Hoke’s Bluff

Finding new meanings in old cliches

With a wistful yearning for a world that never really existed, Hoke’s Bluff uses high school storylines, inspiring locker room speeches and sentimentality to tell an underdog story that’s been told a million times before. Shifting and re-arranging the trite conventions and narratives of American teen movies we talk about what it means to be a winner (on the inside).

Hoke’s Bluff navigates the curious territory in which our emotional responses to American dreams outweigh our rational understanding of what America (and the Western world) really stands for. By attempting a heartfelt and sincere rendition of schmaltzy, hackneyed underdog sports movies we gently reveal both the ambient violence and the genuine beauty that hide within these seemingly innocuous cornball stories.

Hoke’s Bluff was included in a list of ‘best shows this century‘, compiled by young writers for the Guardian

Hoke’s Bluff came out of The Darkroom, a writing residency we did in January 2012. We were interested in sports psychology writing and trashy American sports films and throughout the course of a two week writing marathon a kind of screenplay for a film emerged. It had characters and a story so being live artists, not playwrights, this felt strange to us. We tried to stage it to see what happened. On the way we did a road trip across California and drove into the desert. We went to an American football game in Oakland, an Ice Hockey game in Vancouver, and a Basketball game in San Antonio. We bought a giant wildcat mascot outfit in a fancy dress store in Austin, Texas and carried it home on the plane.

Co-produced by China Plate and Warwick Arts Centre. Co-commissioned by Bristol Old Vic Ferment. Funded by Arts Council England. Supported by Theatre Bristol.

Click here to buy a specially designed Hoke’s Bluff Playbook