The History of Three's Company
Three's Company began in 2001 when Tom, Michael and Yaz staged a production at their local school - a new pantomime: Trouble In Panto Land, written by Michael and Tom. The success of this play - devised, directed and produced by the three - led to plans for a fully independent production in the Summer of 2003 at Buxton's Fringe Festival. On a budget of £60 and a cast and crew of three, Platformation - a new comedy by Tom Crawshaw - sold out its three scheduled performance, sold-out a further two, unadvertised, and picked up four award nominations and an award for Best Production By A Young Company. Aged just 16, the three decided to continue the company on a professional level.
Platformation became the first part of the Transport Trilogy with parts two and three following over the next two years to more awards and sell-out audiences - including the largest total audience figures for any theatre production at the Buxton Fringe to date. From 2003 to 2005, the group staged a total of nine productions including a 400th anniversary production of Othello as part of the Opera House's Studio season for which the group was given a special award at the East Midlands Tourism Awards.
Reviews in Buxton marvelled at Three's Company's "army of fans" and "their huge following in the town and beyond", proclaiming them "Buxton's worst kept secret". In 2005, the Vine Magazine called Three's Company "Buxton's worst kept secret". From this base, the group moved outwards to productions in Manchester, Edinburgh and Oxford. In 2004, Platformation won a place in the first year of '24:7', Manchester's prestigious new-writing festival, and Play On Words went on to win Oxford's New Writing Festival.
2005 saw the company’s first trip to the Edinburgh Fringe with Later Showers, attracting floods of tears from their audiences and glowing reviews from critics. Following this, the trio have taken a further four productions to the Edinburgh Fringe, building a formidable following, massive critical acclaim and sell-out crowds. The multi-award-winning Play On Words sold out its run at C Venues in 2007 and returned to The Pleasance Dome in 2009 where it sold out once again. 2010 saw the touching and powerful new work Reverie also play at the Pleasance Dome, firmly establishing the company's presence and respect; while at the same time being a complete contrast to their 2008 Fringe offering - the interactive comedy Auditorium ("ingenious" -The Stage "brilliant" -Three Weeks "excellent" -Fest "magnificent" -Fringe Guru "bonkers" -The Scotsman).
However, the true roots of the company go back further than this. Before Trouble In Panto Land, Tom, Michael and Yaz, all growing up in the small town of Buxton, had been friends and worked on various projects for many years. Michael and Tom first performed together as goslings in Mother Goose at the age of eight; Tom and Yaz started practicing their comedy routines to compere school concerts and run their school magazine together from the age of eleven; and the three have been performing together in shows as disparate as Return To The Forbidden Planet, The Wizard of Oz, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Crucible and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead from the age of twelve.
The future for Three's Company has never been more exciting. The three completed their studies at Central School of Speech and Drama (Yaz), Oxford University (Tom) and RADA (Michael) and all moved to London. The three are finally back where they belong: in the rehearsal room together, working on a variety of secret projects in tandem, filling walls with scrawled charts of new ideas, and disturbing local pubs with their heated debates. They're currently developing several projects in a series of rehearsal room workshops: reworking past successes for a new audience, developing new scripts, running festivals and symposia, pioneering new interactive work and interpreting traditional classics in their own house style...
What comes next...? Watch this space!*