The Red Chair
Written & performed by Sarah Cameron
Produced in association with FUEL
Available for touring traditional theatre spaces as well as rural touring venues.
“Fantasmagorical, exuberant, naughty, deliciously surreal…Cameron performed with breathtaking bravura.“ The Argus
“One of the 10 best things to see at the Edinburgh Fringe 2015” Radio Times
Argus Angel Winner at the Brighton Festival 2015
For more information contact:
Louise Blackwell of FUEL (Associate Producer)
Angela McSherry (Producer, Clod Ensemble)
About the show
The Red Chair is the surreal story of a dysfunctional family whose father literally eats himself into a chair. This epic ballad lies somewhere between a Grimm’s fairytale, an absurdist ghost story and a parent’s guide on how not to bring up children.
This one-woman storytelling performance uses just a chair and simple lighting. Specially composed music is sparse, heightening key moments in the story.
Performed in a deep Scots vernacular, the language is rich and rewarding, packed with ingenious wordplay and vivid, colourful verse. This exceptional piece of writing (now published by Bloomsbury Methuen) is a contemporary take on the folk and fairytale storytelling traditions, its rambunctious language and humorously grotesque imagery also brings to mind writers like Nikolai Gogol, Roald Dahl and Spike Milligan. A magic realistic tale of neglect, it is both funny and deadly serious.
Sarah Cameron recounts her story with a physical vitality that has become the trademark of all of Clod Ensemble’s work. (Both Sarah Cameron and director Suzy Willson trained under renowned French physical theatre teacher Jacques Lecoq. Other notable students include Steven Berkoff and Simon McBurney.)
The Red Chair is approximately 100min long (including 3 pauses where tasty nibbles are served to the audience) and suitable for everyone aged 14+. Towards the end of the show, the audience receives a wee dram of whisky and a chocolate to prepare them for the ghostly epilogue.
The Red Chair is available to play in black box studios with a playing space of 6m (w) x 8m (d) without the need for wings.
An adapted version of The Red Chair is available to play in rural touring venues – village halls and found spaces.
Air freight is minimal; the set consists of a wooden chair and a salt circle.
Full technical details are available on request.
New writing theatre audiences
Adventurous ‘culture vultures’ who enjoy innovative high-quality solo performance (such as the work of Chris Thorpe, Tim Crouch or Kate Tempest) or who like trying new studio scale theatre or physical performance.
Classic and modern theatre audiences who love language
From Beckett to Shakespeare, theatre audiences who love inventive, ingenious use of language will enjoy this show. (Clod Ensemble co-Director Paul Clark recently worked with Gare St Lazare Players, Ireland’s leading exponent of Samuel Beckett’s work, on a musical interpretation of his writing, Here All Night.)
Literature, spoken word, performance poetry
The contemporary storytelling form and rewarding verse will appeal to people who attend author events, literature festivals and poetry readings, as well as members of book clubs and creative writing groups. Readers who enjoy magical realism by writers as diverse as Gabriel García Márquez, Franz Kafka, Salman Rushdie and Jeanette Winterson or modern poets like Carole Ann Duffy will also enjoy this.
Adult-oriented adaptations of fairy tales, myths, legends and epics
Philip Pullman’s Grimm Tales is a recent example of classic fairy tales adapted for the stage (though remember that The Red Chair is not suitable for under 14s). Audiences for spoken word retellings and stagings of epic poems such as The Odyssey or Beowulf would also be relevant.
Folk storytelling, music and traditional arts
The strong Scots vernacular will appeal to audiences for traditional English, Scottish and Irish spoken word and music events. Check the listings of these organisations for relevant events near your venue: Society for Storytelling (London), The Folklore Society (London), The Sussex Centre for Folklore, Fairy Tales and Fantasy (Chichester), National Centre for the Folk Arts (Taunton) and Scottish Storytelling Centre (Edinburgh). Traditional music events can be found on The Folk Roots List and the Folk and Roots website.
This is a high-quality piece of contemporary storytelling by a skilful writer-performer. Practitioners who think of Clod Ensemble as a company rooted in a dance and physical theatre will be surprised to see this text-based, small-scale theatre piece as their latest work.
About Sarah Cameron
Sarah is an artist, performer and writer. Born in Dundee, she studied sculpture at Chelsea School of Art and theatre at Ecole International de Theatre Jacques Lecoq in Paris. She has worked extensively in theatre with companies including: Clod Ensemble, Royal Shakespeare Company, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Young Vic, where she was a resident member of the company that created the award-winning Grimm Tales directed by Tim Supple.
About Clod Ensemble
‘A company with the scent and texture of a distinctive musical and theatrical language firmly in its grasp.’ Time Out
‘The Clod epitomise all that is best in devised and visual theatre – pure inspiration shot through with sheer imagination and verve’ What’s On
‘One of those innovative and anarchic companies thrusting its way through traditional boundaries of theatre’ The Guardian
Clod Ensemble was founded in 1995 by choreographer Suzy Willson and composer Paul Clark. Clod makes performance happen in many different contexts, unleashing the extraordinary potential of music and movement for a broad range of audiences and participants.
The company creates performance projects, workshops and events across the UK and internationally. Recent productions include: Red Ladies (Southbank Centre, Malvern Theatre and Theatre Royal Margate, 2014); Zero (Brighton Festival, Bristol Old Vic, Sadler’s Wells, Malvern Theatre, 2013); An Anatomie in Four Quarters (Wales Millennium Centre, 2013 and Sadler’s Wells, 2011); and Under Glass (Winner of a Total Theatre Award 2009). Each live performance features a new music composition by Paul Clark. www.clodensemble.com
All of Clod Ensemble’s performance work is produced in association with FUEL - a producing organisation which works in partnership with some of the most exciting theatre artists in the UK to develop, create and present new work for all ages. www.fueltheatre.com