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In a holding room, participants wait. A pageant is about to begin. No call time, perpetual purgatory. Blending the myth of Orpheus with the DWP, TOM is a vertigo-inducing pop-culture collision of working class and queer expression.

Art form: Dance, physical theatre & circus, music
Age guidance:
60 minutes
Sensitive content:
Nudity, flashing light/strobe, loud music, simulation of violence
Space requirements:
Minimum 10 metres by 7 metres, at least 6 metres headspace


Show Description

With original live music and dance, TOM oscillates between hyper-speed pop, ambient waves, and auto-tune vocals. A boundary-pushing queer thriller, TOM is dripping in BULLYACHE’s signature brand of genre-bending artistry. Music, dance, visual art, and costumes are glue-gunned together in fragile harmonies.

BULLYACHE and cast burst into song, they fight, f***, live, laugh, and love… desperately deconstructing the heavy price of being in a world that demands too much.


Artist Information

BULLYACHE is a music-duo and dance company created between friends and artists Courtney Deyn and Jacob Samuel. Courtney and Jacob choreograph, direct, score, and conceptualise their work with movement research in collaboration with a company of dancers. BULLYACHE use performance as a site where dance, music, and performing arts meet.

BULLYACHE started during the pandemic and has since been supported by Arts Council England, PRS, Raze Collective, The Place, Hackney Showroom, Genesis Foundation, Palm Heights: Cayman Islands, and Bijloke LOD Muziektheater. They have been a part of Barbican Theatre Open Lab 2022/23, New Voice Composers of Sound and Music 2021, and a resident of the European Network Opera Association hosted by music institution Britten Pears.


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A group of seven performers wearing white facepaint with heavy blush angled upwards and bright lipstick stand in front of a red curtain. Their costumes are an assortment of colourful, thrifted, cropped, stitched together, with shiny and crinkly textures. Two performers are on all fours in the foreground, slightly out of focus, eyes closed, mouths open. The remaining five performers stand in the background, looking directly at the audience, some scowling, one with her mouth wide open, one smiling slightly.
TOM by BULLYACHE. Image by Harry Clarke.

TOM by BULLYACHE trailer