For the last ten years, Four of Swords has been creating relentlessly visceral, vibrant and innovative theatre, community and education projects across the South West. Philip Kingslan John, co-founder and Creative Director of Four of Swords, first met Isobel Jeffery seven years ago. In 2022 they began collaborating in earnest, creating an open mic night at Exeter Phoenix, ostensibly for neurodiverse, global majority, emerging, late career, LGBTQ+ and non-binary performers, called Madame Thespia's Deliciously Diverse Open Mic Cabaret. Isobel plays the titular Madame Thespia and acts as host; Philip plays her sidekick Gustave.
After three successful open mic shows, the duo wanted to up the ante, and created an immersive murder mystery experience, using the same characters and featuring many of the performers they had met on previous Madame Thespia evenings. The resultant experience, entitled Madame Thespia's Immersive Murder Mystery Cabaret, took over the whole of Exeter's Barnfield Theatre, for one night only, in Spring 2023.
The Magical Screentest of Isobel Jeffery is the latest collaboration from Philip and Isobel. It tells Isobel's own story of how she has dedicated herself to following her dream of being an actor, conquering speech therapy and developing all kinds of resourceful strategies to overcome her disabilities. It is punctuated by skits and sketches co-written by Isobel and Philip.