Skip to the content

The Dark Carnival

A music and theatre spectacle, The Dark Carnival features sixteen performers and musicians. Through songs, spoken word and Vanishing Point’s unmistakeable imagery, they tell the story of newcomers to the afterlife who discover, much to their surprise, that death is not actually the end. Incredulous at their continuity, they form their own necropolitan community where every night is party night: songs get sung, love gets made and whisky flows.

Above the ground, the cemetery brims with life. But a mysterious event throws the lives of the living into uncertainty. When news reaches the cemetery, an underground revolution begins, led by the stoical Mrs Mark and her band of necropolitans.

Created and performed by Vanishing Point and A New International, The Dark Carnival will transport audiences into an unexpected vision of the afterlife full of long-lost lovers, half-hearted ghosts, and songs that find themselves in a musical space somewhere in between Leonard Cohen and The Muppets.

Photography Mihaela Bodlovic & Niall Walker | Art Direction Niall Walker

'Necropolitan' by A New International, which will feature in The Dark Carnival 

The Dark Carnival: Unplugged

When the curtain comes down on the The Dark Carnival, an innovative, storytelling version of the show featuring A New International lead singer, Biff Smith, and a virtuoso storyteller - one of the actors from The Dark Carnival - will travel to town halls, tearooms and theatres across Scotland from Spring 2019. This will be developed as part of BRAW of on the Isle of Eigg.

Performance dates

19 February - 20 February, 2019

Citizens Theatre at Tramway, Glasgow

21 February - 02 March, 2019

Citizens Theatre at Tramway, Glasgow

06 March - 09 February, 2019

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

13 March - 16 March, 2019

Dundee Rep Theatre


Matthew Lenton and Biff Smith talk to Neil Cooper - The Herald

'Ahead of the premiere of new co-production The Dark Carnival, Vanishing Point's Matthew Lenton and A New International's Biff Smith discuss their so-called "hare-brained scheme", and explain why their show is not a musical' - The Skinny


'each and everyone sings out for the great refusal, and for the joy of life itself'
★★★★★ The Herald 

'sit back and revel in this strange and wonderful entertainment for the moment we live in, and for all those who understand how human beings can always create songs and stories, wit and beauty, even in extremis'
★★★★ The Scotsman

★★★★ The Telegraph 

★★★★ The Times

★★★★ The Stage





Vanishing Point
A New International 
The Dark Carnival

A co-production with Citizens Theatre
In association with Dundee Rep Ensemble 

Conceived, written and directed by Matthew Lenton 
Songs and lyrics by Biff Smith
Music by A New International
Set & Costume Design by Kenneth MacLeod
Lighting Design by Simon Wilkinson
Assistant Director Nikki Kalkman

Cast includes: 
Olivia Barrowclough
Malcolm Cumming Robertson Trust Citizens Theatre Actor Intern
Elicia Daly
Peter Kelly
Natali McCleary
Ramesh Meyyappan
Ann Louise Ross 
Laurie Scott

The band: 
Biff Smith
Caroline Evens
Craig Laurie
Stephen McGourty
Jo Shaw
Harry Ward 
Ross Bahlaj
Euan Allardice

Production Manager Fiona Fraser
Company Stage Manager Naomi Hoolahan
Head of Stage Dave Stabback
Stage Manager Gillian Richards
Stage Manager Kara Jackson
Lighting Technician Andrew Gannon
Sound Engineer Amir Sherhan
Sound Engineer Fuzz Guthrie
Costume Supervisor Sophie Ferguson
Costume Assistant Rebekah Chapman
BSL Interpreter Amy Cheskin
BSL Interpreter Catherine King
Make-up Artist Daniel Livingston
Supported Artist Adam Gordon
Set-build Pretty Scenic

back to top