What Once Was Ours (2017)

White Horse Road
5 Oct - 24 Nov 2017
Age range: 12-18
What Once Was Ours promotional image What Once Was Ours promotional image
  • Co-production Half Moon and Zest Theatre
  • by Devised and scripted by the Company

Katie and Callum couldn’t be any more distant and disconnected: different heritage, different cities, different opportunities. Except there is one thing they’ll always have in common: Dad. What happens when Callum suddenly turns up in desperate need of help?

Created against the background of Brexit, What Once Was Ours has been developed through direct contact with young people across the country and uses their words and opinions to explore how politics and national values impact on the complex lives of one family.

Beautiful imagery, striking original music and immersive design combined to create this powerful new production for young people, which asked why we’ve become so fearful of anyone who is different from us.

What Once Was Ours was a Zest Theatre and Half Moon co-production: an exciting collaboration by two of the UK’s leading companies creating work for young people.

What Once Was Our undertook a 26 venue national tour in Autumn 2017 following its opening and a week’s run at Half Moon. As part of this week, a youth led day took place which included a series of workshops and discussions celebrating Black History Month.

What Once Was Ours won Best Production for Young People Aged 13+ at the Offies, the Off West End Theatre Awards on Sunday 4 March 2018. This was the first time the award has been presented, as it was a new category for 2018.

The research and development creatives were Jenny Daniels, Toby Ealden, Chris Elwell, Laura Hopwood and Luke Vernon. This phase took place during the Autumn of 2016 with a series of residencies with young people from 2 areas in the UK that voted ‘Leave’ (Barnsley and Boston, Lincolnshire) and 2 areas that voted ‘Remain’ (Tower Hamlets and Newcastle) in the 2016 Referendum. This work culminated in a ‘workshare’ of the script at Half Moon in November 2016. The centres who worked with the creative team at this time were Bishop Challoner Catholic Federation of Schools, London E1; Horizon Academy, Barnsley; Giles Academy, Boston and Sunderland College.

Supported through public money from the National Lottery through Arts Council England together with London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Garfield Weston Foundation, Winship Foundation, CAW Foundation, The Space and BBC Arts.

You can access the script of this play via the British Library’s MPS Modern Playscripts Collection.

Production photos

Cast List

  • Pippa Beckwith Katie
  • Jaz Hutchins Callum

Creative Team

  • Toby Ealden Director
  • Verity Quinn Designer
  • Guy Connelly Sound Designer
  • Chris Elwell Writer/Dramaturg
  • Phil Clarke Lighting Designer and Production Manager


Listen To Us

Listen to the honest opinions of young people left voiceless during Brexit.

Thanks to Arts Council England, The Space and BBC Arts.


Marketing and Education packs



About the show

360° Voices

Press play, put in your headphones and immerse yourself in a 360° world of real young voices and opinions. As the show tours the country giving a voice to the generation left unheard during Brexit.

(To watch 360° videos, you need the latest version of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, or MS Edge on your computer. On mobile devices, use the latest version of the YouTube app. OR, head over to our Facebook channel for the most immersive 360° interaction.)

Thanks to Arts Council England, The Space and BBC Arts

Reviews and press

Offies Acceptance Speech

What Once Was Ours won Best Production for Young People Aged 13+ at the Offies, the Off West End Theatre Awards.

The awards were presented in a ceremony at The Albany in Deptford on Sunday 4 March 2018.

Offies award ceremony

Offies press


Development phase

Script Extract