Symbiont: One-woman stand-up horror show asks the question ‘How do we talk about death?’

A one-woman stand up horror show which asks ‘How do we talk about death?’ comes to The Vaults in July.

Written by Patrick Swain and performed by Ellie Gallimore, Symbiont from Caged Bird will run 14 – 16 July 2022.

The production is directed by Jasper Frost with producer Charlotte Holder and accessibility consulting by Joe Strickland.

Symbiont is a semi-autobiographical retelling of a death from cancer in the writer’s family, performed from the perspective of his mother. It seeks to destigmatise death in social conversation through humour and sensitivity, to ultimately prevent the ‘whiplash’ effect of trauma.

Symbiont uses comedy, music, dance, and a loose grip on reality to accommodate audiences who have experienced loss and implore them to embrace the feeling that people who have died never truly leave us.

Written over lockdown, Caged Bird developed the piece at New Diorama Broadgate and they have worked in partnership with Chronic Insanity as Accessibility Consultants, creating sound maps to prevent overstimulation of neurodivergent audience members and utilising live captioning. The show is in support of The Christie charity.

Writer and Co-Founder of Caged Bird Patrick Swain said: “What you’ll see is the raw first draft. It’s what was written, pretty much non stop, during May of 2020. I don’t know how to describe Symbiont – it’s completely other to anything I’ve ever made. It’ll be an experience, I promise you that.”

For more information and tickets visit

About the author: Josh Darvill

Josh is Stageberry's editor with over five years of experience writing about theatre in the West End and across the UK. Prior to following his passion for musicals, he worked for more than a decade as a TV journalist.


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