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All of Me (the possibility of future splendour)

Caroline Horton unpicks the slow, cyclical nature of ongoing recovery, and asks what happens if we refuse to keep on keeping on

UK TOUR 18th February – 28th May 2022

WINNER The Stage Award for Excellence

WINNER The Mental Health Fringe Award

Written by Caroline Horton | Directed by Alex Swift

“Theatrically alive at every moment”  The Independent

@YourOldChina | @carolineplays | #AllOfMePlay

This spring, Caroline Horton is touring the UK with her critically acclaimed solo show following a multi-award-winning Edinburgh run in 2019, a Twine adaptation and an audio version.

In an intimate and absurd exploration of wanting to live and wanting to die, Caroline Horton reunites with director Alex Swift (Mess, How to Win Against History). All of Me is strange and poetic, exploring depression against a backdrop of broken glitterballs. In 2012, Caroline’s multi-award winning piece Mess introduced us to the struggle with anorexia shared by both Caroline and the show’s protagonist Josephine. At the end of Mess, Josephine celebrates life despite her imperfect recovery from the illness: now, years later Caroline is alone on stage without her character to hide behind.

Caroline has collaborated with composer James Atherton and sound designer Elena Peña to create a live soundscape and songs, as well as working with Professor Matthew Broome (Director of the Institute for Mental Health), Dr Alexandra Pitman (Senior Clinical Lecturer at University College London), and STOP Suicide, an award-winning Mind campaign based in Peterborough and Cambridge, during the making of the show.

As well as winning a Stage Award and Mental Health Fringe Award, the Twine adaptation was shortlisted for the if:book UK New Media Writing Prize Award 2021 and the audio version features as an ‘exemplar Audio Enchantment project’ in the Digital Arts Formats research report by Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP and Liminia Immersive.

Caroline Horton said, “I wanted to make a show that occupies the territory of recovery as I experience it – the bit that doesn’t make a good story… the years spent on a relentless, incremental journey, the repetitive struggles, the giving up, then the trying again. In its wrongness and incompleteness, the show rebels against the lack of care or space the world offers when we need to grind to a halt, to descend, to sit with death and darkness, to surrender, to refuse to keep going. It’s a show built somewhere between wanting to live and wanting to die and the sort of hope that can come by giving up and giving in to all that we are – including everything we’ve learnt to be ashamed of, including our darkness. And then I needed it to be a bit funny too – because of its darkness - and because of how ultimately absurd existence can feel.”

Caroline Horton is a theatre maker, performer and writer. She was nominated for a 2013 Olivier Award for Outstanding Achievement in Affiliate Theatre for You’re Not Like The Other Girls Chrissy, which also won The Stage Awards Best Solo Performer in 2010. Mess opened at The Traverse in 2012, where it won Best Ensemble at The Stage Awards. Her controversial show Islands, opened at The Bush in 2015 before transferring to the 2015 British Council Showcase at the Edinburgh Festival. Caroline wrote and performed Tranklements for the New Vic and Penelope RETOLD for Derby Theatre, which toured nationally in 2015. She writes regularly for BBC Radio 4, her piece Paris, Nana & Me was shortlisted for the 2014 Imison Award. In 2019 she toured her first show for young people, Muckers, made with the egg Bath and Conde Duque Madrid. Caroline is currently developing: a performance installation for Coventry 2021 drawn from verbatim accounts about the first lockdown; two new audio pieces co-created with NHS workers and a new theatre show about motherhood. Caroline regularly collaborates with other artists and companies as a mentor, director, writer and outside-eye.

Established in 2006, China Plate is an independent producer of contemporary theatre that engages around 35,000 live audience members annually. The company’s central mission is to ‘challenge the way performance is made, who it’s made by and who gets to experience it.’ China Plate is currently making work with Caroline Horton, Inspector Sands, Chris Thorpe, Rachel Chavkin, Rachel Bagshaw, Urielle Klein-Mekongo, Roy Williams, Chris Haydon and Tim Sutton. They are Resident Producers at Warwick Arts Centre, partners in the ACE Ambition for Excellence funded Musical Theatre Development Consortium led by Royal and Derngate Theatres, Northampton and Derby CAN, Derby Theatre’s Arts Council England Producing Hub.

Running Time: 70 mins | Suitable for ages 14+ Contains themes of suicide and depression

Company information

Written and performed by Caroline Horton

Directed by Alex Swift

Associate Director Lucy Hopkins

Designed by Eleanor Field

Lighting Design by Katharine Williams

Associate Lighting Designer Will Monks

Sound Design by Elena Peña

Associate Sound Designer Charlotte Bickley

Dramaturg Annie Siddons

Music created by James Atherton and Caroline Horton

Production Manager Anthony Osborne

Artist Wellbeing Practitioner Lou Platt

Listings information

18 Feb

Derby Theatre

15 Theatre Walk, Derby, DE1 2NF

8pm | From £12 | 01332 593939

24 Feb

The Showroom, University of Chichester

Bishop Otter Campus, College Ln, Chichester, PO19 6PE

7.30pm | From £12

26 Feb

Lighthouse, Poole’s Centre for the Arts

21 Kingland Road, Poole, BH15 1UG

8pm | From £14

3 Mar

The North Wall, Oxford

South Parade, Oxford OX2 7JN

8pm | £14 | 01865 319450

10 Mar

Norwich Theatre Royal

Theatre St., Norwich, NR2 1RL

7.30pm | £12 | 01865 319450

17 Mar

Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton

Wulfruna Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1SE

7.30pm | £10

24 Apr

TFTI University of York

University of York, Campus East, Baird Ln, Heslington, York, YO10 5GB

5pm | Prices TBC

29 Apr

Harlow Playhouse

Playhouse Square, Town Centre CM20 1LS

7.30pm | Pay What You Can

13 May

Pound Arts Centre

The Pound, Pound Pill, Corsham, SN13 9HX

7.30pm | Prices TBC | 01249 701628

19 – 21 May

Tron Theatre, Glasgow

63 Trongate, Glasgow, G1 5HB

7.30pm | £14.50/£19 | 0141 552 4267

26 May

65-67 Bute St, Luton, LU1 2EY

.30pm | £12/10

28 May

Chipping Norton Theatre

2 Spring Street, Chipping Norton, OX7 5NL

7.30pm | £16 | 01608 642350

The show is presented by Caroline Horton & Co and China Plate. The show is supported by Arts Council England and UCL Culture.

Commissioned by Cambridge Junction, The Yard, Harlow Playhouse, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Theatre Iolo, ARC Stockton Arts Centre, The Brewhouse Arts Centre, Burton, Camden People’s Theatre and Folkestone Quarterhouse. Supported by Battersea Arts Centre, the MA Dramatic Writing Lab at Drama Centre London at Central Saint Martins and Midlands Arts Centre.