The Spice Box – Press Release May 2015

Opening up ‘The Spice Box’


A fascinating 15th century spice cabinet found in the Elizabethan House is the inspiration for a unique new theatre experience called ‘The Spice Box’.

Writer Jon Nash and Young Writer Jim Crago have written the script for this intriguing performance, which will illuminate one of Plymouth’s oldest and most captivating buildings.

We asked Jon and Jim how they became writers for this creative, collaborative project.

Jon Nash: “I work as a freelance playwright and director, which involves quite a lot of script development work. I have a company with a fellow director in Wiltshire called Ripped Script and I’m also the co-ordinator for something called Theatre Writing South West, a loose network of writers in the region that aims to link people.”

“Personally it’s interesting for me to work on something like ‘The Spice Box’ as I had a second career as a tour guide and I’m a bit of a history geek. I worked on ways of engaging people with history and with stories from history in interesting and informative ways. I worked around Bath and Stonehenge, did a tour exclusively about pubs and drinking in Bath for tourists, so it’s nice to be re-engaging with history and those stories.”

Jim Crago: “I wanted to be an actor from a very young age and started really after my A-levels doing productions like La Legend de la Mort at Barbican Theatre in 2007. At East 15 I studied a BA in Acting and Contemporary Theatre and did writing classes with April de Angelis. That’s what made me want to get into writing as well as acting.

“This is my first commission as a writer, which is great, it’s a good opportunity for me. It’s interesting to find out more about the history of something that’s been right here on the doorstep in Plymouth, somewhere I’ve lived for the majority of my life and now learning about it in a different way.”

“Barbican Theatre gave me my first acting opportunities and now they’re giving me my first writing opportunities. I owe so much to this place, I wouldn’t be able to do what I enjoy doing if it wasn’t for opportunities like this. Some people think they have to go away from Plymouth to get this sort of work, but it’s right there on their doorstep.”

Jon Nash: “I think what’s nice about a project like this as well, is that being a playwright can be a lonely vocation a lot of the time, but what the Barbican does really well is to really push collaboration thing. And that’s both within us as writers collaborating with each other, we get to collaborate with the rest of the creative team and then as an organisation we get to collaborate and link up with the Plymouth City Museum and Art Gallery.”

Jim Crago: “Absolutely, I’m constantly learning doing the project as well. I’m learning from Jon I’m learning about history.”

You can watch ‘The Spice Box’ for free at the Elizabethan House (32 New Street, PL1 2NA) on selected dates from 30 May – 26 July at 2pm and 4pm. Click here to book tickets or give our friendly Box Office team a call on 01752 267131.

‘The Spice Box’ is a Barbican Theatre production created in partnership with Plymouth City Council’s Arts and Heritage Service. The project is supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council England and Plymouth Culture.

Pictured from left to right: Jim Crago (Young Writer) and Jon Nash (Writer). Photo credit: Gem Ward Photographer (