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The Dark Carnival

Photo by Mihaela Bodlovic


The Dark Carnival is a delightfully ghoulish, fabulously funny tall tale - an evening of anarchic song that tells the story of newcomers to the afterlife who discover that death is not actually the end! Incredulous at their continuity, they form their own necropolitan community where every night is party night.

But something is afoot. God has put heaven up for rent, looking for a better prospect somewhere else. The angels, at a loss, sit on cotton wool clouds, drinking cans of Tennent’s. When news reaches the cemetery, an underground revolution begins, led by the stoic Mrs Mark and her band of necropolitans.

The Dark Carnival is a new pop-opera created by Vanishing Point featuring live music and songs by A New International.

A New International describe their music as “an evocative mixture of cinematic strings, circus lights, carnival and cabaret, music hall, gypsy, chanson, a little bit of folk, a little bit of flamenco too, yet with pop at its beating heart.” Reference points for the uninitiated include Scott Walker, Calexico, Beirut, Morricone.

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
Tickets on sale Autumn 2018

21 February - 02 March, 2019

Citizens Theatre at Tramway, Glasgow
Tickets on sale Autumn 2018

06 March - 09 March, 2019

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Tickets on sale Autumn 2018

13 March - 16 March, 2019

Dundee Rep Theatre
Tickets on sale 2nd June 2018


Press reviews from A Night at the Theatre, an evening of songs and poetry from The Dark Carnival: 

"This production’s ringleader is Biff Smith of A New International, deadpan troubadour for the dead, with a mad grin and a voice somewhere between Jack Skellington and Freddie Mercury. The incomparable Pauline Goldsmith of Vanishing Point, joined by brilliant Peter Kelly, shine as tellers of tales, reciting poetic interludes from their black hymnals and bringing colourful characters [back] to life." **** Edinburgh Guide  on A Night at the Theatre

"A New International...have a strong, dramatic sound. Smith, who flits between acoustic guitar and accordion, is a flamboyant, charismatic front man, and with a violin, a double bass and a brass section also thrown into their mix, this move into theatre is a very natural transformation. With fine musicianship and its irreverent imagining of the afterlife, the pop opera and its national tour...promise much for next year." Pennyblack Music on A Night at the Theatre



Vanishing Point
A New International 
The Dark Carnival

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

Conceived and directed by Matthew Lenton 
Text by Matthew Lenton and the Company 
Songs and lyrics by Biff Smith
Music by A New International 

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