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Preview: The Shape of the Pain at Newcastle Northern Stage

China Plate presents:
The Shape of the Pain
Newcastle Northern Stage
Friday 5th April 2019

Developed by Rachel Bagshaw and Chris Thorpe
Written by Chris Thorpe
Directed by Rachel Bagshaw
With an original score by Melanie Wilson

Chris Thorpe and Rachel Bagshaw’s Fringe First award-winning show about a love affair seen through the eyes of someone with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome returns for UK tour.

a smart, funny and far from disconsolate inquiry into the knowability of someone else’s experience” **** Sunday Times

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 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.

On The Web:

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

5 April at Newcastle  Northern Stage  7.45pm
£15.50 - £10
Box Office: 0191 230 5151

Running Time: 70 minutes
Suitable for ages 14+
Accessibility: Captioning and audio description are integrated into the show

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