Let There Be Theatre

Mar 13 2021 | By More

White Rabbit Red Rabbit marks a year since theatres went dark

Edinburgh’s Assembly Roxy will be joining venues from Aukland to Vancouver on Saturday 13 March to mark a whole year since the pandemic caused theatres around the world to go dark.

Over 100 theatres around the world will be staging a one-off production of White Rabbit Red Rabbit, Nassim Soleimanpour’s potent theatrical experiment for a script and a solo performer, each beginning at 8pm. The theatres range across more than 30 countries and a dozen different time zones.

Simon Donaldson will be performing White Rabbit Red Rabbit live online from the Assembly Roxy on Saturday 13 March 2021 at 8pm.

White Rabbit Red Rabbit was first seen in Edinburgh in 2011 at Summerhall as part of the fringe. It was written by Soleimanpour when he was forbidden to leave his native Iran for refusing to do mandatory military service.

His solution was to send a play out in his place. A script that needs no director and in which the performer gives a voice to the playwright as they read it aloud to their audience.

So at 8pm at each of these 103 different venues, an actor will pick up an A4 envelope containing a script they have never seen before and which they have never seen performed. They will have had no rehearsals, they will be on their own with their audience.

in-person audience

In New Zealand, the first two performers – Nicola Kāwana at the Silo Theatre Auckland and Julia Harris in the St John Hall, Greytown – will be the only ones to be performing to an in-person audience. Everyone else, including Simon Donaldson at the Roxy, will be performing live for an online audience.

#LetThereBeTheatre – posters for some of the over 100 productions of White Rabbit Red Rabbit taking place around the world on Saturday 13 March 2021.

Tickets to many of the performances – including the Roxy – are on a pay-what-you like basis, with all payments going as a donation to support the work of Assembly Theatre, the charity behind the year-round work of Assembly Roxy.

For a preview and account of performing White Rabbit Red Rabbit in 2014, read Thom Dibdin’s Step into the unknown. Liam Rees reviewed a production of the play at the Formation Festival in 2018: ★★★☆☆ Eager.

There are five further productions of the play in England on Saturday, at Cheltenham, Grimsby, Hull, Brighton and Salford. The Belltable in Limerick, Ireland will also be staging a performance.

Aurora Nova, which is co-producing the whole Let There Be Theatre event, has a list of all the productions here.


White Rabbit Red Rabbit
Live online, Saturday 13 March 2020.
All performances start at 8pm.

Assembly Roxy Edinburgh, with Simon Donaldson. Book here.

Everyman Theatre, Cheltenham with Alan ‘Tweedy’ Digweed: Book here.
The Caxton Theatre Grimsby with Niki Felstead: Book here.
Freedom Festival / Hull Truck Theatre, Hull with Chris Colquhoun: Book here.
Brighton Little Theatre, Brighton with John Tolputt.
The Lowry, Salford with Jason Manford: Book here.


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