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Rough Diamonds Festival

of Solo Autobiographical Theatre

9th and 11th July 2021

The Angel Hall

Bowden House



Agata and Phil invite you to works-in-progress community festival.

This year's theme is: Exploring Gender Roles

Festival Programme:

Day 1: Friday 9th July

7pm shows:

Gulara Vincent directed by Agata Krajewska

In Search of Freedom  - Women's Journey to Power

Young Gulara wants it all and she thinks she’s got what it takes. She soon discovers that being a woman in a patriarchal society doesn’t make it easy. She loses herself completely before she finally finds her strength by embracing it all: her shadow and her light.

Kate Hubert directed by Agata Krajewska

"The Song of My Father"

tells the story of what it means to be a good man fighting the demons of illness, bereavement and dementia. When a man's life slips its moorings, he journeys down to the bottom of being human -- how can his suffering be redeemed? We'll see!

Friday night ticket link:

Day 2: Sunday 11th July
4 pm shows:

Phil Barber - 6 hours with Baz

Following a dream to be a Merchant Navy ships captain the teenage Phil encounters another boy with a similar dream. Their six hours together takes them deeper into their individual initiatory journeys.

Peter Neuman - ‘Walking backwards’ directed by Phil Barber

Raised with expectations of an academic life, this is the story of a young man’s stark and emotional change in direction to find what really brings him alive. There are surprising energetic influences back home, on the bookshelf of his father, and the bookshelf of his mother.

Tickets link:

Sunday 6pm shows:

Darren Ellis – ‘The Magic Potion’ directed by Phil Barber

As boys we project our wished-for power and strength onto heroes and role models. Where do such characters lead us? There are unintended consequences for a young impressionable mind and a poetic parental reflection seen from a distance.

Ben Neild – ‘‘Dear Mum’ - Letters from an English prep school’ directed by Phil Barber

How does a society prepare a boy for manhood? Should he be taken from his family? If so, how, why, when? Ben, barely into his teens, journeys from Cambridge to Brighton to live far from home. The letters that followed over the next years paint a vivid and poignant picture of life in an English prep school in the 1970s. The letters reveal, humour, confusion, tenderness, loss, shyness, love and yearning.

Tickets link:



Friday 10th July


7pm – Performance 1

Family Portrait from Azerbaijan – Gulara Vincent (30 min) directed by Agata
‘Tune into the stories of struggles and tribulations of three generations of women in Azerbaijan, which create a unique window into the time and world that remains unknown in the West.’


7:30pm – Performance 2

Red Woman- Kate Kulahan (7 min) supported by Agata

Autobiographical dance performance about being seen


8pm – Performance 3

Love and Loss on the Costa del Dole – Kate Hubert (45 min) directed by Agata
I’ve been thinking a lot about the many little lives lost to stillbirth, miscarriage and abortion in my ancestral line, and of the stains of grief and shame they may have left behind. In this show, with the divine assistance of a potent, eccentric female archetype called, mysteriously, The Dark, I attempt a bit of healing magic by telling stories from my own life in Brighton in the ‘80s and ‘90s.


Saturday 11th July


6pm – Performance 4

Grape picking for beginners – Alby Bruce (40mins) directed by Phil
A set of circumstances involving the wrong side of the law draw several friends together to start an adventure across France; but every journey has inherent problems, as well as humour and good times…


8pm – Performance 5

Sensitive (My Granny’s Secret) – Hazel Love (30 min) directed by Agata
At a family dinner Hazel accidently asks the wrong question and makes her grandmother cry. Who is John? Find out about his story and the hardships of sensitive men in the world.


9pm – Performance 6

Falling – Kirsty Hurd Thomas (40 min) directed by Agata
This story isn’t unusual … but what if there is another way for this story to be told, another way to live it even, a way that includes more.
Experience a woman’s journey through heartbreak and freedom to whole-ness.
A physical immersion into the age old story of feminine meets masculine.


Sunday 12th July


7pm – Performance 7

Entering the Dreamtime of Plants – Peter Neumann (30mins) directed by Phil
A young man sets off on the road of academia, and finds himself wrestling with confusion, doubt and depression. A spell in a leaky caravan on a remote hillside in Wales affords him a meeting with his creativity and a connection with something ancient.


8 pm – Performance 8

Summoning the son – Darren Ellis (30mins) directed by Phil
The road from boy to man has many influences, some helpful – and others? Well… it went something like this!

Our performers/players have been exploring, catching, crafting and honing significant stories of their lives in our workshops.

Moving a stage further is to make a living theatre from the events and experiences that have shaped us - to bring artistry and raw experience together. The result is a form of transformational theatre where an alchemical experience occurs for both the performer, and, the audience member.

This work is about a celebration of humanity, of our unique quirks, the particular windy roads we travelled that made us who we are today. Every one of us is a rough diamond, being polished by life’s events.
Have you ever seen African tribes dancing in the circle? Every now and then one person steps in and really shows off, then somebody else. They take turns and everyone has their central moment. We have a dream that we can experience this through solo autobiographical theatre and retrieve our sense of belonging.

Creating and sharing of the solo performance is a closing of a chapter, a ritual, completion of an initiatory process and being received back by “the village”.
Stories shared often bring attention to important social issues, showing that “personal is political.”

"You can’t help but fall in love with anyone, once you’ve heard their story."

These are inspiring works in progress.


Past Events:

Drop the Story

Festival of Solo Autobiographical Theatre

Anual: 2013-2019


Stories for Change Festival  

of Solo Autobiographical Performances

29th – 30th June 2019 Bogan House, Totnes

Sat and Sun: 4pm and 7:30pm

Community members sharing personal

stories through solo performance
Stories of trials and transformation to

inspire us all, viewing life

as a hero’s/heroine’s journey.


Programme so far:

Sat 4pm


*Phil Barber "Men's Hands"

Young men's quest for identity through work and adventure. He may find guidance from an unlikely father figure.


*Mark Bedford "Warming the Stone Child"

An exploration of abandonment and the reclaiming of the One who is lost. The child, surrounded in grief and yet the source of intimacy and joy. A weaving of autobiography and myth,  stories old and new. 


*Philomena Wynne "My Irish maternal line" (work in progress)

Honouring my maternal line by resurrecting their life through me. I acknowledge these women's strength against the oppression of patriarchy and Catholicism in Ireland. Weaving the threads together through my poems and songs.


Sat 7:30pm


*Katheryn Trenshaw "Dying to Live By the Numbers: work in progress”

We all know we are going to die. But do we really believe it?

Could a sudden Brush with mortality bring us closer to life and love?

An insight into one woman's encounter with the big C and all that surrounds it.



*Kate Hubert “Umbilical (Grandma Briant's War)”

Traveling back through my motherline I explore a dark family secret and its repercussions, which I inherited as the atmosphere of my early life. This is the old, old story of love and control, and men and women – transformed by being brought into the light of day, and, surprisingly, by divine intervention.


Sun 4pm


*Claire Jones "Rigger"
Runaway bride "accidentally" becomes a rigger on a tall ship.
When in hospital, facing her mortality, she makes a deal with Life to get back onto her beloved ship one more time. Will her wish be granted?

*Sarah Heal “Everyday Adventures of the Superhero”

*Michael Brown "Returning to home"
From boyhood's unasked for adventures in a foreign land, life's loves and loses and the return home.

Sun 7:30pm


*Darren Ellis "The lies adults tell"

*Adam Rasmussen "Romanticism or Realism"

A man’s journey trying to bring himself into the best relationship with the feminine   

*Rooh Star "Basket of Songs"

Songs and stories of what matters

Donations: £5 per afternoon/evening


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