Alice in Bed

by Susan Sontag



Clare Barrett : Emily Dickinson
Rachel Gay : Myrtha
Joanna Holden : Margaret Fuller & Nurse
Zoe Lambert : Henry James & Mattress Man
Abby Moffatt : Kundry
Tessa Parr : Alice
Tom Walton : Mother, Father & Mattress Man

Directed by Tess Denman-Cleaver
Designed by Ben Jeans Houghton
Costumes by Neesha Champaneria
Lighting by Douglas Kuhrt
Lighting Assistant : Graeme Wilson
Sound by Tim Shaw
Production Manager : Simon Henderson
Stage Manager : Paul Aziz
Duty Stage Manager : Nicola Morris
Assistant Stage Manager : Adam Johnston
Producer : Caroline Pearce


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Alice in Bed is a raucous, joyful play based on the life and diaries of Alice James (1848-92), sharp witted sister to Henry and William James.

In it we accompany Alice and her brilliant imagination on a captivating and ultimately transformative adventure through a wonderland populated by poets, dormice, a couple of dancing sailors and Henry James himself.

The play asks questions about the way in which we understand illness and health in modern society and the value of subjective experience in contemporary culture.

Tender Buttons production took place in an immersive and playful environment designed by artist Ben Jeans Houghton for The Stephenson Works, Newcastle. In one of Newcastle’s most historically significant buildings, the audience were invited to explore the world of Alice’s mind.

Susan Sontag’s play and Tender Buttons production is a celebration of subjectivity, imagination and individuality.

Praise for Tender Buttons 2013 production of Alice in Bed

“Director Tess Denman-Cleaver has captured the other side of Victorian life where hysteria gripped the women of the age.  Her theatre company, Tender Buttons, has achieved something quite special with a promenade production of Susan Sontag’s 1993 play Alice in Bed.” British Theatre Guide

“A very thought-provoking production.” Northern Echo

“Alice in Bed is a play about possibility and individuality. It asks a lot of its audience, but if you are willing to be swept along with Alice’s imagination you are rewarded with a thought-provoking production which could mark the start of a new era of theatre for the North East.” The Bleed

“Uttery brilliant. A magical piece, full of beauty and intrigue!” Audience member

Alice in Bed was supported by the following partners