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The Proteus Connection

Several of the main protagonists in KOBAL’s history first worked together in amateur theatre company Proteus. Their first production, John Godber's "Bouncers", was staged at Oldham's Grange Arts Centre in October 1998 and in addition to Stephen Michael Lowe's direction it featured a fresh-faced Paul Bowles treading the boards with Adam Gent and several other culprits back-stage.

In the March of '99 Proteus staged "Death in Small Doses". Co-written by John Mellor and Stephen Michael Lowe, it is a comedy about a dead man and his journey through the afterlife. Enter a young Mark Distin and a naïve Rob Starksfield, who both volunteered to toil over a hot light bulb while Lowe pranced about on stage with Marcus McMillan. Although the production was a success it turned out to be the final call for Proteus who disbanded soon after.

Fast forward a couple of years, and although Proteus was no more, a few of its ex-members got together to do “Cinderella on the Rocks”, a rock comedy based on the pantomime classic. Brought up to date and set in a bar, the story was altered by the founders of Proteus (Lowe, Jon Scholes, Craig Sharples, Chris Morris, & Adam Gent) and written by Stephen Michael Lowe. Having become fully paid up members of the technical fraternity Messrs. Distin and Starksfield took the roles of designers alongside a fully beered-up Matt Lever, ably assisting Lowe as director. The only thing left was a name for the company – lo and behold, KOBAL was born.

Proteus Theatre Company Productions

Written by John Godber and performed 7th – 10th October 1998 at the Grange Arts Centre, Oldham.


Craig Sharples as Lucky Eric
Chris Morris as Les
Paul Bowles as Ralph
Jon Scholes as Judd


Stephen Michael Lowe – Director
Jon Scholes – Producer
Craig Sharples – Publicity, Props
Adam Gent – Production Manager, LX Design
Chris Morris – Co-ordinator
Lynsey Collins – Choreographer
Tom Hares – LX Operator
Nic Forsdike – Sound Operator
Craig Bennett – Stage Manager
James Neal – Deputy Stage Manager
Andy Milson – Assistant Stage Manager

Death in Small Doses

Written by Stephen Michael Lowe and John Mellor, performed 25th – 27th March 1999 at the Grange Arts Centre.


Stephen Michael Lowe as Jim
Steve Butterworth as Death
Bernie Wood as God / Doctor
Craig Sharples as Bob / Nurse
Marcus McMillan as Jesus
Tracy Hurst as Angel / Marilyn Monroe
Paul Ingram as Barman
Carol Kirkham as Angela
Jon Scholes as Ivor Biggun MP / Compere / Jef f / St. John
John Slater as Abraham Lincoln / Shamus / Dave / Evangelist
Andy Milsom as Albert Einstein / Martin Briggs / Follower / Noah
Daren Wild as Napoleon / Hitler


Daren Wild – Director
Jon Scholes – Producer
Craig Sharples – Advertising & Coordination
Annette Force – Make-up
Carol Kirkham – Choreographer
Craig Bennett – Stage Manager
Adam Gent – Set Design
Tom Hares – Lighting Design
Nic Forsdike – Sound Design
James Neal – Deputy Stage Manager
Danny Butterworth – Assistant Stage Manager
Rob Starksfield – Assistant Electrician
Mark Distin – Assistant Electrician
Stephen Michael Lowe – Set Construction


All images and text © 2006 The KOBAL Theatre Company