• Photo: Richard Haughton

  • Photo: Richard Haughton

  • Photo: Richard Haughton

  • Photo: Richard Haughton

  • Credit: Hughues Anhes

  • Credit: Richard Haughton

The Toad Knew

James Thierrée / Compagnie du Hanneton

The Toad Knew  is James Thierrée’s latest large scale production.

It features all the skills the company is world famous for: conjuring illusions and  impressive transformations through the use of monumental staging and dramatic lighting. Taking us on a journey from the dark side of a theatrical psyche to the joyous humour of his comedic physicality,

The main theme of the show is the relationships within the family, especially between brothers and sisters, how these relationships affect us, for the better and the worse. The show is set in unnamed place reminiscent of the world of  Hieronymus Bosch with a hint of Tim Burton. The six performers cast includes the incredible dancers Thi Mai Nguyen (previously seen in Tabac Rouge)  and Valérie Doucet. A live singer accompanies the performance, unfolding the story through her vocal narration.

The Toad Knew  premiered in the UK in August 2016 as part of Edinburgh International Festival.



  • "A spectacularly ebullient piece"

    What's On Stage

  • "All you need to know is that it is a triumph of quixotic dreaming."

    Herald Scotland

  • "A chance to dream and allow our imaginations to take flight and soar"

    The Guardian

Previous Projects


    James made his theatrical debut in his parents’ company Le Cirque Bonjour aged four followed by appearances with Le Cirque Imaginaire with whom he toured worldwide. In between travelling, he attended the Marymount International School of Paris and participated in occasional workshops and training sessions at Le Conservatoire de Paris, Piccolo Teatro di Milano and the Harvard Theatre School (ART) in the USA.

    In 1998 he established his own company choosing his childhood nickname Hanneton (Junebug) as the title for the informal ensemble. In the same year he created his first work, The Junebug Symphony  which was awarded a Molière Award and toured the world including runs at the Lyric Hammersmith and Queen Elizabeth Hall.

    In 2003 he directed his second work La Veillée des Abysses,  with dates at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, Peacock Theatre and Wales Millennium Centre as well as international dates in Mexico, America and Australia. In 2007 he directed and performed in his third stage work Au Revoir Parapluie  which ran at Sadler’s Wells and toured the world.

    In 2009 he premiered his one-man show Raoul  in Belgium followed by a tour in France and the UK including 10 nights at the Barbican. His most recent work Tabac Rouge  was premiered in 2013 at Théâtre Vidy, Switzerland.

    In 2014, Crying Out Loud presented to great acclaim Tabac Rouge  at Sadler’s Wells, London.

    The Toad Knew  is his latest production, it premiered in Switzerland in April 2016.

  • Why book this show

    Inventive and unclassifiable artist

    Dream-like spectacle

    Dance, theatre

    Inspiring and captivating


  • Key target markets

    Visual and physical theatre audiences

    Families with children over the age of 10

    Audiences looking for something different