Mass-Observation | Inspector Sands | Almeida Theatre, London

Mass Observation

Inspector Sands
Fri 13 Jul 2012 - Sat 14 Jul 2012

Coronation Day, 1937: A young woman stumbles into a revolutionary rally and falls in love.

Jubilee Weekend, 2012: A young man with a terrible hangover is stranded in a retirement home with no mobile signal.

"We are all cogs in a vast and complicated machine. It may turn out to be an infernal machine which could blow us all to smithereens."
Tom Harrisson and Charles Madge, Mass Observation: Britain (1938)

Award-winning Inspector Sands explores 95 years gone by in a flash and an afternoon that lasts an eternity.

" charged and heartbreaking as anything you will see on stage."
Lyn Gardner, Guardian

Mass Observation was commissioned by the Almeida Theatre and The New Wolsey Theatre. Supported by The Corn Exchange Newbury. Developed with support from The Darkroom, Edinburgh International Festival, Southbank Centre, National Theatre Studio, Ovalhouse and Battersea Arts Centre. With thanks to Shoreditch Town Hall, The Michael Croft Theatre and the Mass Observation Archive. Supported by the Arts Council England.

Read what the Press have to say about Inspector Sands

“Inspector Sands keep you on your toes from the very first moment to the last. They are brilliant and reckless, precise and inventive, intelligent and frank. Don’t miss them!”
New York Theatre Guide

Mass Observation

" charged and heartberaking as anything you will see on stage."
Lynn Gardner, The Guardian

"...funny, touching and full of lightly worn wisdom...full of delicious flourishes...a quirkily compelling show."
Sam Marlowe, The Times

If That's All There Is

"The newest work by Inspector Sands, a young company with a big talent, is an acutely observed, often surreal and sometimes painfully funny comedy” 
The Times

“Magnificently staged. Delirious jolts of madness. Perfect entertainment for anyone who has ever dreamed for a fleeting irresponsible moment of killing a loved one.”
The New York Times


"…the excellent Inspector Sands..."
The Herald

“Beautifully observed… I laughed until I cried.”
The Guardian

“One of the gems of the London International Mime Festival... Hysteria is a rib and mind-tickling delight.”
The Times


Since forming in 2005, Inspector Sands has created two critically acclaimed full-length shows, Hysteria and If That’s All There Is, which have toured extensively in the UK and internationally to countries including China, Russia, the USA, Romania and Germany. They received the Edinburgh International Festival Fringe Award in 2009 for If That’s All There Is and were the winners of both the Total Theatre Award 2006 and Brighton Argus Angel Award 2007 for Hysteria. Other projects include a site specific commission for the Southbank Centre's Festival of Britain 60th anniversary and several new works in development including Rock Pool (a show for under-5's which recently won the Sprout commission) and A Life In 22 Minutes (a solo piece). Inspector Sands have recently been commissioned by the Without Walls consortium to develop a new outdoor piece.


Created by Inspector Sands (Lucinka Eisler, Giulia Innocenti, Ben Lewis) and Lu Kemp. Text by Ben Lewis.

Lu Kemp

Lu is Associate Artist with Inspector Sands for whom she directed If That’s All There Is. Lu works as a director and dramaturge of new writing, devised work and dance. Recent work includes: One Thousand Paper Cranes, part of the Made In Scotland Showcase 2011 and winner of Edinburgh Guide Best Scottish Contribution to Drama on the Fringe; Titus, an adaptation of the Flemish play by Jan Sobrie, currently touring Austria, Norway, Hong Kong and Singapore; The 13 Midnight Challenges of Angelus Diablo by Carl Grose for the RSC at Latitude. Lu will be directing Arabian Nights for the Tricycle Theatre later this year. Lu trained on the LEM at Lecoq, Paris, and with Anne Bogart’s SITI Company, New York.

Jamie Vartan

Jamie has worked extensively nationally & internationally as a designer in theatre, opera & dance, representing the UK at Prague Quadrennials in 1999, 2007 & 2011. Work includes 3 years as designer and artist-in-residence for the David Glass Ensemble on The Lost Child Trilogy, with residencies in Vietnam, the Phillippines, Indonesia, China & Colombia. Opera work includes designs for Malmo Opera, La Scala Milan, Teatro Farnese Parma, and Teatro Sao Carlos Lisbon. Recent designs for theatre include Misterman, for Galway Arts Festival 2011 (Irish Theatre Awards Best Set Design), St Anne's Warehouse, New York, and the National Theatre, London (Lyttleton ).

Andrzej Goulding
Video Designer

Andrzej trained in Set and Costume design on the Theatre Design course at Central Saint Martins in London. Video Designs Include: Twelfth Night (Fort Canning, Singapore), Carousel (Opera North), DNA (Hull Truck, Tour), Silent Night (Minnesota Opera), Maria (Wexford Opera House), Orlando (Glasgow Opera House, Festival Theatre Edinburgh), Enlightenment (Hampstead Theatre), Fried Rice Paradise (Esplanade Theatre, Singapore), The Last Witch (Royal Lyceum Theatre, Edinburgh), The Pros, The Cons and a Screw (Derby Theatre), Speed the Plow (Old Vic Theatre), Street Scene (Young Vic, Tour), Varjak Paw (Linbury Studio, Tour), Feather Boy (National Theatre Studio), The Real Thing (Salisbury Playhouse)

Elena Pena
Sound Designer

Sound Design credits include: White Noise (MAC Birmingham), Brimstone & Treacle (Arcola), The Littlest Quirky (Theatre Centre), 12 Years (BBC Radio 4 Drama), Macbeth (China Plate), Polar Molar (MacRobert), The Village Social (National Theatre Wales), Bette & Joan: The Final Curtain (Foursight/ Jacksons Lane), Portait of the Ordinary Festival-goer (South Bank), Quimeras (Edinburgh International Festival), Love & Money (ArtsEd), Mass Observation (WIP - Edinburgh International Festival), The 13 Midnight Challenges of Angelus Diablo (RSC), Gambling (Soho Theatre), Under Milk Wood (Northampton Royal), Unbroken (Gate Theatre), Plasticine (Southwark Playhouse), The House of Yes (Birmingham School of Acting), Building Babble (Attic People), Fish Story (People Can Run), Punch and Judy Redux (Dissentertainment), The Kreutzer Sonata (Gate Theatre – Associate), 3rd Ring Out (Metis – Associate), If That’s All There Is (Inspector Sands – Associate). Sound Credits Include: Festival of Firsts, Summer Collection, Dalston Songs, Voices Across the World, Royal Opera House Linbury.

Hansjörg Schmidt
Lighting Designer

Hansjörg is a lighting designer, and Programme Director Lighting Design at Rose Bruford College. He graduated with a BA (First Class Honours) in Theatre Arts from Goldsmiths College, University of London and an MSc Built Environment: Light and Lighting from the Bartlett School, UCL. Hansjörg’s research interests lie in the area of lighting, site-specificity and narrative, and he has presented papers on his lighting for two innovative performance projects at Design Symposia in Zurich, Riga and Cardiff: Kursk (also published, Blue Pages Magazine, Spring 2010) and Under Glass. Hansjörg is currently preparing two research-led installations, for the Camillo 2.0 Festival aan der Werf in Utrecht, and the Prague Quadrennial 2011. Recent lighting designs in London: On Ageing and The Forest (Fevered Sleep), Kursk (Young Vic), Under Glass and An Anatomy in Four Quarters (clod ensemble), Wedding Day at the Cro-Magnons (Soho Theatre).

China Plate

China Plate is a partnership between Paul Warwick and Ed Collier supported by Producer Rosie Kelly and Associate Producer Lucy Moore that delivers innovative artistic development opportunities, acts as a conduit for collaboration and encourages leaps into unknown creative territory.  China Plate’s growing portfolio of projects and partnerships seek to develop artists, art-form and audiences through four main strands of work: artist development, artist training, producing and programming. China Plate is currently producing work with Caroline Horton, Inspector Sands and Action Hero and are the Associate Producers at Warwick Arts Centre.







Lucinka Eisler
Co-Creator & Performer

Lucinka is Joint Artistic Director of Inspector Sands and has co-created and performed in all of their shows to date. Other acting work includes The Pirate Project (Lucy Foster/ Improbable), Macbeth - The Abuse of Power (Contender Charlie/ China Plate - Warwick Arts Centre), Short Stories: Florence Nightingale (BBC/ Lambent), The Three Minute Miracle (Suzy Almond - Soho Theatre, in development) and projects with Shunt, Shams, The Plasticine Men and Wonderful Beast. Directing credits include Rock Pool (upcoming for Inspector Sands), A Life in 22 Minutes (Inspector Sands - Pulse), Reykjavik (Shams - Roundhouse), Generation (Central School) and A Quiet Afternoon (Riverside Studios/ national touring). As assistant director Lucinka has worked with Rufus Norris (National Theatre, Young Vic), Theatre O (Barbican) and Di Trevis (Royal Opera House). 


Stephen Harper

Stephen’s recent work includes We Love You City at The Belgrade Theatre; War Horse and Theatre of Blood with the National Theatre; Laurel and Hardy at the New Vic Theatre; I’m a Fool to Want You, Shoot me in the Heart, I Weep at my Piano and Don’t Laugh It’s my Life with Told by an Idiot; Home from Home at Polka; 1966 World Cup Final and Ben Hur for BAC; and Commonnonsense at Reykjavik City Theatre. He has also worked with Trestle, Hoi Polloi, Brouhaha, English Shakespeare Co., Clod Ensemble, The Gate Theatre, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Sheffield Crucible.




Giulia Innocenti
Co-Creator & Performer

Giulia is Joint Artistic Director of Inspector Sands and has co-created and performed in all of their shows to date. Acting credits include: Wagner Dream (The Barbican); One Thousand Paper Cranes (Catherine Wheels), Madam Butterfly (ENO); The 13 Midnight Challenges of Angelus Diablo (RSC/Latitude); 1984 (Blind Summit); Cymbeline (Kneehigh); …Sisters (The Gate/Headlong); Pinocchio (Theatre Royal Northampton); Low Life (Blind Summit); Macbeth (New Wolsey); Lady Macbeth (Quebracho Theatre, Lille); Peer Gynt (Arcola Theatre). For radio: A Continuity Man (BBC Radio).  She was co-founder of Attic People, whose Drip (NSDF award; Tap Water Award) toured the UK and internationally. Giulia will be performing in A Life in 22 Minutes (solo piece) and Rock Pool for Inspector Sands. Giulia trained at the Jacques Lecoq School in Paris. 

Amanda Lawrence

Amanda trained at Bretton Hall college. Her theatre credits include: Government inspector (Young Vic); Greenland (National Theatre); Henry The Eighth, Anne Boleyn (The Globe); Gambling (Soho Theatre), Jiggery Pokery (One-woman Show BAC/tour); Brief Encounter, Cymbeline, Nights at The circus, Tristan and Yseult, The Wooden Frock (Kneehigh Theatre); The Firework-Maker's Daughter (Told By An Idiot); Playing The Victim (Royal Court/ Told By An Idiot); Grimm Tales, More Grimm Tales, Ballroom Of Romance, Animal Farm, Clockwork Orange (Northern Stage); The Tempest, Dr Faustus (Compass Theatre); Why The whales Came (Theatre Alibi); Hello You (Fecund Theatre). Film and TV include: Dead Boss, The Lady, Midsomer Murders, Above Suspicion, You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger, Little Dorrit, Little Miss Jocelyn, Dr Who



Ben Lewis
Co-Creator, Performer & Text

Ben is Joint Artistic Director of Inspector Sands and has co-created and performed in all of their shows to date.  As writer/director, he has co-created two pieces of music theatre with composer Dafydd James, The Village Social (National Theatre Wales) and the Total Theatre Award-winning My Name Is Sue (Soho Theatre/UK tour). He is currently part of the Soho Theatre's writer's residency scheme, the Soho Six. Other work includes, as a writer, two radio plays for BBC Radio 4, Tiny and Blue Sky Thinking. Performing credits include Pinocchio (Theatre Royal Northampton), A Quiet Afternoon (Riverside Studios/UK tour) and Aruba (UK tour/Ohio Theater, NYC). Ben trained at LAMDA.

Evening performances 5, 6, 7, 8, 13 and 14 July at 7.30pm
Saturday matinee 14 July at 3pm

Running time approximately 2 hours 20 including an interval of 20 minutes

Stay behind after you have seen the show and claim your complimentary bottle of beer, courtesy of our Beer Sponsor: Warsteiner. Click here for more details.


Concessions (Jobseekers Allowance, Full-Time Students, Over 60s, Deaf and disabled patrons) £10.00
All concessions are subject to availability and proof of eligibility must be presented when booking and collecting tickets.

Festival Pass
Save money and see the entire Festival for one price with our £70 Festival Pass. Find out more.

Young Friends of the Almeida £5
An associated workshop is also available for Young Friends. Click here to find out more.
Find out more about Young Friends of the Almeida


Arts Council England ASP Group