While We’re Here (2017)

Up In Arms, the Bush Theatre and Farnham Maltings present


by Barney Norris

Eddie and Carol were lovers once, but their lives went in different directions. Now they meet again on a park bench in a town full of memories, and find something still burns between them. A moving new play from acclaimed touring theatre company Up In Arms in co-production with the Bush Theatre and Farnham Maltings, supported by Arts Council England with development seeding by house.

In 2017, we had the great honour of returning to the Bush Theatre to make the inaugural production in their new studio space. It was a great feeling to be asked to open a theatre, and to be part of the life of the Bush once more. The play we made, While We’re Here, was the product of years of embedded research in communities across our stomping ground, the south of England. Years of touring had made us aware of a kind of unrepresented experience that no one in the theatre seemed to talk about very much – the experience of ordinary people, you and me, almost all of us who have to deal with the limits of our lives, who sometimes feel like we’re living at a tangent to the cultural centre. We wanted to make a play that articulated this experience. Supported by Farnham Maltings, we set out to find the voices we wanted in our play, and found our way to an enterprising arts centre in the Hammpshire town of Havant, The Spring, who helped us discover a whole new community. This community was made up of good hearted, hard working individuals who simply didn’t seem to be represented in the cultural conversation taking place on our TVs, radios, stages or pages. It felt like a real coup to put them front and centre of the Bush’s agenda, and when BBC Radio 4 agreed to broadcast the play across the nation in June 2018, we really felt like we’d done something valuable – carved out a corner for the quiet people of England struggling to live the best lives they could to be heard and loved and celebrated.


Andrew French – Eddie

Tessa Peake-Jones – Carol


Writer | Barney Norris

Director | Alice Hamilton

Designer | James Perkins

Lighting Designer | Sally Ferguson

Composer and Sound Designer | Dom Coyote

Costume Supervisor | Victoria Smart

Production Manager | Jasmine Sandalli

Company Stage Manager | Charlie Young

Deputy Stage Manager | Ashley Illman

Assistant Stage Manager | Beth Absalom

Producer | Sarah Wilson for Farnham Maltings

While We're Here


Bush Theatre, London | 26 April – 27 May 2017

The North Wall, Oxford | 5 June – 8 June 2017

Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol | 9 June – 10 June 2017

The Spring, Havant | 13 June – 14 June 2017

Salisbury Playhouse | 15 June – 17 June 2017

BBC Radio 4 | 22 June 2018