After the Break

‘After the Break’ follows a woman through her thoughts and back out into the world again. We meet a person who is ‘coping’. Fuelled by her own ponderings and unable to face the bigger problems in the world, she immerses herself in adverts on the television - as a form of escapism, release and fantasy. Following two ethereal aspirational figures from a greasy spoon cafe and along a platform to the beach, she shares with the audience her thoughts, feelings and opinions on everything from Phil Collins to yoghurts whilst avoiding addressing anything else. A surreal and visual feast, ‘After the Break’ uses nostalgia and movement to question the glitches between reality and fantasy, authenticity and bravado and how to cope with being overwhelmed and ultimately asks ‘when do we choose freedom?’

  • Zoe Sinead Murtagh
    Jekyll & Hyde, National Theatre (AD)
  • Zoe Sinead Murtagh
    Theatre & Stage Credits (Northern Stage, Camden People's Theatre, BBC Writer's Room NE, Live Theatre, Film Hub North/ BFI Hub, Lumiere Festival, New Writing North etc)
  • Magnus Dennison
    Meerkat Films
  • Anna Kate Golding
    Key Cast
    "Dancer 1"
    The Colour Room, Sky Arts
  • Sian Lucy Armstrong
    Key Cast
    Magic Bus, Stupid
  • Nathan Amarkwei
    Key Cast
    "Dancer 2"
    Dr Who, Spring Awakening (Almeida)
  • Laura Stutter Garcia
  • Lauren Mary Vevers
    Love Spell, BFI
  • Project Type:
    Experimental, Short, Other
  • Genres:
    Comedy, Drama, Dance, Monologue, Art, Experimental, Performance, Pastiche
  • Runtime:
    5 minutes
  • Completion Date:
    September 9, 2021
  • Production Budget:
    5,000 GBP
  • Country of Origin:
    United Kingdom
  • Country of Filming:
    United Kingdom
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Zoe Sinead Murtagh

Zoe Murtagh is a writer, performer and director based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Working across theatre, film, performance and poetry, Zoe creates work on themes of queerness, heritage, the environment and friendships in a way that is accessible and vibrant. Inspired by social movements, school science lessons, Kate Bush’s dancing and folklore, she creates playful disruptions in everyday life through work in theatres, festivals, zines, schools and on screen.
Zoe is an Associate Artist at ARC Stockton and a Freelance Artist with Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art and New Writing North. Her first short film ‘After the Break’ was written through BFI Network and Film Hub North’s ‘Script Lab’ programme before a reading at Royal Exchange Manchester. ‘After the Break’ was produced for screen through New Creatives with BBC Arts and Arts Council England. She has just completed the role of Associate Director to Kirsty Housley on National Theatre School’s Tour of Jekyll & Hyde.

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Director Statement

'After the Break' began as a piece of cabaret performance inspired by the idea of perfume adverts coming to life, submerging a live audience in ridiculous promises and fantasies only to have that illusion dissolve in front of them as the underlying 'transaction' of buying a feeling is revealed.

After a long journey of research and development, After the Break now asks 'how do we deal with feeling overwhelmed?' and 'what does it take to be free?'

We created an ice cream landscape of 'hope', an original electronic soundscape tempts us towards the sea and towards something... better?

I hope you will watch the film and feel something. I hope it inpires you to dip your toes into the north sea.