“Enjoyable, ambitious and slightly surreal adventure”

A woman enters the changing room for the first time in decades.
A lifeguard twiddles his thumbs as he dreams of being a real hero.
A crammed aerobics class slides into slow motion; their thoughts tumbling out as they watch their bodies in the unforgiving mirror that surrounds them.

TAKE ON ME is a show taking place after hours in leisure centres across the UK. Set in the 1980s world of headbands and leg warmers, it follows a lonely woman coming to the gym for the first time and a lifeguard who has never saved anyone.

Live musicians belt out classic 80’s hits including I Wanna Dance with Somebody and Flashdance, and lead you through the changing rooms, gym, an aerobics class and finally the pool. You are a fly on the wall for one extraordinary day in these people’s lives, as characters from 80’s films appear out of nowhere to change the course of fate.

A guest cast of local people play various parts including the Karate Kid, the centre receptionist and pool spectators who suddenly break into a rendition of Holding Out for a Hero.

You’ll never look at your leisure centre in quite the same way again!

We're so excited to announce that Take On Me's application to the Arts Council's Strategic Touring programme has been successful! We have been overwhelmed by the energy and investment from our partners to bring the Take On Me project across the UK: South Street Arts, Ideas Test, Creative Arts East and Ealing Council, The Lowry and Lighthouse Poole. We’re looking forward to revisiting the legwarmers and headbands, creating new local casts everywhere we go and training the site-specific producers and makers of the future. Performance dates will be announced very soon!

Joyce Wilson, London Area Director, Arts Council England:
"We’re delighted to be able to support Dante or Die with its plan to bring contemporary theatre to wider communities across England with funding from the National Lottery. Touring leisure centres with performances of Take on Me, Dante or Die will encourage not only new audiences for theatre but new participants too. Dante or Die is one of many contemporary companies taking work to non-traditional venues, encouraging and enabling young people and families to experience arts and culture close to home and in familiar settings."

  1. Created by Daphna Attias & Terry O'Donovan
  2. Directed by Daphna Attias
  3. Text by Andrew Muir
  4. Design by Amy Jackson
  5. Rehearsal Director Anna Woolhouse
  6. Sound Design by Eleanor Isherwood & George Hicks
  7. Lighting Design by Steve, Katy & Faith
  8. Assistant Director Deirdre Daly
  9. 2016 Cast Terry O'Donovan, Fiona Watson, Eleanor Isherwood, George Hicks
  10. 2016 Guest Cast Stephy Barton, Alex Curtis, Tom Dicker, Sophie Gunn, Stella Kailides, Jazzy Jones, Scott Swinton
  11. 2016 Choir Bletchingley Community Choir including John Spedding, John Thurston, Andy Catford, Astrid Charters, Owen Thurston, Liz Wise, Sue Reilly
  12. Photography Justin Jones & Jessica Bevan

"Enjoyable, ambitious and slightly surreal adventure"
The Stage


TAKE ON ME was commissioned by Farnham Maltings and Arts Partnership Surrey, co-commissioned by Harlow Playhouse and funded by Arts Council England.

The 2018-2019 Project is funded by Bit Lottery Fund, Garfield Weston Foundation and Arts Council England.

Garfield Weston Arts Council England Arts Council England


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