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The Shape of the Pain - Wilton's Music Hall and on tour

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THIS Spring, writer Chris Thorpe and director Rachel Bagshaw’s Fringe First award-winning show about trying to communicate something unknowable returns for a UK tour, visiting Wilton’s Music Hall from March 19 to March 23, 2019.

Entitled The Shape of the Pain, it interweaves Rachel’s personal experiences of living with Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) with a fictional narrative about a love affair.

With an original score from Melanie Wilson (When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other) and video design from Joshua Pharo (nominated for a 2019 Offie Award), alongside fully integrated captioning and audio description, The Shape of the Pain attempts to explain what Rachel’s chronic pain sounds like, looks like and feels like.

Performed by Hannah McPake, The Shape of the Pain explores the concept of never-ending pain and the unexpected joy that can be found whilst living with it.

The Shape of the Pain follows a woman who attempts to express the physical pain that she lives with day in and day out. When she meets someone new, they have to learn how to navigate life, love and the pain together. Pain is notoriously tricky for doctors to analyse, requiring patients to give subjective reports of what they feel, and how much and The Shape of the Pain asks whether others can ever really understand our pain.

The production was made in consultation with Rachel’s doctor, a consultant in pain at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, as well as other clinical professionals. The show premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 before performances at Battersea Arts Centre in early 2018 and will be embarking on its first UK tour this Spring, opening at Wilton’s Music Hall.

Rachel Bagshaw said: “The Shape of the Pain is a unique experience for an audience, as they gradually become immersed in the extra-sensory world which I experience with my condition. The show feels hugely important as we endeavour to engage with how we talk about pain, and how the shadows it can create also let in colour and light. Using creative access as part of the aesthetic also opens the show up to all audiences”.

The Shape of the Pain is produced by China Plate.

Tickets: £25 – £12.50 (concessions £22.50 – £10). To book, call the box office on 020 7702 2789 or visit

Times: 7.45pm, with Saturday matinee at 3pm.

Following the Wilton’s dates, The Shape of the Pain will visit The Arts Centre at Edge Hill University, Ormskirk (March 25), Bristol Old Vic (March 27-30), Cambridge Junction (April 3) and Northern Stage (April 5).

Read more about Spring 2019 at Wilton’s Music Hall.