Action hero is the collaboration between Gemma Paintin & James Stenhouse

We live and work in Bristol

We have toured to theatres, bars, galleries and public spaces across five continents and have performed to audiences everywhere from an old cinema in Bangkok to Shanghai Grand Theatre to a Satan’s Riders Motorcycle club house in Tasmania and a blues bar in Texas on the same stage as James Brown (not at the same time).

James and Gemma

A poster from 'Watch me Fall'

Scrutinising the epic and the banal, we create performance that is intimate, distinctive and invigorating. Our ongoing interests lie in the iconography of popular culture and its use; both as a weapon and as a shared cultural memory.

see why this maverick company, with its engaging DIY aesthetic, is attracting so much attention The Guardian


We tour our work regularly throughout the UK and internationally. See our calendar page for upcoming dates and where we've been in the world. We have been shortlisted for several awards including the Anti Festival international prize for Live Art and we won an Austin Critic’s Circle Award in 2013.

Travels through Texas
Gemma in Hoke's Bluff
A production shot from 'Watch me Fall'
A production shot from 'Front Man'
A production shot from 'A Western'


We are Forest Fringe artists and Brunswick Club members. We are also long-time members of Residence, an artist-led space for the creation of new performance work in Bristol and we are recipients of the Farnham Maltings artist fellowship.