“One by one they were all becoming shades.
Better pass boldly into that other world,
in the full glory of some passion,
than fade and wither dismally with age.”
James Joyce – The Dead

Step down into the welcoming darkness of the Vaults’ Underworld and a custom musical sound-scape that is the living, breathing, pulsing sensorium of Becoming Shades.

Sail along this river of sound, with the sumptuously costumed performers of Chivaree Circus into a world where Greek legends are made mythconception. Witness literal flights of fantasy with intense and spectacular aerial acrobatics, cunningly choreographed to embody the tension and power-play between Persephone and Hades, re-told for the modern world.

Fire-breathing characters will illuminate your passage through the dark surroundings of the Vaults, perfect backdrop to this site specific promenade performance. Becoming Shades will subvert and intrigue as the narrative of light and dark, fragments and tableaux, and breath-taking set pieces unfolds around you.

Immerse yourself in this story of empowerment, love and choices, hope and sorrow. A dream, a memory, an echo; this shifting, cyclical tale creates an emotional tapestry of ideas and impressions that make up a dark and powerful journey. Whilst the original myth portrays the kidnapping of Persephone by Hades – which brings about the birth of the seasons – this re-telling reverses the power structure and places Persephone in the centre of a story she controls, leading to her true realisation as The Queen of Shades.

Becoming Shades is a dark immersive circus show, with great emphasis placed on the original music featuring a rich interplay of vocal harmonies combined imaginatively with live acoustic instruments and darker electronic sounds. The score, especially written for this piece, becomes the beating heart and pumping arteries of the world you inhabit, carrying you inexorably through the narrative and complimenting and enhancing the ebb and flow of pulsing action.

Journey with these ethereal beings of dark and light and share in their hopes and dreams, triumphs and concessions, until you become one with the world of Shades.


“Chivaree Circus are genuinely thrilling.”
Time Out

“Innovative and spectacular.”
The Upcoming

“Impressive fire-eating and acrobatic feats.”
The Stage

“Death has never been so vibrant.”
What’s On Stage

“Outrageous skill, strength and creativity.”

“The most intimate circus ever.”

“Passionate, daring, and unique.”
Last minute theatre tickets

Direction and Costume Design by Laurane Marchive
Composed and Arranged by Sam West & Becks Johnstone
Produced by Edward Gosling for Chivaree Circus & Ilai Szpiezak for Upstage Creative

As part of the experience, we ask all audience members to wear black
and avoid wearing heels or bringing heavy bags.
Please note Becoming Shades is a promenade show.
You will be asked to stand and walk in the space, at times you may be asked to sit down;
if you are less able to sit, please stand at the back or let one of the ushers know.