Gerrard is the principal Associate Artist of Howard Barker's company The Wrestling School.
Gerrard's taste for complexity of language, and the sense of the physicality that produces such language, in forms of theatre highly alert to the sensation and communication of both, brought him into the orbit of the work of Howard Barker,
'Britain’s greatest living playwright'
Since 1997, when he played Vanya in ‘(Uncle) Vanya’ through a European tour under Barker’s own direction, his association with The Wrestling School (TWS) - the company set up by actors and directors solely for the production of Barker’s work - has become deep. He is a member of the board of that company and has been deeply engaged in developing and leading a new practice for the company: over some years a series of lab/workshops that explore the processes at work, 'the war of articulacy against silence', that is the rhetorically heightened soundscape, and the emotional landscape, of Barker’s Theatre of Catastrophe.
In 2000 Adelaide International Festival of the Arts, in the principal role of The Priest, Gerrard led an enormous dual-company cast in the premiere of Barker's 8 hour epic The Ecstatic Bible. The Ecstatic Bible is a testament for the millennium, a series of interlocking narratives suffused by the European political and social experience of the twentieth century. An epic work of sweeping landscapes, passionate characters, provocative imagery and powerful poetic language filled with great swoops of rich dark humour. This intriguing collection of parables without morality carries within it the profound tunes and echoes of past pain and comic contradiction. While the scale of this bible is vast and the landscape strange, the dilemmas facing its characters are all too familiar.
The WS Summer School of 2004, drew international participation. Language is a vigorously-felt engine of identity, self-revelation, and self-invention for Barker’s characters. As it is in Shakespeare and the Jacobeans with whom he has affinities, for Barker’s characters, language is very survival, and experience is forensically examined in the shadow of nullity.
Gerrard's involvement with WS workshops came together with his work with RADA where, in 2005, the WS ran a week of workshops for both professionals and students, and staged the first public performance of a new Barker work, '12 Encounters with a Prodigy'.
Since then, while continuing to act for the company, Gerrard has also regularly directed the company's productions. In 2008 he directed George Irving and Duncan Bell in The Dying of Today, at the Arcola Theatre. In 2010, the company presented a double-bill at the Riverside Studios, for which Gerrard directed a cast led by Tom Riley in Hurts Given and Received which was nominated for 'Best Director' and three other nominations in London's celebrated 'Offie' awards.
Refused funding by the Arts Council, The Wrestling School continues to find ways to create new work through partnerships with academic institutions. Gerrard has been instrumental in these collaborations with institutions such as Exeter University, RADA, de Montfort University and Rose Bruford College, as actor, director, and workshop leader.