HOW TO BE IMMORTAL to Kick Off National Tour at London's Soho Theatre, March 4-9

HOW TO BE IMMORTAL to Kick Off National Tour at London's Soho Theatre, March 4-9

Penny Dreadful Theatre will present a brand new show about love, death and science; the world premiere and national tour of HOW TO BE IMMORTAL by Mira Dovreni. Directed by Kirsty Housley and featuring Clare Perkins, Anna-Helena McLean and John McKeever, with scientists Gareth Ackland (UCL), Anna Gutierrez-del-Arroyo (UCL), and Duncan Wilson (Manchester), the National Tour will run 28 January 2014 to ­ 23 March 2014. Press Night 29 January at 7.45pm, The Albany, Deptford, London.

From the creators of highly acclaimed, innovative shows including The Bitches Ball, The Missionary¹s Position and Penny Dreadful¹s Etherdome, comes a new show exploring one of the great moments in scientific discovery the eternal human cancer cells.

In Penny Dreadful Theatre¹s new show, HOW TO BE IMMORTAL, writer Mira Dovreni weaves together three different stories contemplating immortality. They are set over different centuries and continents: the true story of Henrietta Lacks and her immortal cells takes place in West Virginia in the 1950s, while a young couple in present day London experience a similar situation, but handled very differently. A third story explores one of the most extraordinary advances in science - the mapping of DNA ­ only possible because of Henrietta¹s immortal cells.

Created in collaboration with scientists from UCL and Manchester University and with original music based on a sound code interpreting DNA, this show blends science and human emotion in a unique exploration of the different things our loved ones leave us when they die.

Rosa has fallen in love with Mick the decorator. She plays the cello, he plays the squeezebox ­ an unlikely combination but they sound great together. Trouble is she¹s pregnant and he¹s about to die.

Henrietta Lacks died in West Virginia in 1951, but her cells are still alive, dividing endlessly in laboratories all over the world. It's taken Deborah Lacks years to come to terms with her mother¹s death. Now she's got to deal with her immortality.

If we didn't have bodies would we live forever? Its 1950 and Doctor George Gey and his wife Margaret are about to make a mind-bending discovery using homemade apparatus and some calves liver puree. All they need is the right biopsy.

Creative team: Designed by Angela Simpson; Lighting Design by Matt Haskins; Music and Sound Design by Barnaby Race; and Animation Artist: Gemma Burditt.

Writer Mira Dovreni is one of the founders of Penny Dreadful Theatre and her extensive performing credits include The Bitches Ball and The Missionary's Position. This is her debut as a playwright.

Actor Clare Perkins has just finished season in Eastenders, playing the popular character Ava Hartman. Director Kirsty Housley's extensive credits in theatre include working on the recent international tour with Complicite.

Penny Dreadful Theatre's past productions have achieved critical acclaim and sold-out houses. The company explore forgotten figures from history, telling stories that are more complex and fascinating and definitely stranger than fiction.

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Mira Dovreni - Writer - Founder member and artistic director of Penny Dreadful Productions, Mira created the concepts, performed in, co-devised and produced The Bitches Ball, The Missionary¹s Position, and Etherdome. As an actress, experience includes new writing with theatres such as Birmingham Rep, Sheffield Crucible, Liverpool Everyman; she was a member of BBC Radio Rep (World Service) for a year and has devised new plays at Soho Theate, Oval House, Proteus, Forest Forge, Southampton Nuffield. For Soho theatre she co-devised the show Genetics for Blondes ­ where she knitted a chromosome, extracted DNA live on stage and sniffed audience members' armpits to test their genetic suitability (never fails). This is where she first started to wonder what DNA actually did. Mira trained at Rose Bruford College (Community Theatre Arts) and with the Philippe Gaulier School (clown), and she has been acting, devising and writing since graduating in 1992. As well as the usual selection of commercials and two line TV credits, she recently played the role of Lizzie in the award-winning romcom Betsy and Leonard (Best feature / Best Screenplay / Best Director, Madrid Film Festival 2013).

Kirsty Housley ­ Director & Dramaturge - Kirsty is a freelance theatre director and writer. She has been the recipient of the Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust award and the Title Pending award for innovative new work at Northern Stage. She is an Associate Director of Complicite and Theatre Uncut. Recent directing includes Bandages at The Corn Exchange Newbury and on tour, Theatre Uncut 2012 at The Young Vic, 9 at West Yorkshire Playhouse for Chris Goode and Company, and Thirsty for The Paper Birds. Recent writing includes White Horses, for Paines Plough Come to Where I'm From and Bandages. For Complicite Kirsty has been Associate Director on Shun-kin since 2007, and has worked on several new pieces in development, including Amazon Beaming.


Clare Perkins - Deborah - Clare trained at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama on the Community Theatre Arts course, she left in 1985 and went straight on to work in T.I.E at Watford palace Theatre, gaining her Equity card , a nessecity at the time.In the last 28 years Clare has worked at The young vic, The Royal court, The national theatre, The tricycle , Soho theatre, and West Yorkshire playhouse and for companies such as Paines Plough and Shared Experience. Clare played the role of Solicitor in the seminal theatre piece 'Ragamuffin'. touring to sold out houses nationwide for 2 years and culminating in a live radio broadcast at the BBC's regent street studio.Clare played the role of MEL in the World service radio soap opera Westway for 7 years, she has also been in many radio plays the latest being 'Carnival' and 'Miss you still' broadcast earlier this year on Radio 4..In her film career she has worked with Ken Loach, Mike Leigh, and Saul Dibb. Clare was part of the cast that won a BAFTA for best childrens drama for 'Pigheart Boy', She played the role of Denise Boulter in Family Affairs Ch5 for two years, and has for the last year been seen as Ava Hartman on 'Eastenders'.

Anne Helena McLean - Rosa - Anna-Helena became a principal member of the physical theatre company Gardzienice in Poland, 2000. She toured as the title role in Electra (LaMama ETC 05, Barbican BITE 06), musical Leader in Metamorphoses and led company training at Universities, Drama schools & for companies across the globe.. She founded her own practice called Actor ­ Chorus ­ Text (ACT) with which she has now set up an international team of workshop leaders for adults and youth. She was an inaugural member of the Awake Project, Ensemble, Love Orchestra and Youth work between 2006 and 2012 and performed in the premiere of AWAKE (Jackson's Lane). Anne-Helena is Artistic Director of the international theatre and music exchange platform, Moon Fool, with key collaborating partners: Anirudh Nair (Wide Aisle Productions India), Dawid Zakowski (choreographer; Studium Teatralne), Pamela Prather (Voice coach; Yale), Rima Fand (Musician; Luminescent Orchestrii) and Christopher Sivertsen (movement practitioner; Song of the Goat). Moon Fool also hosts Day & Night (folk music collective) concerts bi-annually. She has just recently voice coached on the new National Theatre of Scotland musical, Glasgow Girls (Stratford East Feb 2013), and toured her solo cabaret, Titania, in Europe and USA whilst developing a new international ensemble production STORM.

John McKeever - Mick - Northern born but London based John is a graduate from East 15 Acting School's Acting & Contemporary Theatre course. He left with some wonderful roles under his belt, training in devising, improvisation and physical comedy and some amazing opportunities like representing his school at the Sam Wanamaker Festival and the Spotlight Prize (winning Best Male Actor). John has been lucky enough to spend the last few years doing what he loves around the world. As well as working as a voice over artist, some of his professional theatre credits include: Henry - The Fox - English Theatre Frankfurt, Carl - We Love You City - The Belgrade Theatre, Rhys - Bound - Southwark Playhouse, Macbeth - Macbeth - UK Tour.

Design Team:

Angela Simpson - Designer - Angela trained as a Fine Artist before completing The Motley Theatre design course in 2000. Her love of theatre was initially ignited through years spent as part of the pioneering Chicken Shed Theatre Company. Design work includes: THE GLASS SLIPPER and OH WHAT A LOVELY WAR' for Northern Stage. MINE, TEN TINY TOES, WAR AND PEACE for Shared Experience Theatre Company. THE LAST FIVE YEARS, Theatre Royal Haymarket, A CONVERSATION, BASIL AND BEATTIE, HABITAT and THE BABY AND FLY PIE for Manchester Royal Exchange Theatre. THE POCKET DREAM and THE DERBY MCQUEEN AFFAIR for York Theatre Royal. THE DANNY CROWE SHOW, Dundee Rep Theatre, THE DOLL TOWER Unity Theatre, Liverpool, MAP OF THE HEART, Salisbury Playhouse, CRIME AND PUNISHMENT IN DALSTON, Arcola Theatre, CONSUMING SONGS, BAC, BREAD AND BUTTER, Southwark Playhouse, HABITATS and UNDER THE CURSE for The Gate Theatre.

Gemma Burditt ­ Animation Artist - Gemma Burditt is an animation director and illustrator of short films, commercials, music videos and projections. She has an innovative approach to film making, often crossing techniques such as animation, live action and documentary and is still strongly influenced by her earlier career in devised theatre. Her films have been screened worldwide winning various awards including Silver Lion at Cannes commercial festival for her John West Campaign, ŒRow¹. Gemma has recently completed a co-direction of the documentary, ŒUrban Birds¹, about female cycle couriers working in London which premiered at the New York Bike festival in June and is currently on the BFF world circuit. She has also just completed a collaborative animation project ³Through the Hawthorn² funded by the Wellcome trust.

Matt Haskins ­ Lighting Designer - Recent selected Theatre credits include: Truth & Reconciliation (The Royal Court); Wind in the Willows, The Years Between (Royal & Derngate); Dream Story, Mud (Gate Theatre); Steel Magnolias (UK Tour); Bandages (Newbury Corn Exchange/ UK Tour); The Man with the Luggage, Glass Mountain (Trestle - UK Tours); Peppa Pig's Party, Peppa Pig's Treasure Hunt, Peppa¹s Big Splash (UK Tours & West End); Lovely & Misfit (Trafalgar Studios). Recent selected Opera credits include: Anna Bolena, Roberto Devereux, Maria Stuarda (Welsh National Opera); Don Giovanni, Turn of the Screw, Cautionary Tales (Opera North); Turn of the Screw (The Israeli Opera); Babur In London (The Opera Group); La Cenerentola (Malmö Opera); Pelléas et Mélisande, The Sofa, The Departure (Independent Opera); Don Pasquale, The Marriage of Figaro, A House on the Moon, Orfeo, Tolomeo (ETO); Tobias & the Angel (Young Vic/ETO). Site Specific projects include: Dido Queen of Carthage (Kensington Palace); Sea Tongue (The Shout); Encounters (Greenwich & Docklands Festival.



28-29 Jan at 7.45pm, The Albany, Deptford, London
020 8692 4446

30 Jan at 8pm mac birmingham
0121 446 3232

31 Jan at 8pm Ustinov, Bath
01225 448844


1 Feb at 8pm Ustinov, Bath
01225 448844

4 Feb at 8pm Jackson¹s Lane, London
020 8341 4421

5 Feb at 7.30pm Pontardawe Arts Centre
01792 863722

6 Feb at 7.30pm Borough Theatre, Abergavenny
01873 850805

7-8 Feb at 8pm Unity Theatre, Liverpool
0151 709 4988

12 Feb at 7.30pm Barnsley Civic
01226 327000

13 Feb at 7.45pm Harrogate Theatre
01423 502 116

14 Feb at 7.30pm Uppingham Theatre
01572 820 820

15 Feb at 7.30pm Quay Arts, Isle of Wight
01983 822 490

21-22 Feb at 7.30pm Live Theatre, Newcastle
0191 232 1232

24 Feb at 7.30pm New Vic, Stoke
01782 717 962

25 Feb at 7.45pm Stahl Theatre, Oundle
01832 273 930

27 Feb at 7.30pm Richard Burton Theatre, RWCMD, Cardiff
029 2039 1391

28 Feb at 7.30pm Rosehill Theatre, Whitehaven
01946 692 422


1 Mar at 8pm Brewery Theatre, Kendal
01539 725 133

4-5 & 7-8 Mar at 9.30pm and 9 Mar at 7.30pm
Soho Theatre, London
020 7478 0100

11-12 Mar at 7.30pm Mumford Theatre, Cambridge
01223 352932

13 Mar at 8pm Severn Theatre, Shrewsbury
01743 281 281

15 Mar at 8pm Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough
01723 370 541

18-20 Mar at 8pm The Lowry, Salford
0843 208 6000

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