Following critical acclaimed for their previous play The Listening Room, theatre company Crowded Room stages the world premiere of new verbatim play preparing for the end of life, The Colours, at Soho Theatre. Book your tickets now.
The play, created using interviews with patients, doctors, nurses and volunteers at Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff and Ty Olwen Hospice in Swansea, runs at Soho Theatre from 30 July to 17 August 2019.
“It would be abnormal if someone didn’t die.
You know, that would be very strange.
We’d pay a lot of attention, I think, if that happened.”
Written by Harriet Madeley and directed by Max Barton, The Colours tells the story of five people as they lie on a tropical beach sipping piña coladas, moving through fantasy, memory and reality as they process the most profound yet ordinary of experiences: nearing the end of life.
As they describe moments from their lives, dig into their present experience and reflect on what the future has in store, audiences are taken on a rollercoaster ride of the human imagination… and transported all the way to the brink; as far as the eye can see.
The play features an original score inspired by music chosen by the interviewees.
Madeley, who wrote The Colours, and Crowded Room co-founder Mark Knightley also star in the play alongside Morfydd Clark, Claire-Marie Hall and Ché Francis.
Clark, who was named among The Guardian’s ‘Rising stars of 2017’ boasts credits including King Lear at the Old Vic and Les Liaisons Dangereuses at the Donmar Warehouse. Hall starred in productions including High School Musical, The Grinning Man and The King and I, while Francis, who recently graduated from LAMDA, appeared in The Assassination of Katie Hopkins.
Barton, who directed The Listening Room, returns to direct The Colours. He’s joined in the creative team by set designer Luke W Robson, lighting designer Jo Palmer and sound designer Ellie Isherwood.
Crowded Room create cross-form theatre that aims to stimulate discussion around difficult subjects and effect change. This year, in addition to premiering The Colours, they partnered with Cambridge Consultants, ARM & the Leverhulme Centre for Future Intelligence to create 2030, a commission from Collusion exploring AI and inequality in Cambridge. They also featured on BBC Radio 4 with The Listening Room & toured the production to 20 theatres, prisons, psychiatric hospitals and schools across the UK. They are currently commissioned by Public Health England and the Prison Radio Association to make Echoes, a piece tackling stigma and misinformation about HIV, and are developing One Night, a headphone theatre show following the lives of local people faced with adapting to rapid change, with Shoreditch Town Hall.
During the creation of The Colours, Madeley’s personal connection to the project altered. On her way to the first day of interviews in Cardiff, she was diagnosed with Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis – an untreatable and potentially life limiting illness. She said
“You never know when you might have to confront your own mortality. I cancelled the interviews at first – I couldn’t handle the diagnosis at all. But going back a week later, the people I met blew my mind. Consciousness of death doesn’t reduce the quality of your life – quite the opposite.”
During the run of The Colours at Soho Theatre, a number of post-show talks will be staged with speakers who feature in the play, including Dr Idris Baker (palliative care consultant at Ty Olwen) and Dr Mark Taubert (palliative care consultant at Velindre Cancer Centre).
The Colours runs at Soho Theatre, 21 Dean St, Soho, London W1D 3NE from 30 July to 17 August with performances Mondays to Saturdays at 7pm, Matinees Saturday at 2.45pm. Tickets are priced from £11. CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE!