This Spring, writer Chris Thorpe and director Rachel Bagshaw’s Fringe First award-winning show about trying to communicate something unknowable returns for a UK tour, interweaving Rachel’s personal experiences of living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) with a fictional narrative about a love affair. With an original score from Melanie Wilson (When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other) and video design from Joshua Pharo (nominated for a 2019 Offie Award), alongside fully integrated captioning and audio description, The Shape of the Pain attempts to explain what Rachel’s chronic pain sounds like, looks like and feels like. Performed by Hannah McPake, The Shape of the Pain explores the concept of never-ending pain and the unexpected joy that can be found whilst living with it.
The Shape of the Pain follows a woman who attempts to express the physical pain that she lives with day in and day out. When she meets someone new, they have to learn how to navigate life, love and the pain together. Pain is notoriously tricky for doctors to analyse, requiring patients to give subjective reports of what they feel, and how much; The Shape of the Pain asks whether others can ever really understand our pain. The production was made in consultation with Rachel’s doctor, a consultant in pain at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, as well as other clinical professionals. The show premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 before performances at Battersea Arts Centre in early 2018 and will be embarking on its first UK tour this Spring, opening at Wilton’s Music Hall.
Rachel Bagshaw said: “The Shape of the Pain is a unique experience for an audience, as they gradually become immersed in the extra-sensory world which I experience with my condition. The show feels hugely important as we endeavour to engage with how we talk about pain, and how the shadows it can create also let in colour and light. Using creative access as part of the aesthetic also opens the show up to all audiences”.
Rachel Bagshaw makes innovative theatre which uses sound to tell stories. Directing credits include: Augmented (Sophie Woolley/Ovalhouse), Icons (WOW Festival Hull), Hamlet, (Young Vic), Resonance at the Still Point of Change (Unlimited Festival, South Bank Centre), The Rhinestone Rollers, Just Me, Bell (Graeae), Rachel is Associate Director at the Unicorn Theatre and an Associate Artist at the Bush Theatre and Wilton’s, and Director of Access to Acting.at RADA. Also in development: Disappear in collaboration with Verity Standen, with text by Lulu Raczka (China Plate).
Chris Thorpe is an award-winning playwright and theatre maker. He is Associate Artist at the Royal Exchange, Manchester - work for them includes There Has Possibly Been An Incident and The Mysteries. Other theatre work includes Victory Condition and The Milk of Human Kindness for the Royal Court and Beowulf for the Unicorn. He also has ongoing collaborations with Lucy Ellinson (TORYCORE), mala voadora (Overdrama/House-Garden/Dead End/Your Best Guess) and Hannah Jane Walker (The Oh Fuck Moment/I Wish I Was Lonely). Chris was a founder member of Unlimited Theatre and is an Associate of Live Art/ Theatre company Third Angel. This March Chris’ one-man show Status, produced by China Plate and developed with and directed by Rachel Chavkin, will tour the UK from 20th March – 5th June.
China Plate is an independent theatre studio launched in 2006 that works with artists, venues, festivals and funders to challenge the way performance is made, who it’s made by and who gets to experience it. The company are also Associate Producers at Warwick Arts Centre where they develop and commission new work, Artistic Associates at the New Wolsey Theatre where they are Directors of PULSE Festival, Programmers of New Directions (the NRTF showcase), and producers of innovative development programmes including The Darkroom, The Optimists (producer training) and The First Bite and Bite Size Festivals and partners with The Place, The NRTF and Take Art on the Rural Touring Dance Initiative.
Running Time: 70 minutes | Suitable for ages 14+
Accessibility: Captioning and audio description are integrated into the show
Developed by Rachel Bagshaw and Chris Thorpe
Directed by Rachel Bagshaw Written by Chris Thorpe
Original score by Melanie Wilson Designed by Madeleine Girling
Video and Lighting Design by Joshua Pharo Movement by Raquel Meseguer
Access/Audio Description Consulting by Michael Achtman Produced by China Plate
Cast: Hannah McPake
19 – 23 March Wilton’s Music Hall
1 Graces Alley, Whitechapel, London, E1 8JB
7.45pm, 3pm Saturday matinee | £25 - £12.50 (concs £22.50 - £10)
www.wiltons.org.uk | 020 7702 2789
25 March The Arts Centre at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk
Edge Hill University, St Helens Road, Ormskirk, Lancashire, L39 4QP
7.30pm | £10 (concs £8, students £5)
www.edgehill.ac.uk | 01695 584480
27 – 30 March Bristol Old Vic
King Street, Bristol, BS1 4ED
8pm, 3pm Saturday matinee | £14 - £12 (£10 - £8 concs)
www.bristololdvic.org.uk | 0117 987 7877
3 April Cambridge Junction
Clifton Way, Cambridge, CB1 7GX
7.30pm | £12.50 (£8 concs)
www.junction.co.uk | 01223 578 000
5 April Northern Stage
Barras Bridge, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RH
7.45pm | £15.50 - £10
www.northernstage.co.uk | 0191 230 5151