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Harlow digital tour dates and Barbican online world premiere for gritty dance-theatre show

Entertainment / Tue 18th May 2021 at 02:52pm

IN choreographer Rhiannon Faith’s new show DROWNTOWN, six strangers, weighed down by individual darkness, come to a deprived coastal land. Seemingly abandoned, there is no one to help but themselves. Stuck between the remains of a broken community and the vast bleakness of the sea, they struggle with isolation, shame and failed support systems.

DROWNTOWN’s live world premiere was set for June 2020 at London’s Barbican. In reaction to the pandemic Faith has teamed up with award-winning Big Egg Films to create a stunning multi camera film version of the show. As part of a digital UK tour the film can be seen via Harlow Playhouse’s website 28-27 June. This follows the world premiere and press night at 7pm on 1 June via London’s Barbican. After the premiere there is a Facebook Q&A with Rhiannon Faith, psychologist Joy Griffiths, selected performers and others

Bold and brave, the show uses autobiographical testimonials and text to give voice to the vulnerable and unheard in Britain’s areas of social deprivation. With tenderness and honesty the show holds up a mirror to a society at tipping point. DROWNTOWN arrives to help save our world from drowning.

Rhiannon Faith explained ‘DROWNTOWN was made with a hope to heal a broken world. With the profound loneliness and isolation many have experienced during the lockdowns I really didn’t want to delay the opportunity for people to see it.  As communities start to put their lives back together, this show is asking that everyone is included in the process, and there is authentic belonging for all.’ 

In the 2021 National Dance Awards Rhiannon Faith Company has been nominated for Best Independent Company, and Rhiannon for Best Digital Choreography for her work on the DROWNTOWN ‘prequel’ DROWNTOWN LOCKDOWN.


DROWNTOWN was named in the Evening Standard’s top eight ‘Best dance shows to see in 2020’ and The Guardian named it in the top five dance tickets of 2021.

‘raw, eloquent with a final note of hope’ Luke Jennings, The Observer on Smack That (a conversation)

‘dance, participatory theatre and awareness-raising in one welcoming package, a party game to help change the world’ ★★★★ The Guardian on Smack That (a conversation)

Before creating the show Rhiannon undertook extensive research into areas of social deprivation. ‘I visited coastal towns including Jaywick, Clacton-on-Sea and Great Yarmouth. All places with a strong sense of community and identity but also some of the highest levels of social and economic deprivation in the UK. Happy destinations for holiday goers that become full of darkness and degradation when left behind’ she said.

Social exclusion and isolation are rife in such places with high rates of unemployment, long-term health problems and high demand on underfunded local services. They also tend to lack frequent and reliable public transport and high-speed internet. Recent research suggests that loneliness can increase the risk of premature death by 30%. Nine million people in the UK say they often feel lonely, 7% of 18-64 year olds feel socially isolated, rising to 11% for over 65s.

‘Inventive and demanding, immersive, a work of urgent importance.’ ★★★★ The Stage on Smack That (a conversation)

‘So many communities are broken, people are drowning, so something must be going wrong,’ added Rhiannon. ‘Even Covid19 hasn’t really restarted the conversations with the wounds and emotions being effectively pushed down to the sea-bed. I want to reopen those conversations urgently’.

Performed by a cast of six (Shelley Eva Haden, Donald Hutera, Dom Coffey, Sam Ford, Marla King, Finetta Oliver-Mikolajska) the show shines a light on individual suffering and discusses loneliness, social isolation, bereavement and suicide. Suitable for over 16s, it contains strong language and scenes that some may find upsetting.

‘treats its subject matter with huge sensitivity and honesty’ ★★★★ DanceTabs on Smack That (a conversation)

Rhiannon Faith is an entertaining, witty and erudite interviewee. She is available to discuss the show, her inspirations for creating it, and the aspirations she has for its legacy. Contact Steve Forster as above for availability, review access and images. Images can also be downloaded via www.sfppr.co.uk/downloads/

Listings info

DROWNTOWN, a digital presentation
Gritty, uncompromising and dark new dance-theatre from bold and brave choreographer Rhiannon Faith filmed for online presentation. Autobiographical testimonials and text give voice to the vulnerable and unheard in modern Britain’s areas of social deprivation. Age 16+. Runs approx 90 minutes (no interval).

WORLD PREMIERE 1 June 7pm https://www.barbican.org.uk/whats-on/2021/event/rhiannon-faith-company-drowntown-film (then available on demand to 6 June)

Q&A at 8:45 on Facebook Live with Rhiannon Faith, psychologist Joy Griffiths, selected performers and others.
London Barbican Centre Silk Street EC2Y 8DS
£pay what you feel www.barbican.org.uk

28-30 June available on demand  

Harlow Playhouse, Playhouse Square, Harlow, Essex CM20 1LS

£pay what you feel 01279 431945 www.harlowplayhouse.co.uk

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