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The Halfway House

The Halfway House was a site-specific, immersive theatre piece that was devised and staged by Persona Collective in the Old Central Saint Martins campus on Southampton Row, Holborn. The Koppel Project kindly invited Persona Collective – to develop and stage a theatre show at their Koppel Project Campus, which was conceived as an experimental, cross-disciplinary education and arts facility in the former Saint Martins. It has been vacant for many years and is eventually due to be redeveloped as a high-end hotel. The live show took place from 21st September to 4th October 2020.

The narrative revolved around three storylines, each unfolding in ‘The Halfway House’ - a fictional hotel. The building and its residents are stuck between two worlds, paralysed by nostalgia and slipping into real and fabricated versions of their past, but equally seduced by and drawn into this absurdly ill-fitting new reality of a ‘luxury’ hotel, which is in the process of being constructed but already feels extremely makeshift, seedy and tired.


There will be a film released this year, which will open it up to a much bigger audience. 

"No part of the building should be without its teaching, these labyrinths belong by right to the ground: a recognise symbol of many things

to people, ike spider's webs enticing false paths, while travelling through the maze, ones becomes increasingly lost in relation to the outside world;

the further down the corridors and patchways, the eye turns inward as the building opens itself up to you.

The House in which the evening has no morning whence maybe there is not return"     

- W.R Lethaby, Architecture, Mysticism & Myth     

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"I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed it. Snatches and glimpses still drift through my mind: a porter pulling a man to shore; clandestine talks in bedrooms and on doorsteps; a cardigan pulled on and off; flirtations and aggravations across space; an impressive more

"The experience was something between watching a fragmented movie, being in a haunted house, and being in touch with your memories all at once, as the story that was being told was not in chronological order. The interactive way that we walked through the building added an extra element of more

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"Persona Collective immersive theatre shows, are the most prolific and ambitious projects I have come across in the past two years. 'The Candidate' and 'The Halfway House', are undeniably pushing the boundaries of experimentation, constantly questioning what live performance means today. Their scenarios are visually and conceptually curated to the minimum detail, and yet they leave space to the audiences to be part of it. I truly believe Persona Collective artistic research will have a big impact on the theatre community and beyond..."​        - Marcela Iriarte Villa Lobos

Cast & Creators

Jean-Charles Wadja

Mélanie Gautier

Michael Hall

Emily George

Olga Lagun

Tom Kim

Francesca Costa

Georgia Leefe

Anna Fil

Valia Katsis

Cameron Lee-Allen

Charly Monreal

Sally Plowman

Daniel Seifu

Michael Sookhan


Host & Collaborator - The Koppel Project

Venue - The Old Central St. Martins 

Special Thanks to - 

Abigail Adams

Marcela Iriarte Villalobos



Rocío Ayllón - Artistic Director & Producer

Elina Akhmetova - Movement Director & Choreographer

Karolina Burlikowska - Photographer & Art Director

Satu Streatfield - Lighting Design Director

Finn Boxer - Sound Designer & Cinematographer

Sami Sabik - Creative Technologist 

Assistant Directors
Elina Akhmetova 

Michael Hall 

Production Team

Alice Wilson

Clare McAndrew

Rocío Ayllón

Elina Akhmetova

Emma LD

Tom Kim

Tom Wheeler

Lighting Technicians

& programmers

Steve Lowe

Thomas Blackburn 

Lighting Designers

Technicians & Operators

Laura Arroyo

Gaia Crocella

Steve Lowe

Luciana Martinez

Tom Wheeler

Alice Wilson

Art installations & Collaborations

Jack Wates - Storm Room

Charly Blackburn - The Lab

Will Langstone - Cello

Set Designers

Emma Wilson

Emily George

Clary Montero

Alice Wilson

Emma LD

Graphic Designers

Emily George

Emma LD

Sound Assistants 

Waris Albakri

Femi Oriogun- Williams


Finn Boxer

Olga Lagun

Hamish Nichols

Location Sound Recordist

Florence Woolley

Alice Wilson


Satu Streatfield, Emma LD, Karolina Burlicowska, 

Clare McAndrew, Rocío Ayllón


Holborn Association

Dragon Hall


Abigail Adams, Juan Sanchez Plaza,

Rocio Chacon, Clary Montero,

Femi Oriogun – Williams, Anna Chiarin

Show - Preview Mentors  

Jo Danzig, Vanya Gostev, 

Florence Greensmith

Sponsors Lighting 

White Light 
Enliten Architectural Lighting
Mike Stoane Lighting
iGuzzini illuminazione

Lighting, Effects &

Logistics Equipment

Shakespeare’s Globe

Audio Equipment

Orbital Sound

Shakespeare’s Globe

Film Equipment

Direct Digital


Putney Theatre 


Phoebe BP

Lobster Records 


Duplikat Press

*Logos sponsors area

*Press and review area

Behind the Scenes

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Persona Collective seeks to involve local communities, including both amateur and professional performers, in co-creating its shows, while also using buildings and spaces that are either overlooked or at risk of slipping from living memory


Part of working site-specifically is about dialoguing with, and potentially around, the uniqueness of what the space and its architecture have to offer. While working in the The Halfway House we were constantly responding and revealing alternative layers to the reality of the landscape, but making sure the particular environment of the building remains as part of the final show. The show’s narrative and scenography emerged from the place.

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We invited two artists, who separately created their own art installation in relation to the narrative of the show. 

Shows and performances are developed using ‘devised theatre’ techniques. Together with the choreographer we run months of dance, improvisation, role-play workshops and theatre games with performers in situ to gradually develop their characters and the narratives.

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Research into the history of the site, its urban context, and past uses and users, heavily influences the role-plays and the narratives. A team of scenographers worked together to transform some of the spaces into hotel rooms, reception and restaurant, while some of the other rooms and corridors would remain original. We wanted to show to the audience what was really happening inside the building at that time. The space was already a building site and the iconic art school was already in the process of being transformed into a high-end hotel. 

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