Following an interrupted run at VAULT Festival in 2020, writer and performer Alexandra Donnachie and Carbon Theatre are taking their bold and captivating one-woman production When We Died on tour this Spring. Presenting an intimate tale of overcoming the past and fighting for control, this poignant production follows one woman as she is faced with the body of the man who raped her eleven months ago. When We Died is a striking play about a woman’s choice to confront her trauma and tell her story, on her terms, with the audience and the dead ready to listen.
When an embalmer, who often imagines the lives of those she prepares for their final goodbyes, is unexpectedly faced with a man who she knows, she is confronted by the choice to take control of her narrative and face the trauma buried deep within. Written and performed by award-winning actress and award-nominated writer and theatre maker Alexandra Donnachie (Twenty-eight, Jessica Lazar, Theatre 503; 3 Years, 1 Week and a Lemon Drizzle, UK Tour, Edinburgh Fringe; 2019 BAFTA Winner Suffragettes with Lucy Worsley, BBC One/Book Lapping Productions), When We Died highlights the pivotal themes of male violence against women and lasting trauma in this raw and moving one-woman show; themes which remain prominent within our public conscious. Despite a drive from various organisations and charities to better educate men and boys on how to speak against and discourage inciting violence against women, the statistics are showing few signs of slowing. This production reflects the lasting trauma that rests within these themes and presents an honest portrayal of the reality of a survivor’s story.
After an early version was long-listed for the Bruntwood Prize for Playwriting in 2017, When We Died premiered at VAULT Festival for a brief and successful run before its interruption by COVID-19 in 2020. Returning 3 years later, the production remains relevant and addresses the prevailing issues in a fearless depiction of female strength and resilience.
Donnachie presents an exposed vulnerability and determination to share the story. When We Died explores ideas of agency and the decision to take the lead of one’s own narrative and of whether to share it or not, and with whom.
Writer and performer Alexandra Donnachie says, I’m incredibly proud of the play and thrilled to be taking When We Died out on the road and to be performing it again, but I feel incredibly conflicted between being thrilled it is still relevant for the sake of getting to perform it again, but also mortified that its story hasn’t yet become dated. I hadn’t heard the names Sarah Everard or Zara Aleena when I began to write When We Died and I hate that I now know them for all the wrong reasons. Violence against women isn’t stopping, or apparently even showing signs of slowing down, and if our play can help raise awareness of this, and have a part in educating those among us – especially men – about the importance of calling out what can often start as ‘jokes’ and ‘banter’, but can soon turn sinister, then I’ll gladly keep performing it until it’s considered unnecessary.
Wednesday 22nd March Town & Gown, 8 Market Passage, Cambridge, CB2 3PF https://www.townandgown.co.uk/
Saturday 25th March The Nest, The Old Town Hall, Hastings TN34 3EW https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/when-we-died-tickets
Thursday 30th March The Dukes, Moor Space, 15 Moor Lane, Lancaster, LA1 1QH https://dukeslancaster.org/
Friday 31st March Harrogate Theatre, 6 Oxford St, Harrogate HG1 1QF https://www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk/
Saturday 1st April Greenwich Theatre, Crooms Hill, London SE10 8ES https://greenwichtheatre.org.uk/
Thursday 6th April The Core at Corby Cube, George St, Corby NN17 1QG https://www.thecorecorby.com/
Age Recommendation 14+
Content Warnings Contains an account of rape, and descriptions of dead bodies. Please note, at no point is rape presented onstage.