Scotsman Fringe First Award Winner 2013
A forgotten diary falls from a book you buy on eBay, what do you do?
Inspired by the Choose Your Own Adventure phenomenon of the 1980’s - Choose Your Own Documentary tells the true story of the discovery of a diary and my attempts to unravel its many mysteries. Part stand-up, part film documentary and part spoken word, it’s a unique and compelling interactive experience in which the audience play the most important role.
"A deeply moving testimony to the small choices we all make in our lives and the profound effects they can have"
- Mark Fisher, The Scotsman
With over 1500 possible versions, and multiple endings, every performance is different. At each twist and turn it’s the audience who dictate which paths the documentary takes - whether I meet with success, failure, or the unexpected, depends on the choices audience members make via remote control. Where will the story lead? How will the story end? You decide.
‘The dual narrative of his own struggles with growing up and the mystery surrounding the unhappiness expressed in the pages of the diary turn what could be a voyeuristic exercise into a uniquely immersive and human experience.’ - Evnt
The search spans four continents and documents the adventure I have with the many people I meet along the way - including the octogenarian originator of Choose Your Own Adventure Edward Packard, a self-help guru, a sword-swallower, a graphologist, a seaside arcade owner, and some ghosts from my past…
"Ultimately a love letter to the ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books and a directive to live actively and make choices"
‘Funny, heart-warming, and utterly bizarre – there’s very few people today pushing the envelope of stand-up, performance and documentary making quite like this’ - We Heart
"Southbank Centre is proud to be co-commissioner of Nathan Penlington’s Choose Your Own Documentary, a sensitive, exhilarating journey to find the boy in the book. The audience, who help to direct the action of the show, become as intrigued as Penlington, driving him on in his quest to explore how his narrative has intersected with one boy’s childhood diary. A triumph for live literature" - Southbank Centre
Choose Your Own Documentary is being featured at the Soho Theatre, London, from 4th-16th February, followed by a UK tour. For full information and performance dates please visit:
Created by Nathan Penlington, Fernando Gutierrez De Jesus, Nick Watson and Sam Smaïl.
Choose Your Own Documentary has been co-commissioned by Southbank Centre, London. Supported by Arts Council England. Initial development by Out Of Print.
The show previewed at Southbank Centre, London and at SXSW in Austin, Texas, in march 2013, supported by ITV New and Hackney House, before premièring at the Edinburgh Fringe where it won the prestigious Scotsman Fringe First Award. The Boy In The Book, the complete story of finding the diary and the search for Terence Prendergast, is due to be published by Headline in May 2014.