Things I've done.


I’m a writer and performer who fuses storytelling and comedy with original and inventive formats. I’ve performed at venues and festivals across the UK, Europe, Australia and the USA and have been billed alongside the likes of John Cooper Clarke, Ricky Gervais, Daniel Kitson, and Stewart Lee.

My work has also been broadcast on BBC Radio 1, Radio 3, Radio 4, 6 Music, and London Live. I was co-host of three series of the surreal spoken word show Parlour Games on Resonance 104.4FM with writer and actor Guy J Jackson, and have also appeared on Australia’s ABC.

One of my recent projects is The Boy in the Book – a genre-twisting interactive documentary where YOU control the narrative and direct the story. A collaboration with filmmakers Fernando Gutierrez De Jesus, Sam Smaïl and Nick Watson, commissioned by The Space, it’s an immersive true story of obsession, childhood, loss, and adventure, with thousands of possible paths, and multiple endings.

The Boy in the Book has been adapted from the multi award-winning spoken word theatre show, Choose Your Own Documentary. Combining film, stand-up, storytelling, and my obsession with interactive fiction, the show allows the audience to interact with the performance by using wireless remote controls to decide what happens next. With over 1500 permutations each performance is unique. The show was co-commissioned by the Southbank Centre, and supported by Arts Council England.

The show previewed as work in progress at the Southbank Centre in London in 2012 and at SXSW in Austin Texas in March 2013. This was followed by a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival where the show won the prestigious Scotsman Fringe First Award for ‘outstanding writing and innovation’, and gained a series of reviews in The Independent, The Times, and the New York Times. In 2014 Choose Your Own Documentary toured the UK, starting with a sell-out two week run at the Soho Theatre, London. The show also appeared at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York, Sheffield Doc/Fest, and Antenna Documentary Film Festival in Sydney, Australia.

The Boy in the Book, the complete story of finding the diary, was published as a book by Headline in May 2014, and in paperback February 2015. It is also available as an unabridged audiobook, read by me, through Audible.

My reputation for producing varied and entertaining events in novel formats has led me to be employed to produce and host events for a wide variety of festivals and organisations including the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Tate Modern, Brick Lane Festival, Stoke Newington Festival, Whitstable Arts Biennale and the London Sinfonietta.

I’ve recently completed a commission for the Story Museum, Oxford, to create an immersive exhibit that allows visitors to experience Choose Your Own Adventure books in a unique way.


Nathan Penlington

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© 2011 – 2023 Nathan Penlington