spymonkey’s work until 2019 nearly always included all four members of the ensemble performing on stage together, to the delight and acclaim of audiences around the world. Over the last years in addition to this, Spymonkey’s internationally recognised expertise in physical comedy has been brought to bear on productions ranging from the National Theatre’s Jack Absolute Flies Again (2022) and Tartuffe (2019), Royal Shakespeare Company’s Merry Wives of Windsor (2018), Chichester Festival Theatre’s Mack & Mabel (2015) and to work with the National Theatre of Finland and the international ‘Rote Nasen’ organisation of clown doctors around Europe. Their educational programme has also grown over the last 10 years to become highly sought-after professional training, with regular sell-out workshops in New York, Los Angeles and Europe.

So 2023 sees the company continuing this shift from performing their own shows to a creative producing house, directing and producing new work: Artistic Directors Toby Park and Aitor Basauri are at the creative helm of a number of new productions in 2023 and beyond, as well as developing new work which they will perform in.

New Work in 2023


Toby and Aitor direct this new production of Orpheus in the Underworld by Jacques Offenbach (and the source of the Can-Can, the work most famously associated with him) at the Vienna Volksoper, as part of the inaugural season of new artistic director Lotte de Beer. This will be Spymonkey’s first full-scale opera project, designed by Julian Crouch. Rehearsals begin 5th December at the Volksoper, with soloists from Vienna’s famed home of operetta, musical theatre and comic opera. They have also gathered a ‘skills chorus’ of supreme physical comedy and clown talent from around the world to perform this first foray into opera for Spymonkey.

Premiere 21st January, performances to 26th March 2023.

More information on the Volksoper website:


Laugh-out-loud comedy theatre for audiences aged 6-12 and their families.

Comedy-meets-rock-band-meets-punk-clown-mayhem, HAIRY is a playful and frankly laughable exploration of that most versatile and significant feature of human anatomy.

Spymonkey’s first show created specially for young people, HAIRY will have few words and great generous dollops of bold visual comedy. The show will be directed by Toby Park and Aitor Basauri, and will be a Polka Theatre Wimbledon and Worthing Theatres and Museum co-production.

Looking around at work for young people they saw wealth of stage versions of well-known illustrated children’s books, or the regularly mined canon of classic children’s literature. So they thought this would be a brilliant opportunity to use their experience to make a piece of laugh-out-loud, extraordinary and inventive theatre for young people that stands up on its own terms.

Spymonkey made their name being extremely un-sensible, silly and anarchic work and they relish the chance to bring that sensibility to work for younger audiences. Spymonkey unapologetically set out to make audiences laugh. But ‘funny’ also covers the strange, the odd, the misfitting, eccentric and unique, all of which they cherish in the sort of theatre that we like to make.

Polka Theatre Wimbledon 1st July – 20th August 2023
Worthing Theatres 24th-28th August 2023


Spymonkey are developing a new touring show to open in October 2023, in co-production with Royal & Derngate Northampton. Aitor and Toby will perform. Full details will be announced soon.

Please contact Emily Coleman ( for further details of any of the above information, including press and touring enquiries.

For all touring and press enquiries please contact executive producer Emily Coleman on