The Debate Society | Almeida Festival, London
Photo Jesse Untracht-Oakner
The Debate Society


Wed 31 Jul 2013 - Sat 3 Aug 2013

In the 7th-best ski resort in southwest central Colorado, the homes and haunts of affluent vacationers have become the playgrounds of the local townies and seasonal itinerant workers. Class, competition and cold weather collide as the lifestyles of the rich intersect with the lifestyles of the aimless in the bubbling waters of a hot tub.

Shown in development, this latest show from Brooklyn-based company The Debate Society takes you to an Alpine getaway inspired by early '90s ski culture, Clinton-era economics and historical feuds.

Read The Debate Society's interview about Jacuzzi in Culture Critic

"The most beguiling and visually inventive experimental troupe in years."
Time Out New York

"An unlikely triumvirate, crafting skillful and gently absurd meditations on art, life, and bingo."
Village Voice

Almeida Festival 2013 presents the European debut of The Debate Society’s Jacuzzi
Originally commissioned and developed by Ars Nova (Jason Eagan, Artistic Director, Jeremy Blocker, Managing Director)
Developed with support from The Ground Floor at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Berkeley, CA
  • A concept image for The Debate Society's new play, JacuzziA concept image for The Debate Society's new play, Jacuzzi - by Jesse Untracht-Oakner
  • The Debate Society's Paul Thureen, Hannah Bos and Oliver Butler, in ski jumpers. The Debate Society's Paul Thureen, Hannah Bos and Oliver Butler, in ski jumpers. - by Jesse Untracht-Oakner
  • The Debate Society's Hannah Bos in a concept image for Jacuzzi The Debate Society's Hannah Bos in a concept image for Jacuzzi - by Oliver Butler
  • The Debate Society's Paul Thureen in a concept image for JacuzziThe Debate Society's Paul Thureen in a concept image for Jacuzzi - by Oliver Butler

Meet The Debate Society's Paul Thureen, Hannah Bos and Oliver Butler
and learn more about their new work in development, Jacuzzi:



Paul, Hannah and Oliver share the impetus for Jacuzzi:


How do The Debate Society hope audiences will respond to Jacuzzi?


Paul, Hannah and Oliver share some of the surprises in bringing Jacuzzi to the Almeida Festival:


The company try to describe Jacuzzi in five words (count them with us!):


And here's a teaser clip of Jacuzzi:


Watch a clip of The Debate Society's previous production, Blood Play, which features
exotic cocktails, raucous games, new friends and something stirring underground:

Or check out this short scene from Buddy Cop 2, a dark, comedic action/mystery of holiday
nostalgia and athletic rigor:


What the press have said about The Debate Society's work:

"The Debate Society's theatrical brilliance can't be argued with."

"The most beguiling and visually inventive experimental troupe in years."
Time Out New York

"Writer / performers Paul Thureen and Hannah Bos and director Oliver Butler form an unlikely triumvirate, crafting skillful and gently absurd meditations on art, life, and bingo."
Village Voice (Best of 2010 Award)

“As far as new voices in the American Theater - I think this company may be at the forefront of developing a distinctly American theatrical form that is at once literate and experimental but still deeply rooted in the American Myth.”

“Like some inbred lovechild of Richard Foreman and Robert Altman (who is babysat on the weekends by David Lynch)”


The Debate Society is a Brooklyn-based company that creates new plays through the collaboration of Hannah Bos, Paul Thureen (writer/performers) and Oliver Butler (director/developer). The company specializes in unexpected stories set in supremely intricate, vividly theatrical worlds.


The Debate Society’s plays include Blood Play (Bushwick Starr, The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival), Buddy Cop 2 (Ontological-Hysteric Incubator; published by Samuel French), You’re Welcome (The Brick; published by Playscripts), Cape Disappointment (PS122; published by Samuel French and in PLAY A JOURNAL OF PLAYS), The Eaten Heart, The Snow Hen and A Thought About Raya. Also in development: The Light Years (Sundance, New York Stage and Film, Center Theatre Group).


The Debate Society trio are recipients of a 2012 Obie Award, NEFA National Theater Project Grant, 2010 “Village Voice Best of Award” for “Best Argument for Devised Theater” and are the 2012/13 Ars Nova Company-in-Residence. They are Sundance Institute Fellows and have been commissioned by Playwrights Horizons and Ars Nova.


The company’s past tour destinations include Portland, OR, Austin, TX, Hartford, CT, Martha’s Vineyard, MA and Syracuse, NY. The work of The Debate Society has been supported by grants from NEA/chashama, The Greenwall Foundation, The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, The Puffin Foundation, The Sons of Norway Foundation, Fractured Atlas and The Mancini Foundation, The Edith Lutyens and Norman Bel Geddes Foundation.



Hannah Bos
Writer / Cast

Hannah is a founder and a co-Artistic Director of The Debate Society.

As Writer and Performer: Blood Play, Buddy Cop 2; Cape Disappointment; You’re Welcome; The Eaten Heart (Gothamist: Best Actress); The Snow Hen; A Thought About Raya.

Theatre includes:
Premieres of GNIT by Will Eno and The Veri**on Play by Lisa Kron (Humana Festival); Lysistrata; Three Farces and a Funeral; Marat / Sade (American Repertory Theatre); Hostage Song (The Kraine); The Pumpkin Pie Show: Ringside Seats (The Belt); Cardiac Shadow; Junta High (P.S. 122).

Hannah is also the co-creator/writer of Timeless Seasons and The Mimi and Flo Show, a choose-your-own-adventure web series which has been seen by more than 3 million people. Upcoming films include How to Follow Strangers and Next Life. She studied at The Piven Theatre Workshop, Vassar College, and holds an M.F.A. from The Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University / Moscow Art Theater. Her work has been published by Samuel French, Playscripts and Play a Journal of Plays. She is a Sundance Institute Fellow, Ars Nova Resident and a recipient of The Six Points Fellowship.

Oliver Butler 
Director and Developer

Oliver is a founder and co-Artistic Director of The Debate Society. 

Theatre includes: The Lapsburgh Layover (The Berserker Residents); Goodbye New York Goodbye Heart (The Production Company); Blood Play, Buddy Cop 2; Cape Disappointment; The Eaten HeartThe Snow Hen; A Thought About RayaYou’re Welcome; (The Debate Society); Hostage Song (The Kraine);The Einstein Project;This is our Youth (Berkshire Theatre Festival).


Oliver developed and directed Tripolitania by Greg Keller at The Williamstown Theatre Festival. He is a Sundance Institute Fellow, a 2012 Bill Foeller Fellow and a 2012/13 Ars Nova Artist-in-Residence.

Peter Friedman

Theatre includes:
 Ragtime; The Heidi Chronicles (Broadway); End Days (Ensemble Studio Theater); Body Awareness (Atlantic Theater); Circle Mirror Transformation; After the Revolution; The Great God Pan; The Shaggs: Philosophy of the World (Playwrights Horizons); The Common Pursuit; My Old Lady (The Promenade); and a Nightingale Sang… (Mitzi Newhouse); The Slug Bearers of Kayrol Island (Vineyard Theater); A Soldier’s Play (Negro Ensemble Company); Twelve Angry Men (Roundabout Theater); The Loman Family Picnic (Manhattan Theater Club); The Tenth Man (Lincoln Center); Uncle Vanya (Soho Rep); On a Clear Day You Can See Forever; The Cradle Will Rock (Encores! City Center).

Television includes:
The Muppet Show; Brooklyn Bridge.

Film includes:
The Savages; Safe;  I’m Not There; Breaking Upwards; Harvest; The Seventh Sign; Blink; Single White Female; Love and Other Drugs; Side Effects.

Keith Nobbs

Theatre includes: Lombardi; The Lion in Winter (Broadway); Four; Fuddy Meers (Marin Theatre Company); The Great God Pan (Playwrights Horizons); Dublin Carol; Romance (Atlantic Theatre); Lemon Sky; The Hasty Heart (Keen Company); Dog Sees God; Stupid Kids (Century Theatre);  Hope is the Thing With Feathers (Drama Dept); The Tutors; Triple Happiness (Second Stage); Bye Bye Birdie (Encores).

Television includes: The Pacific; The Black Donnellys; In Treatment; In Plain Sight; The Sopranos.

Film includes: Muhammad Ali's Greatest Fight; Phone Booth; Double Whammy; Weakness; 25th Hour.

Keith received the Lucille Lortel Award and a Drama Desk nomination for Four.


Paul Thureen
Writer / Cast

Paul is a founding member and co-Artistic Director of The Debate Society, co-writing and starring in A Thought About Raya, The Snow Hen, You’re Welcome, The Eaten Heart, Cape Disappointment, Buddy Cop 2 and Blood Play (Obie Award).

Theatre includes:
Annie Baker's Uncle Vanya (Soho Rep); Core Values (Ars Nova); Tango ’til They’re Sore (The Flea); The Description of the World; Façade; Pulcinella (Theatre de la Jeune Lune); The Odyssey Experience (McCarter).

Television includes: The Late Show with David Letterman; The Revolution (History Channel).

Laura Jellinek
Set Design

Laura is a set designer based in New York who has previously collaborated with the Debate Society on Blood Play and Buddy Cop 2.

Theatre includes: House for Sale (The Transport Group); What Rhymes with America (Atlantic Theater Company); The Imaginary Invalid (Bard Summerscape); The Really Big Once (Target Margin Theater); and Samuel and Alasdair… (The Mad Ones).  

Opera and dance include: Owen Wingrave (Curtis & Opera Philadelphia); Messiah (Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra); Romeo et Juiliette (Palm Beach Opera); The Cunning Little Vixen (The Juilliard School); Ghosts (San Francisco Ballet).  

Upcoming projects include work with Daniel Fish and Robin Guarino. Laura holds a BA in Mathematics from Brown University and an MFA in Set Design from New York University.

M.L. Dogg

M.L. Dogg has designed for the Dorset Theatre Festival, Huntington Theatre, Ars Nova, Public Theatre, Milwaukee Rep., Second Stage Theatre, New York Stage And Film, Playwrights Horizons, Waterwell Productions, Nicholas Ward Productions, Roundabout Theatre Company, Pearl Theatre, Shelby Company, Scott Sanders Productions, Why Not Theatre, Boise Contemporary Theater, The Living Room For Artists, Inc., Stillpoint Productions, 13P, Two River Theater Co., Working Theatre, Epic Theatre Ensemble, Women’s Project, Classic Stage Company, Clubbed Thumb, Wash And Fold Productions, Shakespeare & Company, among others. 

He is an IRNE, IT, and Drama Desk nominee, and a FringeNYC Award-winner.


1, 2 & 3 August at 7.30pm
3 August at 4pm

Running Time: 1 hour 15 minutes (no interval)

Click here to see the full schedule for the Festival


Full £10
Concessions and Under 30s* £5
Young Friends of the Almeida £5

Double-Bill Discount
Book a full price ticket for this show and the 9.15pm performance of I Do on 1, 2 or 3 August and get both shows for just £20, saving £5.

*Concessions are available to full-time students, over 60s, those claiming Job Seekers Allowance, and Deaf and disabled patrons. Proof of eligibility may be requested.

Arts Council England ASP Group