95 Old Woolwich Road, London, SE10 9PP

Special Projects:


As well as our existing portfolio it is also possible to provide tailor made projects and productions to enhance National Curriculum or local community initiatives. If you wish to discuss these, or be added to our mailing list, please feel free to contact us. We have expertise in special needs and mental health settings and our facilitators have a variety of training and experience with these groups.

Spanner in the Works

Our portfolio of school and university projects have included:

Production and Facilitation

Marrying Process and Product since 1997


Spanner in the Works was formed in 1997, with the help of a grant from the Arts Council, through the National Lottery. Darren Rapier is the Artistic Director and we have a team of experienced workshop leaders and industry professionals who work with us to deliver our workshops.


Our first production as a company was the musical SMOKE (poster artwork by Martin Thomas above), at the Union Theatre, London and subsequently we have produced WORLDS APART at the Brockley Jack, other theatre based and instillation work and a number of short films. We have also produced many productions within or through our workshops with non-professional actors and/or students.


Since we started we have run workshops in theatres, schools, universities, museums and hospitals as well as producing community projects. Over 5000 people have benefited from these workshops, which have included large scale performances, film and CD projects and educational music and drama sessions, as well as team building inset days.


We are currently continuing our long term working relationship with the adolescent psychiatric unit Snowsfields, where we have been running drama workshops for the past fifteen years. In that time we have developed a range of other specialist work in other hospitals and specialist units. We run workshops through education and health departments and in conjunction with other arts organisations. The Riverscross project is a development of our relationship with the Snowsfields unit at Guy's (now at the Maudsley Hospital).




In schools and colleges we offer a wide range of drama based workshops. These are designed to aid education of drama and non-drama subjects through drama techniques. They have been used to help SATS, GCSE, ‘A’ Level and degree students. These workshops are cross-curricular and may enhance science, history, English and PHSE, SMSC as well as many other areas. Workshops can take many forms, such as role play, classroom based activities, practical exercises, reminiscence work and lectures.

Subjects covered have included: THE VICTORIANS, THE TUDORS, LITERACY (focusing on a specific book or play), BIOGRAPHIES, SHAKESPEARE, STORYTELLING, COMMUNICATIONS, WORLD MUSIC and many more.


We also run more specifically arts based workshops in stage craft such as WRITING, ACTING, MUSIC AND DRAMA, STAGE FIGHTING, DEVISING, PHYSICAL THEATRE, DIRECTING, FILM MAKING, and TECHNICAL THEATRE.


Venues for the workshops have included schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, museums, youth clubs, residential homes and special centres.




Our initial production was of the musical SMOKE, set in 1860s London amidst the onslaught of the Railways. Time Out described the play as: “…ingenious, yet ironic and very entertaining…”, and The Stage “…a surprisingly sophisticated piece…” Later productions have included WORLDS APART, set in India and the UK in the 1950s. We run workshop programmes alongside our productions, exploring aspects of the production and the world in which they are set.


In association with Whatever Pictures Spanner in the Works have produced the short films THE RACE, IT IS and the comedy ATTACK OF THE KILLER MICE.


Yet we do not only produce work for professional artists. Our DRAMA PROJECTS, FILM PROJECTS, and AUDIO PROJECTS are designed for anyone with an interest in creating a lasting record of their work. Participants are taken through the creative process from the conception of the idea through to production, working with practitioners from all disciplines within the field.


We also produce and manage large scale school and educational productions, where participants create and devise their own show or an existing piece, performing at a theatre, school or community venue. Many of these have been inter-school projects, with up to 120 children performing together from different schools or across classes or years within the same school.





For staff training we offer TEAM BUILDING and other workshops. We can facilitate full training days or fit into planned days with one of our SPECIALISED WORKSHOPS. These may be as ICE BREAKERS or to target a specific area of interest for the training day. Our staff training workshops can also offer training in USING DRAMA AS AN EDUCATIONAL TOOL, giving participants practical exercises and advice that they can use immediately with their own students.


Our DEVISED THEATRE PERFORMANCE projects, for all ages, have been a very successful part of our work. Classes with one school or from several schools start from scratch and devise scenes, which then slot together to form a full performance. The end results have included various forms and styles of theatre, music and dance.


The FILM PROJECT looks at all aspects of film including scripting, storyboarding, planning, music, acting, sound and lighting, right through to filming. Whilst our spoken word AUDIO PROJECT allows participants to learn about writing, performing and recording. At the end of each project they will have produced an audio CD or VIDEO, which may include drama, documentary, poetry, music or songs. A project like THE POOL at Guy’s hospital included all of these.


THE POOL (audio CD) and BRIDGES (Video) are available as examples of outcomes of these projects and copies can be supplied if required.


Our latest six year soap opera project incorporates a range of skills development and cross-curricular and social education. This has been a very successful project marrying creative education and skills with social and professional development for the young people involved.


  • Music & Drama
  • History
  • Literacy
  • Media
  • Cartooning
  • Speech and Language
  • Shakespeare and his world
  • Professional performance training
  • Audition technique
  • Acting for camera
  • Filmmaking
  • Scriptwriting
  • Radio
  • Devised Theatre

Our Pool of Workshop Facilitators and Experts Include:


Paul Andrew - Facilitator, Actor

Jeremy Banx - Cartoonist

Fiona Burgess - Facilitator, Singer

Liz Burville - Choreographer, Director

Debra Cougill - Education Officer Royal Albert Hall

Tony Coult - Writer, University Lecturer

Gareth Fient - Filmmaker

Chrissi Forte - Facilitator

Stuart Gain - Lighting Designer, Musician

Cate Gibbs - Musician, Actor

James Grant - Musician

Rose Hall-Smith - Facilitator, Actor

Russ Hodgson - Graphic Designer

Emily Hunka - Facilitator, writer

Ashley J - Actor

Stuart Murdoch - Director, Devisor

Siobhan O'Neil - Choreographer, Dancer

Nick Pilton - Director, Producer

Natalie Quartermass - Actor

Darren Rapier - Writer, Actor, Director, Producer

Louise Salter - Actor

Nikesh Shukla - Poet, Writer

Jenna Saysel - Actor, Singer

Amee Smith - Facilitator, Actor

Max Sycamore - Cinematographer, Visual Effects Artist

Enrico Tessarin - Film Producer

Ed Thomas - Musician/ Composer

Helen Walls - Director, Principal of Helen O'Grady (Bromley)

Gareth Watkins - Actor

Bruce Webb - Film Producer, Director

Fiona Whitelaw - Facilitator, Writer


Our Core Team:


Darren Rapier - Artistic Director

Tony Coult - Project Associate

Fiona Burgess - Project Associate


Educating, Entertaining, Inspiring - Workshops and Productions in All Media