Online Archive Season

Gulliver Returns

Dawn State Theatre Company
Available to view from midday Friday 8 January to 10pm Sunday 17 January

Lil's husband Lem has lost himself in Gulliver's Travels, and now she has a mission of mercy to perform. No matter what the cost she must find a way to drag this broken man out of his fantasy. She must find a way to bring him home.

A haunting play about love, loss and the strangeness of the world; inspired b​y Swift’s savage masterpiece Gulliver’s Travels into Several Remote Regions of the World.

This is a story about Lilith and Lemuel Gulliver. Lem (Jack Bence) is a man on a mission: tonight – assisted by his wife and at great personal cost to himself – he intends to reveal the horrifying truth of his adventures and in doing so save our savage species from itself. But Lil (Cathy Conneff) has her own mission of mercy to perform. No matter what the cost, she must find a way to drag this broken man back to reality.

First published in 1726, Swift’s ground-breaking satire is by turns raging, tragic and magical. In 2013 it was voted number three in The Guardian’s list of the hundred greatest novels ever written, and its profound influence on modern fiction looms large over many of the great dystopian novels of the 19th and 20th centuries, including Orwell’s 1984.

Dawn State’s 2018 play digs deep into the heart of ​this sweeping epic to reveal the story of two people trying to ​fix themselves in a world far stranger than Swift could have imagined.

​From the team which brought sold-out performances of Kipling’s The Man Who Would Be King to The Swallow Theatre in 2016​ (“Outstanding” ★★★★★ British Theatre Guide).

Written and directed by Dan Coleman

Age guidance: 14+ (themes of grief and mental health, very occasional strong language)
Duration : Approximately 1 hour

Why we love this show - a personal view from The Swallow Theatre

So far we have seen this play four times and we are looking forward to watching it again.  We know we will cry, and we know we will come away feeling uplifted and determined to be better people.  And for us that is the essence of good drama.  The play goes to dark and painful places (the young couple have suffered a sudden and deep but unnamed loss).  Yet it ends with hope: the message that love, kindness and the willingness to keep on talking and trying may just see us through.  And that seems very relevant today.

"Genuinely touching... Coleman has woven the story of Lil and Lem with nuance and depth."
British Theatre Guide
“Unfolds motifs of how journeys change people, how artists create new realities, and how love can overcome all difficulties. Exceptional.”
Fringe Biscuit
"A harrowing hour of intensity paired with excellent performances."
The List

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We are suggesting a donation of £5 per household viewing where possible, but it is free to watch for those who are struggling in these tough times.

Gulliver Returns



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About the recording

We are making available an archive recording of a performance in front of a live audience at The Swallow Theatre.

The recording was not made with the intention of being shared or broadcast: it was made purely for archive purposes. However, in these strange times in which theatres across the UK are closed to audiences, we would like share it with you.

The theatre company has kindly given their permission for us to do this.

The recording was made using a single fixed camera that captures a full view of the stage. It gives a slightly elevated view, similar to sitting at the rear of our auditorium. As there are no cuts between cameras, you get to choose what to look at, as you would at a live performance.

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