The Bullet And The Bass Trombone

Theatre  |  1 hour 45mins

words & music by Timothy X Atack  |  directed by Tanuja Amarasuriya

There’s a concert orchestra, trapped in a city during a military coup. As violence erupts, with pitched battles breaking out around them, the orchestra becomes separated – lost – hoping and trying to find their way back to each other. The composer is left to tell the story.

With an intricate, fractured narrative and haunting soundtrack, The Bullet and The Bass Trombone is a modern hymn to people and places now lost. The story comes together from the smallest of pieces, like a mosaic: a whistling bird in the jungle; a gunfight on an airport runway; a murder in a forest of music stands. It’s a fugue of voices, memories and sounds, played by a lone performer trying to make sense of the chaos. 


“Hauntingly beautiful”
– What’s On Stage.

“Harrowing, intelligent, beautifully crafted and deftly performed. And ultimately incredibly uplifting in an impossible-to-describe kind of way.”
– Andrew Haydon, Postcards from the Gods.

“Watching Bullet is the closest I’ve come to the experience of seeing Godspeed [You! Black Emperor] play live: it has the same long-drawn-out drones, the same careful build-up to sustained emotional crescendos – and again, the same politics, the same humanity, fear, and hope. It takes a long time for hope to emerge in Bullet, and when it does, it floods the dark room with sunlight: a magical, uplifting experience.”
– Maddy Costa, States of Deliquessence.

“This isn’t a show you see. This is a show you breathe, you hear, you feel in your arteries. It’s almost impossible to describe. Like music.”
– Emma Geraghty, Voices of Wonder


Streaming online as part of MAYK’s programme on the Bristol Arts Channel, Wed 24th – Sun 28th June 2020.

Previously presented at: Bristol Old Vic (premiered 2012), New Wolsey Theatre (Pulse Festival), National Theatre Temporary Space (formerly The Shed), Warwick Arts Centre, Axis Arts Centre, British Council/Caravan showcase of new english performance 2014 (Brighton Festival), Lincoln Performing Arts Centre, The House (Plymouth University), Manchester Royal Exchange, Chapter Arts Centre (Cardiff), Quarterhouse (Folkestone)

We got merch: The specially designed CD EP/Programme that accompanies the show is available to buy online via the MAYK website. You can listen to excerpts from the CD on our Soundcloud.

For further information about booking or presenting The Bullet and the Bass Trombone please email 
Kate Yedigaroff at MAYK.


Readings and reconstructions by Malcolm Hamilton, Vic Llewellyn, Jessica Macdonald, Paul Mundell, Leiza McLeod, Gemma Paintin, Sylvia Rimat, Kate Yedigaroff

Preview lighting design by Aaron J Dootson  | touring lighting design by Anthony Dunn

A Bristol Old Vic Ferment commission. Produced by MAYK. Developed with support from Parabola Arts Centre, Live Theatre, The Empty Space and Forest Fringe. Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.