The Strange Train Company
Performance Collective specialising in Outdoor Work combining Narrative, Music and Visuals


Find out about the Strange Train's Crew



The Strange Train is currently crewed by the following personnel, who contribute their labour and know-how in order to bring our projects to life.


Sophie Tyrrell is the current driver of the Strange Train. Her expertise in theatre design, prop building, scenic painting, costume designing, story telling, clowning, and a stint as early years dinosaur expert at Manchester Museum more than explains why she now chooses to parade loudly beneath fantastic giant structures in public places. She also designed the train and prefers it to be fuelled by a range of natural and recyclable materials where possible. 

Dave Brown started working with the Strange Train Company long before it was fully established. As a professional writer and animator, the world of the Strange Train provides a tangible contrast to the virtual world he usually inhabits. When he's not offering consultancy on new routes, cargoes and passengers, he can often be found stripped to the waist throwing on coal in the engine room.

Menyee Lai is a professional daydreamer and wannabe human rights lawyer parkour world champion, Menyee can often be found in her local supermarket dreaming of beekeeping and wishing she didn't have arthritic hips or a severe allergy to tree pollen. After a wrong turn at the checkout she found herself on board Strange Train's newest journey and realised that is exactly where she wants to be. Oh, and she likes ice cream.

Elaine Eland believes everyone has a story to tell. Whether she's bringing donkeys into churches, coordinating the telling of local tales for International Women's Week, competitive juggling or setting things alight with anarchic performance collectives, her utmost priority is to create shared experiences that bind people together with wonder and delight.

Natalya Penfold ran away to join the circus, taking up a number of acrobatic skills and performing arts. In her highest moments she can be found wading through crowds on stilts, or dangling from a rope in the sky. When closer to the ground you will find her giving homes to animals in need, and making sure that every scaly, furry, or long-tailed creature on the planet is being taken care of.

Gerry Flanagan takes the business of making people laugh extraordinarily seriously, which is probably why he's so good at it. An unforgettable teacher, artistic director, and performer creating playful and profound productions through Shifting Sands Theatre. Gerry shows us how to engage and entertain audiences by embracing our awkwardness, playing with expectations, and learning to just be. 

Emma Martin is a highly original artist who ensures that every project has a great story at its heart. For the Strange Train she has created wonderful characters and narratives, performing with a hilarious intensity. She is permanent full time artist in residence at Stanley Grove primary school in Manchester, bringing together her extensive experience in visual arts, drama and education. 

Graham Philpott-Roden is a community musician and music tutor based in Stockport. Graham facilitates music workshops, performances, and enrichment experiences within schools, choirs, residential settings and various community events. He trained at York St John University (Music Performance) before studying for a secondary PGCE at the RNCM. Recent works have included an engagement with Extracare Charitable Trust, Tesco Farm to Fork and Urban Expression (Manchester East & Salford).

The Circus House is a dedicated training space in Manchester for all things circus. They deliver teaching experiences to anyone with the desire to learn, bringing enjoyable exercise and exciting performances to the city. The Circus House frequently contributes talented performers, expertise and a wonderful community of people to the Strange Train. 


Our mission is to entertain, delight, and combine stunning visuals with meaningful narrative and playful engagement


Visit previous stops to see our work.