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Preview: Hold On Let Go at Arts Centre Washington

Hold On Let Go 

Arts Centre Washington

Thursday 5 May 2022

A new show about memory, from the company the North East Theatre Guide noted had created ‘live changing’ theatre, with original songs by Paul Smith (Maxïmo Park), choreography by Liv Lorent MBE and dramaturgy by Selina Thompson (salt.)

Following a successful run at Summerhall at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe, Unfolding Theatre’s critically acclaimed show about memory and what we pass on begins a UK tour this spring, starting at Arts Centre Washington on 5 May.

In a world of information overload, Hold On Let Go invites audiences to discover a new kind of memory champion. One that admits how much they’ve forgotten. One that bakes bread, dances on tables and might possibly get sucked into a black hole... 

Alex is 56. Luca is half his age. Alex has an encyclopaedia in his head. Luca has one on her phone. Most of us forget most things, most of the time. What if we forget something important? Something that might make the world a better place?

Director Annie Rigby explains, “Hold On Let Go takes you on a journey that starts in a kitchen and travels to the farthest reaches of our universe. It explores how fragmentary and partial our memories are - both as individuals and society. From there it asks whether we might behave differently if we were conscious of how little we hold in our memories. 

“It's a lovely show to be touring as audiences return to theatres, many for the first time since before the pandemic. It has a very welcoming and relaxed atmosphere, and serves its audience freshly baked bread. It makes me laugh to think that we made Hold On Let Go before sourdough bread became a lockdown cliché. It's brilliant to be touring the show in 2022, when it feels more relevant than ever. It’s a real celebration of live performance, with plenty of laughter, good stories and great music. It’s also the first show Unfolding Theatre has made that premiered outside of the region, so it feels really special to be finally presenting Hold On Let Go in the North East. We never thought it would take three years to bring it home and we can't wait to welcome audiences at Arts Centre Washington.”

Paul Smith has written original songs for Hold On Let Go - his first theatre collaboration. He says, “Music and memory is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. We called the first Maxïmo Park album, A Certain Trigger because of how music can be an emotional trigger, taking you to places and memories. In Hold On Let Go, we’re playing with how a radio broadcast of songs and words, played within the show, can build an emotional connection with audiences.” 

The creative team also includes dramaturg Selina Thompson (salt.), choreographer Liv Lorent MBE (balletLORENT), writer/performer Luca Rutherford (Learning How to Die), and sound design by Mariam Rezaei (Beats North, Curious Monkey).

Led by Annie Rigby, Unfolding Theatre brings people together to experience stimulating new work that’s thoughtful, unexpected and playful. Over the last decade, the company has built a reputation for working with all sorts of people from different walks of life to make theatre with a wild sense of humour and strength of character. 

As with all of Unfolding Theatre’s work, participation drives the creative process. For Hold On Let Go Annie and the team led workshops with parents and newborn babies and elderly people to explore how to capture the things that are usually forgotten in day to day life. Some of their stories feature in the show as listeners’ messages sent into Paul Smith’s radio station, Too Much Information FM. We hear about Jude who can’t remember what it feels like to be carried, Mary who remembers the sound of sea ice cracking, heard in the middle of a night in the hard winter of 1963. Alex bakes sourdough bread during each show. The sourdough starter is activated by the natural yeasts in the air of each performance. A piece of freshly baked bread is offered to the audience at the end of the show, as a tiny feast of now.

Photos: The Other Richard


Tickets are on sale now for Arts Centre Washington on 5 May. More tour dates to be 

confirmed, for details or to book tickets see

On The Web 


#HoldOnLetGo |

Cast & Creatives

Director: Annie Rigby (Putting The Band Back Together) 

Writer & Performer: Luca Rutherford (Luca Rutherford’s Political Party)

Performer: Alex Elliott (Putting the Band Back Together, Best in the World)

Songwriter: Paul Smith (Maxïmo Park)

Sounds: Mariam Rezaei (Beats North, Curious Monkey)

Choreographer: Liv Lorent (balletLORENT)

Dramaturg: Selina Thompson (salt.)

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