Was really lovely to watch the final show by @DesperateMen today at @SOFestival Thought provoking, funny and poignant look at what happens next when performers decide to move on after 4 decades of work
(Geoff Rowe, founder of Leicester Comedy Festival, via Twitter)


Loved seeing @DesperateMen at @SIRF_Stockton. Their show Generations was very funny but also though provoking. My kids loved it too, especially the arguing!
(That Secret Chord, via Twitter)


Fantastic show you did in Stockton, loved your show well thought out show good luck for the future with your new show.
(Alan Marshall, audience member)


42 years in the making, this new outdoor show represents Desperate Men handing over to the next generation. However, we are not going out quietly. In our signature comic, physical, spontaneous & startling radical style, we’re investigating intergenerational relationships.

‘Generations’ is a provocation that asks: are young people only here to serve the healthcare & pensions of the elderly? Or are generational distinctions evaporating as Boomers keep working longer and act as support for young families?

The wider world is also shedding its skin, as the convulsions of the past few years continue to rock the earth we stand on. Brexit, Covid, climate change, ‘levelling up’ and the many brutal wars around the world have left communities divided, isolated, and sometimes in despair. How can we forge new, cross-generational connections?

We’re reviewing the situation …

We invite the audience to bear witness to a ceremony of transformation, as we pass the baton and imagine how the young and the old might co-exist in the future. From desperation to regeneration, we welcome in the new.




CLICK HERE to read biographies and more from our cast and creatives.

  • Creative Producer, Writer, Director, Performer: Richard Headon – Co-artistic Director of Desperate Men, Dramaturg and Consultant for Outdoor Arts/Street Theatre
  • Assistant Producer, Assistant Director, Performer: Sophia Knox-Miller – Physical performer, Clown, Associate Producer for Desperate Men since 2020
  • Devising Performer: Ella Coy
  • Choreographer/Performer: Will Pegna – Contemporary and Break Dancer, Son of core Desperate Men members (a literal “Desperate baby”)
  • Desperate Men Performers: Jon Beedell (Co-artistic Director of Desperate Men), Richie Smith, Vic Llewellyn, Jo Kessell
  • Co-Writer: Pravanya Pillay – Stand-up Comedian, Actor, Writer
  • Musical Director: Shirley Pegna – Sound Artist, Mother of Will
  • Assistant Musical Director: Joe Hill Sound Artist, Composer
  • Additional writing: by all cast members
  • Communications and Copywriting: Kate Morrison


Thanks to the people of Skegness & Mablethorpe for kindly sharing their generational thought.

We are very grateful for the support in the R&D phase to Without Walls & ACE but are particularly indebted to festivals that have backed Generations by booking it. We thank festival directors Jeremy Shine, Jens Frimann Hansen, Bradley Hemmings & Verena Cornwall without whose belief this show would not be seeing the light of day.

As part of our accessibility offer, along with our ambition to embrace audio description and British Sign Language, our assistant producer / director Sophie Knox-Miller has produced a visual story of the show. Please feel free to download it here.

Our 2022 tour of Generations is now finished but the show is available for bookings – please get in touch if you are interested at or 0117 939 3902


Here is the official film of the 2022 Generations project featuring the full show from the last day of the tour at Greenwich & Docklands International Festival. Each of the 5 festivals we performed at featured a special appearance from a different Desperate Men star performer and here it was Jon. Our thanks go to all who made it, booked it & watched it. A sunny summer finale.

Stand by for news of a new Desperate Men commission for 2023!

Post comment


Subscribe to our Newsletter using this link.

See our newsletters archive here.