China Plate presents

The Shape of the Pain

And there he was. Right person, right place, right time. Tick, tick, tick.


Run time: 70 minutes

Age: 14+

Content warnings: The performance includes flashing projection – there are moments in the show where there is rapid, similar-to-strobe lighting.

A woman directly looking at the camera, with a square cube outline over her face.

The Guardian

4 stars

Sunday Times

4 stars

The Edinburgh Festival Magazine

4 stars

"This one-woman show is a smart, funny and far from disconsolate inquiry into the knowability of someone else’s experience. The sound design and visuals have a pulsing power."

Sunday Times

A woman looking off to the right, against a projected background, the text reads 'and please or... irrelevant really.

The Shape of the Pain

Developed by Rachel Bagshaw and Chris Thorpe
Written by Chris Thorpe
Directed by Rachel Bagshaw
With an original score by Melanie Wilson

Fringe First award-winning production about love, perception and constant, relentless pain.

This tour de force performance from Hannah McPake sees one woman attempt to articulate her experience of pain. Physical pain with no apparent cause. Also, she’s met someone, and they really want to make this work.

“This is an exercise in empathy – and it is exhilarating theatre.” – The Guardian

“The masterful combination of sound design, lighting and projections coinciding with McPake’s performance offers an overwhelming glimpse into a life unwillingly shared with pain.”The Edinburgh Festival Magazine

The Offies Nomination Sound Design Logo The Offies Nomination Lighting Design Logo The Offies Nomination Video Design Logo

Funded by The Wellcome Trust and supported using public funds from The National Lottery through Arts Council England. Commissioned by Battersea Arts Centre / New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich. Supported by artsdepot.

Photo © The Other Richard


The Shape of the Pain and Where I Go (When I Can’t Be Where I Am) screening is available for national and international touring.

If you are interested in booking, or would like to discuss further, please contact Ed Collier on [email protected]

Rachel Bagshaw was commissioned by the BBC, The Space and Arts Council England to create a short film for their Culture in Quarantine programme. Where I Go (When I Can’t Be Where I Am) is created by the team behind the multi-award winning, critically acclaimed theatre show The Shape of the Pain.

Conceived and directed by Rachel Bagshaw and written by Chris Thorpe, the film follows one woman as she remembers a past relationship whilst experiencing an episode of extreme physical pain. Based on Rachel’s own lived experience of Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, the film weaves together video design, sound and words to explore how we talk about pain and love – and if we can ever do either in a way someone else will truly understand.

Filmed in Lockdown is a series of new works of literary, musical, visual, and performance arts, commissioned for Culture in Quarantine by Arts Council England and BBC Arts. For more information about the film, please contact Ed Collier.

Creative Team

A woman sitting in a wheelchair, not looking at the camera, with a pen and paper in hand.

Rachel Bagshaw

Award-winning director & theatre maker; recent film adaptation of The Shape of the Pain for BBC.

Read more
  • Director | Rachel Bagshaw
  • Writer | Chris Thorpe
  • Performer | Hannah McPake
  • Original Score | Melanie Wilson
  • Designer | Madeleine Girling
  • Video & Lighting Designer | Joshua Pharo
  • Movement Director | Raquel Meseguer
  • Access & Audio Description Consultant | Michael Achtman
  • Production Manager | Helen Mugridge
  • Associate Director | Rachel Lincoln
  • Sound Associate | Kirsty Gillmore
  • Video & Lighting Associate | Sarah Readman
  • Artist Wellbeing Practitioner | Louise Platt
  • Filmmaker | Rachel Bunce
  • Producer | China Plate

You might also like...


We all have a nationality. Or almost all of us. Status is a show about someone who doesn't want his any more.

Read more

All of Me

An intimate and absurd exploration of wanting to live, wanting to die and what can happen if we sit together with the dark.

Read more