"Not to be missed!"
"Will have you leaving on a high"
"Energetic and winning"
British Theatre Guide
2015 & 2017
Three Weeks Award
"Top of the Fringe"
VAULT Show of
Popelei is an ongoing collaboration between writer-performer Tamsin Hurtado Clarke and writer-director Scarlett Plouviez. We’ve been working this way, as a two-headed monster that thrives on synergy and strife, for ten years. In 2021, we welcomed Penelope Saward into the core team as company producer.
We make performances that are authentic, energetic and hopeful, reflecting the world as we experience it and as we want it to be. We’re here to smash the patriarchy, both onstage and in the bar afterwards, and to show you a really good time. We have a thirst for multi-layered text, original music and offbeat choreography, and we’re always testing the line between spontaneity and precision. The Stage said that our work ‘will have you leaving on a high’ and we liked that, because we’re interested in the feelings that an audience is left with after the dust settles.
Our identity as women from the UK and Latin America inspires our work and the choice of artists we collaborate with. From our home in Bristol, we produce PAPAYA Fest, an annual Anglo-Latinx fusion festival launched in 2019 in defiance of Brexit and the rising tide of toxic nationalism. We run The Popelei Seed Commission, founded in 2018 out of a desire to see honest female narratives onstage. We host The Popelei Naked Podcast, an intimate and cheeky look at women and nudity.
Our current live solo show PUSH is off to The Pleasance soon, to cause a stir the Edinburgh Fringe 2022 - having been reimagined as a short film in 2021 whilst theatres remained closed (Best Experimental Short, Cult Movies International Film Festival).
POPELEI. PRONOUNCED: POP-EH-LAY. MEANING: PROPERLY.
As a little person trying to master Spanish and English, Tamsin couldn’t say things properly…or as she would say “popelei” and so she was forever known as Little Popelei to her Venezuelan family. When searching for a name for the company, “Popelei” seemed like the right fit.
“I like to fight and shout and make myself heard. Sometimes it feels hard to do this, as a woman and as an artist. I want to open up spaces for discussion and debate where you’re welcome to make a noise. Popelei is a place we can do that…properly.”
— Tamsin Hurtado Clarke, Popelei
Knowledge of Angels was Popelei’s debut theatrical production performed at Shoreditch Church in 2012. Time Out described the production as, “a deep and intense theatrical debate over faith, ethics and society”.
Manuelita followed in 2014 and won CASA Festival Scratch Award in 2013 and Three Weeks Editors’ Award at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014 for “Top 10 Shows of the Fringe”. The show was runner-up “Theatre Production of the Year” for LUKAS Awards in 2015 & 2016. In 2017 Manuelita toured Latin America for 2 months, visiting 5 countries and being seen by over 3,500 people.
100 Years was created in 2018/2019 with the support of Arts Council England and performed at the Arcola Theatre. Its early development was made possible by ArcolaLAB, and then further commissioned by CASA Festival and Ovalhouse Theatre.
The Popelei Naked Podcast was released in 2018 as a response to “The Year of the Woman” - it is an ongoing intimate conversation promoting body positivity amongst women.
The Popelei Seed Commission returned in 2020 after its initial success in 2018 to encourage and support performance based work that promotes the stories of women.
PUSH is Popelei's latest production, which previewed at VAULT Festival 2020 where it was nominated for "VAULT Show of the Week Award". It was reimagined in 2021 as a single-take short film in a groundbreaking collaboration with cinematographer Jack Offord. The live theatre show of PUSH will receive its world premiere at The Pleasance as part of the Edinburgh Fringe 2022.
October 2022 will see the return of Popelei's Bristol based arts festival PAPAYA Fest - a deliciously juicy festival of Anglo - Latinx theatre & music.