Hamnet, Dead Centre co-production with the Abbey Theatre. World premiere at Schaubühne, Berlin as part of FIND Festival, 2017.

Dead Centre, a Dublin-based theatre company, are looking to create a new project in collaboration with people living with long-term illness. The project is inspired by the book Illness as Metaphor, by the American writer Susan Sontag.

Sontag was obsessed with how we discuss illness; specifically, how we use metaphors when talking about it. She describes metaphor as: “giving the thing a name that belongs to something else.” We all use metaphors all the time: an ex is an “old flame”, someone is a “ray of sunshine.” They help us describe the world more vividly. But Sontag, who had cancer, was concerned that, when applied to sickness, they distort our thinking, they stop us from speaking clearly, from telling the truth about sickness, and our bodies.

One of the artistic directors of Dead Centre lives with a long-term illness (Crohn’s disease), and we are interested in finding out how theatre can talk about sickness, pain, and the body, perhaps by using the very specific kind of metaphors found on a stage: actors pretending to be someone else. We want to create a performance working alongside a small group of people who are living with illness, possibly also with actors, who would play them.


  • For this project, we are specifically looking to work with people who have experience of living with a long-term physical illness which has affected their lives.
  • If this sounds interesting, we invite you to come and chat with us for a couple of hours in central Dublin on the morning of Friday 29 July, 10:30 – 13:00 (Exact location TBC).
  • If, after that morning, you would like to be involved in the first stage of development, this will be a period of development from 21 – 25 November. Participation in this workshop period would be paid.
  • We would aim to make a full production during 2024.
  • The project is funded by the Arts Council with support from Waterford Healing Arts Trust.

How to get involved
If you’re interested, contact us on info@deadcentre.org or call Ben on 089 273 1614.

About Dead Centre

Dead Centre have been making theatre since 2012. We have made productions in Dublin, Berlin, Gothenburg and Vienna and our shows have toured around the world. We try to make shows that are surprising and unexpected, that ask what theatre is for, and use theatre to think through ideas about how we all live. You can check us out at www.deadcentre.org


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