A Western was the first piece Action Hero made. Performed in a bar with only a cowboy hat and some ketchup, Action Hero re-create scenes from an imaginary western together with the people in the room.  This DIY western re-imagines the bar as a saloon and the architecture of the space as a dusty, one street town. The audience cheat at cards, drink whisky and shoot the hero down.

A Western was first performed in 2005 at Emergency in Manchester as a 10 minute experiment. The finished work eventually went on to tour throughout the UK and Europe, and to North America, South America, South East Asia and Australia. It was included in the British Council’s 2009 Edinburgh Showcase. It was last performed in 2014.

A Western features in Action Hero’s book Action Plans: Selected Performance Pieces and is available to buy from our shop. A full video of the show with commentary is also available to purchase.

To see A Western’s previous touring dates, see our Archive

“This is a beautiful pipe dream of a show – one that places the audience at its heart”

The Guardian

“a fantastically intelligent, progressive piece of work”

Total Theatre

“A joyful hour”

The Guardian Australia

︎︎︎ Press
︎︎︎ Writings

︎︎︎ Action Hero shop


photos by Richard Anderson, PM Mak, Sam Tyler and Withit Chanthamarit 

Created, written and performed by Gemma Paintin and James Stenhouse.

A Western was funded by Arts Council England in its development and UK tour, and was developed with support from Arnolfini’s We Live Here programme.