Dead Bird, Witness Theatre

Dead Bird

In 2017 we carried out a period of research & development funded by Arts Council England on our new project Dead Bird. The narrative of the piece centres on the relationship between a terminally ill mother and her son as they deal with her choice to stop treatment.

Conventionally, everyday discourse around death, is fraught with taboos, and hindered by fear – we want to establish an alternative approach. The aim of Dead Bird, is to offer audiences a new view of the world; one that is open, honest and able to be positive about mortality and its role in our lives. 

This first stage of R&D was supported and made possible by:

Arts Council England; The Matthew Martino Benevolent Trust; The Chalk Cliff Trust; St. Wilfrid’s Hospice; The Old Market Theatre; The Marlborough Theatre; Camden People’s Theatre; Complicité; ONCA Gallery; Always Possible.

Development so far

Working in partnership with St. Wilfrid’s Hospice in Eastbourne, we ran creative workshops and focus groups with patients with terminal illnesses, as well as the public. This informed our research into why our society finds it difficult to speak openly about death and the dying process and help shaped the material of the project.

Our R&D time ended in 20 minutes of work-in-progress material shared at St Wilfrid’s Hospice and Camden People’s Theatre, London.  

“There were some really authentic voices, and a lot of it was positive and an uplifting way of talking about that subject because it’s almost a taboo and I think a lot of people will tend to think it’s not going to feel like that so it was really positive and really nice to hear”. Anthony Gray (Senior Producer: Artist Development, The Lowry).