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Forest Forge Theatre supports talent development and John Yates’ new play AXE, set in 3,600 BC Neolithic England, has been awarded an Arts Council England Grants for Arts  to develop.

There will be a research and development performance at Forest Forge Theatre, 5th March 8pm to an invited audience. 


Mainstream culture is blind to pre-history. Few people know of the events that created the British Isles 8,000 years ago. The story needs to be told. 15,000 years ago ice covered Northern Europe. The climate warmed and the ice retreated revealing a Britain connected by land to Europe.

This land was an ideal place for Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, but over the millennia the ice caps continued to melt, sea levels rose and more
and more of the land was inundated. A Tsunami event of 6100 BCE put paid to any remaining habitation. The Mesolithic tribes were separated, going East to Europe or West to the islands of Britain.

2,000 years later the Europeans brought Neolithic farming to the Mesolithic hunter-gatherers of Southern England. The farming way of
life spread throughout Britain and the old hunter-gatherer ways died out. “Axe” is the story of the last hunter.

The inundation events would have been remembered as an oral myth. “Axe” presents this myth as a tragic love story performed as narrated
dance, the lovers belonging to two tribes separated by the inundation.

The remainder of the play is naturalistic and is set in Early Neolithic England some 2,500 years later. The main character is the last of the hunter-gatherers. She endures a series of events mirroring a rite of passage. She survives, embracing the new ways and forming a relationship with a descendant of the Neolithic settlers. The two are revealed to belong to tribes separated by the inundation, a reunion across the millennia.

John Yates, the writer  says “I want people to respect our Mesolithic and Neolithic ancestors. They were like us in many ways. Physiologically the same and just as intelligent and resourceful. However they had different beliefs. They inhabited a world full of spiritual meaning.”.

John Yates and his new play Axe are supported by Forest Forge Theatre Company and funded by Arts Council England.

Written by John Yates

Directed by Sean Aita

Choreography by Junior Jones

Anna Harriot
Vix Hobbs
David Rubin
Michelle  O’Brien

Dancers from New Forest School of Dance

Dramaturgy by Angela Street

Voice Coaching by Sian Radinger


Arts Council England