“Yan. Tan. Tether. Mether. Pip. Azar. Sazar. Akka. Cotta. Dik … I like it because it’s old. And strange. And familiar. You’ve no right to the words in your mouth, but still you can almost taste those stones. It’s in the blood. In the skin and bone of things. Heather and bracken and hale on the moor. Something worth remembering, because it’s something you can’t forget.”
Written in response to the Foot & Mouth epidemic that swept Britain in 2001, Deadstock is a thriller set on a remote farm, beginning with a kidnapping and ending in a deadly ancient rite.


Deadstock tells the story of Myrrah – a young woman dealing with the recent suicide of her father, a farmer, whose entire dairy herd had been forcibly culled at the height of a rural pandemic the previous spring.

She now lives alone on the deserted farm, but is regularly visited by Allen an American vet (one of thousands of overseas veterinarians imported to help in the slaughter), who reluctantly oversaw the extermination of her father’s cattle.

Myrrah is in the process of emptying the contents of the farmhouse into the barn – a seemingly pointless exercise she undertakes with grim determination. Although Allen is concerned that her grief has left her mentally unbalanced, his love for Myrrah and his ‘adopted’ country means he does all he can to support her; even when she takes a migrant farm worker ‘hostage’ after knocking him down one night on a back road. Their ‘prisoner’ is Ondriy: one of thousands of young men from Ukraine, working illegally in England.

As a fearsome storm hits the isolated farm on the Eve of May Day (and the pagan Feast of Beltane), the three become inexorably drawn into a dangerous game, the climax of which will reveal the full horror of Myrrah’s plan to revive the ‘spirit’ of her ravaged land.

Contains scenes of a sexual nature.

Playwright’s Note

Such was the impact and media coverage of the September 11th attacks on the US in 2001, that the catastrophic outbreak of Foot and Mouth disease in the UK that year appeared to fade quickly from the consciousness of those not directly afflicted.

The epidemic raged for nine months. Six million livestock were slaughtered, devastating farms, entire communities and countless livelihoods. The Army was called in to literally club lambs to death in fields. The tourist industry alone estimated lost trade at £250m. And Prime Minister Tony Blair postponed the May General Election.

The crisis was truly international in that it affected the many nationalities who make up the British farm and agricultural workforce, border restrictions were introduced, and veterinarians from across the world hastened to aid in the ‘containment’ of the disease.

The Spring and Summer of 2001 were months of carnage. Enormous pyres were built throughout the country. The smoke, fire and stench stretched for miles. 

Production History

The Shady Dolls Theatre Company, Barn Theatre, London, 2008

ALLEN a veterinarian, Luis Soto
MYRRAH a farmer’s daughter, Laura Churchill
ONDRIY a migrant worker, Gareth Kieran Jones

Director, Steven Dykes
Designer, Victoria Johnstone
Lighting Designer, Rachel Nicholson



MA Theatre Practice Ensemble, Barn Theatre, Rose Bruford College, London, 2004

ALLEN a veterinarian, Matt Easton
MYRRAH a farmer’s daughter, Kathy Bolt
ONDRIY a migrant worker, Gareth Kieran Jones

Director, Annabelle Comyn
Designer, Nigel Hook


MA Ensemble, Barn Theatre, Rose Bruford College, October 2004



  • Categories: Cast size less than 8 / Contemporary / Set in Europe
  • Cast: 1 woman / 2 men
  • Setting: England, 2002
  • Running Time: 90 Minutes
  • Characters:
  • Scripts:
  • Performance Licence: Rights Currently Available.
    Non-exclusive Student/Amateur/Unwaged Professional:
    £60/$100 per performance.
    Territory Exclusive Waged Professional:
    Royalty on application.
    N.B. All licences require one purchase of the authorised rehearsal script.

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