- British touring company, noted for its productions of both new works and classics; under the artistic directorship of Rupert GooldM (1972 - ) it has become associated with a multimedia approach making crucial use of movement, music, and the visual arts.
Headlong has its origins in Anvil Productions, formed in 1974 as the resident company at the Oxford Playhouse. When the Playhouse closed (temporarily) in 1987, Anvil became a touring troupe under the name of the Oxford Stage Company, a title it retained even though it was latterly based in London. In 2006 Dominic Dromgoole, artistic director since 1999, moved on to Shakespeare's Globe and Goold, a young director based in Northampton, took over. That same year saw the company change its name to Headlong (partly, according to Goold, because its mail was constantly being sent to Oxford). Notable productions have included revivals of The Cherry Orchard (2003) and Rookery Nook (2005), both directed by Dromgoole, Sarah Kane's brutal Cleansed (2005), and Goold's adaptations of Milton's Paradise Lost (2006) and Marlowe's Faustus (2006), the latter rewritten to include parts for the artists Jake and Dinos Chapman. In 2009 the company enjoyed its biggest success to date with Lucy Prebble's Enron, a documentary drama about the collapse of the scandal-ridden US energy company. The play garnered numerous awards, including the Evening Standard Award for Goold as best director.