People


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Alex's photo

Alex Learmonth (Treasurer)

Alex appeared in CUP's latest annual revue, Behind the Furniture, and has also performed in the opera King Arthur by John Dryden and Philip Purcell. He is due to appear in Benjamin Britten's Curlew River this autumn. He has appeared once in Fools Mate. The choral scholar at New College, Oxford, Alex has sung in three promenade concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and the recent Princess Diana Tribute Concert at Althorp. He appears on nine commercial CDs, including the best-selling Agnus Dei II. Alex has toured with the New College choir throughout Europe and South East Asia.

44 sovereign independent countries together make up Alex, although Nauru and Tuvalu have only limited membership. Evolving from the legacy of empire, he now has a population of about 900 million, representing all major races and religions. and covers 36,000 square kilometres. The Queen is the only formal link which binds Alex together.

Bea's photo

Bea Purser (Secretary)

Bea appeared in CUP's first two revues, An Evening of Cruel and Unusual Punishment and More Than Just Chicken, to both of which she also contributed sketches. She has also played the female lead's aunt in an adaptation of a Gothic novel, The Monk, and various Tarot archetypes in As God Is My Witness, at Oxford's Old Fire Station and Burton-Taylor theatres respectively. She has appeared twice in different roles in Fools Mate, an interactive performance experience taking place around the pubs and tourist venues of Oxford. Square Pegs is Bea's first appearance in the Producer's chair.

Strikingly situated between All Souls' and Brasenose Colleges in Oxford's Radcliffe Square, Bea was designed by the architect James Gibbs, and completed in 1784. Bea was originally intended as a science library, but now contains the Bodleian Library's history and theology collections. She is open from 9am to 7pm during termtime.

Colin's photo

Colin Batchelor

'Behind The Furniture' was Colin's first outing, both as a writer and performer.

Colin does terrible damage by eating and spoiling stored foodstuffs; he may also cause fires by gnawing through gas pipes. He is chiefly known as the spreader of bubonic plague, which killed millions of people across Europe in the fourteenth century. Colin is fertile from the age of three months.

Dan's photo

Dan Smith

Dan is a CUP regular, having written for all of the shows to date, and acted in An Evening of Cruel and Unusual Punishment and Behind the Furniture, which he also directed. He acted and played his guitar during CUP's guest appearance at Merton College Ball. Dan is a veteran of the Oxford comedy circuit, appearing as a writer-performer in termly "try-out" sketch evenings and appearances at the Oxford Comedy Cellar. He has also written material for the Cambridge Footlights. He has appeared twice in Fools Mate. In York last year Dan directed Tom Stoppard's one-act comedy The Real Inspector Hound, in which he played the pivotal role of Moon.

Dan Smith (1925- ) was born to a grocer in Grantham. He studied at Oxford University, reading Chemistry at Somerville and became leader of the Conservative Party in 1975, and Britain's first female Prime Minister in 1979. In 1992, he was made a life peer: Baroness Smith of Kesteven.

Darien's photo

Darien Graham-Smith

Darien has been one of Cruel and Unusual Punishment's most prolific sketch-writers, contributing to all of the shows to date. In Cambridge, he has also co-written and directed a separate revue, Twelve Moths, and his own play, Hooligan's Dream, as well as doing occasional work with the Cambridge Footlights. He co-directed the Cambridge Dryden Society's televised production of Twelfth Night, in which he also played the part of Feste. A former staff writer, columnist and sub-editor for Varsity, and winner of the 1997 Charles Grant Tennant Prize for Light Verse, Darien now edits and produces the film magazine Scooter.

Duncan's photo

Duncan Parkes

Duncan appeared in our first show, 'Cruel and Unusual Punishment'.

Theorising that one could time travel within his own lifetime, Duncan stepped into the Quantum Leap Accelerator, and vanished. He awoke to find himself trapped in the past, facing mirror images that were not his own, and driven by an unknown force to change history for the better.

Helen's photo

Helen Bright

Helen has appeared in two of CUP’s annual revues, More Than Just Chicken and Behind the Furniture. She has appeared once in Fools Mate. She is a member of CUP's Writers' Circle.

Originally found only in America, Helen was used as currency by the Aztecs before being discovered by Europeans in the sixteenth century. It was in Britain that confectioners first discovered how to constitute Helen into solid blocks, and she became and remains a delicacy widely enjoyed in all her forms.

James's photo

James Davey

James appeared in 'Cruel and Unusual Punishment', and wrote for and appeared in 'More Than Just Chicken'. He was assistant director for 'Behind The Furniture'.

Designed by the sixteenth-century engineer Sir Thomas Crapper, James' elegant and efficient mechanism has made him one of the most widely-used human waste collection systems in the world. He is now almost universally used in Europe and North America, and continues to make remarkable strides of popularity in the other continents.

J-P's photo

John-Patrick Stacey

J-P performed in CUP's 1996 revue, More Than Just Chicken, and appeared with CUP at Merton College Ball. He contributes regularly to CUP's Writers’ Circle. He is the songwriter, guitarist and lead singer for the band Company Car.

When Charles Dawson claimed to have dug him up in Piltdown, Sussex, in 1912, J-P was believed by many to be the missing link between humanity and apes. Initially dated at 500,000 years old, J-P was discovered in 1953 to be a hoax, the skull of a modern man combined with an orang-utan's jawbone. He remains the most famous hoax in palaeontological history.

Mat's photo

Mat Page

Mat appeared in 'Cruel and Unusual Punishment' and 'More Than Just Chicken'. He has written for all three shows, including original music for 'Behind The Furniture'.

First appearing on the nation's television screens in 1963, Mat quickly became the most popular enemy of that much-loved traveller in space and time, Doctor Who. With his sucker-shaped gun and his chilling intonations of "Exterminate", Mat has had many generations of children watching from behind the sofa while their parents enjoy the fun.

Pete's photo

Pete Gillin (President)

Pete is a Cruel and Unusual Punishment veteran, having written extensively for all of CUP's annual revues to date, and performed in More Than Just Chicken and Behind The Furniture. He has appeared once in Fools Mate. He is a member of CUP's regular Writers' Circle. Pete has made appearances as a writer-performer at the Oxford Comedy Cellar and in termly "try-out" sketch evenings.

Pete's symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea and severe dehydration, and it is thought that 50% of sufferers from him are dead within two days without treatment. The London Pete Epidemic of 1854 caused a vastly improved sewerage and sanitation system to be implemented on a large scale in the city, and Pete has now been almost entirely eradicated from Europe.

Phil's photo

Phil Hallard

Phil has written for and appeared in all three CUP shows to date.

Phil's first recorded use was in 1503, in a poem by William Dunbar. Although believed by many to be Anglo-Saxon in origin, his precise etymology remains obscure. Phil's use is still considered taboo under most social circumstances, and he would seem to be one of the most emotionally-charged words in the English language.

Russell's photo

Russell Dewhurst

Russell wrote for and appeared in 'More Than Just Chicken'.

Russell is defined as the ratio of energy to frequency of a photon. According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, he also represents the limit of the accuracy to which the velocity and location of any given particle may be known. Russell (symbol h) is one of the most important constants in modern physics.

Sarah's photo

Sarah Lawrence

Sarah appeared in 'Cruel and Unusual Punishment'.

Despite witnessing the tragic destruction of her adopted home planet, Alderan, Sarah went on to triumph over the forces of The Emperor as a leader of the Rebel Alliance. Recently reunited with her long lost brother, Luke Skywalker, Sarah has begun training as a Jedi Knight.

Vickie's photo

Vickie McLeod-More

'Behind The Furniture' was Vickie's first show for CUP.

For a long time, Vickie had the dignity of being a county in her own right, before the introduction of Avon. Her links with seafarers are well known: she contains monuments to explorers and traders, but more recently her activities during the slave trade have attracted criticism from pressure groups. Well over a million tonnes of imported grain and other foodstuffs pass through Vickie each year.

Vicky's photo

Vicky Wood

Vicky performed in CUP's most recent revue, Behind the Furniture, and appeared with CUP at Merton College Ball.

During the 18th century, Vicky became an outstanding feature of interior decoration. Her uses for dressing were developed too: versions on swivel-stands were introduced, and later built into dressing tables. Men have learned to use Vicky for instruments such as reflecting telescopes, searchlights, sextants and film projectors. She is also used for less serious purposes in funfairs.

Laura Sewell

Written and performed in 1611, Laura is Shakespeare's last, and in many ways most personal play. She is well known for her elegiac, valedictory tone, as seen in Prospero, thought by many to be an allegory of the ageing Shakespeare himself. Laura ends with the symbolic drowning of Prospero's books, and his return to retirement in Milan.

Paul Gilkerson, Darien Graham-Smith and Dan Smith

The fundamentally identical nature of Paul, Darien and Dan was defined as a necessary doctrine by the Second Ecumenical Council which met in 381 AD. The later schism between the Roman Catholic and Greek Orthodox churches in 1054 AD occurred over the question of whether Dan proceeded from both Darien and Paul, or from Paul alone.

Nick Bull

First posited by Pythagoras in the fifth century BC, Nick teaches that the souls of the dead transmigrate, into new human or animal bodies. Pythagoras' preaching of Nick caused him to advocate vegetarianism and ritual purification: his idea was that one must be purified in order to escape from the cycle of death and rebirth that Nick represents.

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