Written by Callum Cameron
After years of false starts and missed chances Howard has finally found his calling in life. He’s recently qualified as a funeral celebrant. He’s making a difference to society, at last, he feels like he matters.
We follow Howard through his successes and failures as he struggles to become the most in demand funeral celebrant in the country, only to discover an incident from his past that continues to haunt him. Celebrate explores the routines that govern how we cope with loneliness and grief, and how we are shaped by the stories that we create.
Celebrate opened at the 2019 VAULT Festival, prior to that it was shortlisted for the Finborough Theatre's 2018 Radius Drama Award and had readings at both the Miniaturists at Arcola theatre and with Small Things Theatre at the Old Red Lion theatre.
Celebrate was generously sponsored by The Institute of Professional Celebrants, who provide ongoing support, training and resources to professional celebrants seeking to continuously improve their skills and serve their clients with integrity and excellence.
Lucy Wray, DIRECTOR
Lucy Wray is a Director, dramaturg, and performer. For Fledgling she directed They Built It. No One Came.(UK Tour, Pleasance, Edinburgh). For Vault Festival she directed EGGS by Florence Keith Roach (2016) and BOOTSby Jessica Butcher which won the Highly Commended Award (2018).
She is currently Resident Director at the Almeida Theatre, and was assistant director on the Almeida Theatre’s The Tragedy of King Richard the Second(dir. Joe Hill-Gibbins). Further directing credits include: Left My Desk(New Diorama); COW(Bike Shed Exeter, Theatre Royal Plymouth, Wilton's Music Hall, Underbelly Edinburgh);RUN(The Bunker, Nominated for Best Production & Best Actor Off West End Awards); Goodstock(Greenwich Theatre/New Diorama/Pleasance Edinburgh). Lucy is also a Script Reader for the National Theatre and Associate Director with METIS We Know Not What We May Be (dir. Zoe Svendsen, Barbican); World Factory dir. Zoe Svendsen & Simon Daw, (Young Vic/New Wolsey).
Edoardo Elia, MUSICIAN
Edoardo Elia studied Music Technology at Kingston University. For Fledgling Theatre he previously appeared in They Built It. No One Came(UK Tour/Pleasance). He released his first EP, FOCUS, in 2015 and has done busking tours across Germany and Italy. Edoardo is currently based in Rome and working on his debut album, Santiago, set for release in Autumn 2019.
Sophia Pardon, SET DESIGN
Sophia Pardon is a set, costume and puppet designer who graduated from the Wimbledon College of Arts MA in Theatre Design in September 2017 with Distinction, with a previous BA in Theatre and Performance Studies from Warwick University.
Her previous productions as lead designer include: Consensual, Days of Significance (Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts),Top Hat, Once on This Island (Arts Educational) The Comedy of Errors (RSC Dell Space), Gilgamesh at (The White Bear), Bluebird (Katzspace), Her Not Him (Theatre503), A Doll’s House (Theatrical Niche), Merrily We Roll Along (Yvonne Arnaud Theatre), Unicorn(Theatre N16) and Beauty and The Beast(Sutton Coldfield Town Hall).
Assistant Designer: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (Birmingham Rep)
Rachel Sampley, LIGHTING DESIGN
Rachel Sampley is a London based lighting designer. Rachel holds an MA in devised theatre from Royal Central School of Speech and Drama and a BFA in lighting design from University of the Arts (Philadelphia, PA).
Current designs include: The Guild of Misrule's immersive production ofThe Great Gatsby, With a Song In Her Heart(Opera Upclose), Fanatical at the Playground Theatre, Alcatraz (VAULT Festival)
Other recent credits include: Silk Road(Trafalgar Studios 2), Nele Needs a Holiday (Latitude Festival), Scheherazade and 1001 Nights(Sadler's Wells), Roles(V&A with Metta Theatre), and Imogen Heap's Myceliaworld tour. Her upcoming work includes: All in a Row atSouthwark Playhouse, and The Deaf and Hearing Ensemble's new adaption of Matilda and the Orange Balloon.
With a steady and assured delivery of a warm and witty script, there’s much to enjoy in this brief play, but even more to think about. -
★★★★ LONDON THEATRE
Celebrate really does stand out from the rest. An outstanding one-man show that looks at a different side of grief and how we say goodbye to lost loved ones – its dark, zany humour is coupled expertly with an unexpected poignancy. - ★★★★ MIND THE BLOG
A lovely piece of theatre that holds true to the idea that grief is a completely personal and unique experience for each of us. - ★★★★ WITHIN HER WORDS
Photography by Cam Harle