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Musical about living with cancer aims to be 'rip-roaring' celebration

Bryony Kimmings' all-singing, all-dancing production is about to entertain audiences in Manchester, Exeter and London
Guide_to_Cancer

Writer Bryony Kimmings' all-singing, all-dancing production is about to entertain audiences in Manchester, Exeter and London

A Pacifists Guide to the War on Cancer is written by Bryony Kimmings and Brian Lobel. Ms Kimmings, who has already penned plays about depression and sexually transmitted infections, also directs the show. Tom Parkinson has written the music.

The musical, which opens in Manchester on 20 September, aims to be a rip-roaring, heartbreaking celebration of ordinary life and death, scratching at the battle metaphors that surround cancer to reveal what really lies beneath.

Social change

Of her provocative past work, Ms Kimmings said: Its an artists duty to say and explore things that are untouchable or hard to talk about.

Her mission with A Pacifists Guide is to make

Writer Bryony Kimmings' all-singing, all-dancing production is about to entertain audiences in Manchester, Exeter and London

Guide_to_Cancer
Hal Fowler in the musical A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer. Picture: Christa Holka

A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer is written by Bryony Kimmings and Brian Lobel. Ms Kimmings, who has already penned plays about depression and sexually transmitted infections, also directs the show. Tom Parkinson has written the music.

The musical, which opens in Manchester on 20 September, aims to be a ‘rip-roaring, heartbreaking celebration of ordinary life and death, scratching at the battle metaphors that surround cancer to reveal what really lies beneath’.

Social change

Of her provocative past work, Ms Kimmings said: ‘It’s an artist’s duty to say and explore things that are untouchable or hard to talk about.’

Her mission with A Pacifist’s Guide is ‘to make mind-blowing, multi-platform art works to provoke social change’.

The production looks behind poster campaigns and pink ribbons to the reality of waiting rooms, altered bodies, family strain, financial worries and operations, all presented in a jaunty musical form.

The roots of the show are a conversation between Ms Kimmings and a theatrical producer, who had emailed the writer after seeing one of her earlier productions. In the three-week gap between sending the email and meeting Ms Kimmings, the producer was diagnosed with breast cancer.

A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer, co-produced by Complicite, plays at Manchester’s HOME theatre 20-24 September, Exeter’s Northcott 28 September to 2 October, and London’s National Theatre 14 October to 29 November. Bryony Kimmings will talk on stage about the musical on 27 October

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