Thirst by Callum Hughes

Rural Tour, UK Theatre Tour, Edinburgh Fringe 2023

Thirst started out touring pubs and community centres around rural England, bringing theatre to areas with limited access to the arts.  This wouldn’t have been possible without the support of InnCrowd, Applause Rural Touring, Wildcard Foundation and Create Recovery. 

Following the incredible reception of Thirst, Callum teamed up with Fake Escape and toured the show to theatres around the UK with the support of Arts Council England who fully funded the tour.  After four performances at Vault Festival which garnered rave reviews, Callum was invited by Pleasance to be part of their Edinburgh Fringe 2023 programme - completing a 12-month journey for Thirst which grew from strength to strength.  Read more about the show including the range of four and five star reviews below… 

Jimi Hendrix. Kurt Cobain. Amy Winehouse. All sadly members of the infamous 27 Club. In July 2018, two months shy of his 28th birthday, Callum Hughes was nearly added to that list.

Join the acclaimed writer and performer as he takes you on a journey from a small Oxfordshire town to the bright lights of the Big Smoke as he attempts to discover who he is without looking through the bottom of the bottle.

Featuring music original and familiar, Thirst is both a love letter to sobriety and a celebration of all things alcoholic.

This debut solo show from actor and writer Callum Hughes (One Man Two Guvnors, Godspell) charts the true story of his journey through addiction, recovery, sobriety and ultimately… acceptance.

Thirst is also a joyous and uproarious look at life, family, theatre, religion and most importantly, the positivity of the pub.

So pull up a barstool, order Callum a 0% lager and listen to his incredible story...




'One of the most incredible storytellers we've ever seen' ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

 Ask The Ushers 

‘Callum’s magnetic personality and natural talent for storytelling captivating the audience. ‘A funny, uplifting hour of storytelling…entertaining and highly relatable’. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 


Callum is a master storyteller’, ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

 One 4 Review

A captivating, charismatic storyteller. Thirst is a brilliant piece of theatre, refreshingly honest and creative’. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Lost in Theatreland

His relaxed and charming personality warm you to him immediately… and I came away with a deep respect for him too’ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Theatre and Art Reviews

 ‘Pick of the Fringe’ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

Mervyn Stutter

‘…it feels as though you are sharing an intimate moment with a close friend who is bearing their soul to you’ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 

 Theatre Things 

‘A combination of laughter and reflectiveness’ ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

- London Theatre 1 

Thirst leaves you wanting more’  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 Reviews Hub


Audience reactions


The Journey...

When I first approached InnCrowd about Thirst, I never imagine they'd ever agree to it.  A show about alcoholism touring to pubs around rural England?  But such is their bravery and commitment to challenging work - they backed me all the way, commissioning me to create the piece fully alongside co-directors Roann Hassan McCloskey and David Shopland.  

After previewing the piece at London's Pen Theatre in Bermondsey, I went on to tour the show in far flung venues, pubs and libraries from Cleethorpes to Kent, Swanage to Somerset. Following the success of the rural tour, producers Take Escape applied to ACE funding to tour the show to Pub Theatres around the UK. Dates from January to March included Bristol, Bath, York, Cambridge, Suffolk and London.  

During the London run at Vault Festival, Nick Connaughton from The Pleasance came to see the show and offered us a place in this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe programme.  Nick said 'one thing I love about your show, is that you don't use the audience for therapy – you've already done the therapy – and as a result it's solid and slick, whilst still rooted in truth'.  


Now we embark on a month's run in Edinburgh - an ambition of mine I'm elated to be realising as I celebrate 13 years as a theatre-maker, and 5 years sober!


Thirst wouldn't have been possible to make without the support of several organisations including Arts Council England, InnCrowd, Create Recovery, The Wildard Foundation and producing partners, Fake Escape