PREVIEW: Paul Case – Dead White Anarchists, The Art House, Southampton

PREVIEW: Paul Case – Dead White Anarchists, The Art House, Southampton

Edinburgh-based writer and performer Paul Case brings his solo theatre show, Dead White Anarchists, to Southampton’s Art House next month, for an in person and online event.

The story is a biography of real life nineteenth-century Parisian anarchist terrorist Emile Henry fused with the drug-soaked ‘ecstasy and chaos’ of the contemporary London squat scene. 

It begins in Paris, 1892. Inspired by the revolutions of the past and the bombing campaigns of contemporary anarchists, the twenty year-old Emile prepares his war against the State. First, he targets an exploitive mining company, an act which ends with him accidentally killing five police officers. He flees to London, but after a night’s heavy drinking is transported into the future of anarchy: a world of raving, amphetamines and psychedelics… and here, Emile realises his lethal ‘calling’.

Inspired by his interest in anarchism’s rich history, as well as his own experiences of activism and the squat party scene, writer and spoken word performer Paul Case originally conceived Dead White Anarchists as a storytelling show. 

He says: I wanted to create something with real energy to it, which reflected my complicated feelings on some forms of radical politics and political violence, but didn’t have easy answers. I wanted something which stood apart from most other shows with its sheer anger and desperation, but also had a thoughtful, engaging and accessible narrative”.

Dead White Anarchists was developed over 2017 and in 2018 the show was performed several times at Edinburgh Fringe Festival; the Assembly Roxy as part of Formation Festival; Bradford Anarchist Bookfair; independent arts festival One Weekend In Stirling; as well as venues in Glasgow and London. In 2019, director Emily Ingram came on board to help expand the narrative and performance, helping transform it into an exciting piece of theatre to be toured throughout 2020.

 On her reasons for joining the project, Ingram says: Paul’s writing and performance so elegantly sum up feelings of political powerlessness which we all experience, and how these feelings can drive us to futility or extremism. More than ever, this show needs to be seen.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 tour had to be postponed until this year, and The Art House is just one of a few dates confirmed so far for 2022. Having already been performed in Preston, Manchester, Newcastle, Dundee and Aberdeen, Dead White Anarchists will also be performed in Bristol and London in October.

Paul Case, formerly known as Captain of the Rant, has been performing spoken word since 2008. He has featured for some of the major spoken word organisers such as Hammer & Tongue, Bang! Said The Gun and Apples & Snakes. He has performed all over the UK as well as in Germany, Malaysia and extensively in Australia.

Emily Ingram is an emerging director and writer, specialising in prop work and productions that tread the line between theatre and storytelling. She is a member of Birds Of Paradise’s Young Artists scheme and the creator of Some Kind of Theatre’s Theatre On The Sofa project, a scheme which brings theatre to non-traditional venues. Recent credits include the widely praised The Grandmothers Grimm (Buxton Festival Fringe, Southwark Playhouse, Edinburgh Festival Fringe) and The Sprite In The Dolls House (Assembly Roxy, The Palace of Holyroodhouse).

Dead White Anarchists comes to The Art House on Thursday, October 20. The evening will also feature Southampton poet and artist Dave Hubble and an open mic section. For more information and to book tickets, click here


  • Picture by Sweet P Photography.


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