Enhanced Program Notes


Stitches: Enhanced Program Notes

What would you wear to your own funeral?

Although my shows are performed live, they have a high audio content, so if you are blind or have low vision you might find that they have good accessibility.

Because I'm an independent artist with a tiny budget, I can't generally afford to have audio descriptions for individual shows. However, I have been working to develop Enhanced Program Notes for each of my shows. These notes provide contextual information beyond the script you will you hear at the performance. I include these notes as written text on this website and also as audio files here on my soundcloud page.

Enhanced Program Notes

General information about the production

Stitches is the final show in a series of monologues that I have been writing since 2018. Throughout this show I will be finishing a new dress, sewn on my sewing machine while narrating the mostly true, slightly-made-up story of sewing my own funeral dress.

Show image

There is a series of three images used in the promotional materials for the show. They are all taken on the same studio set which includes the following: a bright orange background; a sewing mannequin standing beside me; a table with a vintage Singer sewing machine; a vintage concertina sewing box which is open and has fabric and scissors visible; embroidery hoops leaning against the leg of the table.

I am standing in all of the images wearing my costume. I am about the same height as the mannequin. My costume is a blue denim tunic over a white t-shirt. I am wearing blue stockings. I'm not wearing shoes.

In the main image I am standing, my body facing the mannequin as I measure the mannequin's waist, my head is turned so that I am looking towards the camera. This is the image used on the posters and flyers and in the fringe guide.

In the second of the images I am standing behind the sewing machine. I am holding an embroidery hoop in one hand and a needle in the other. I am looking towards the camera, but with my head slightly lowered, my eyes and eyebrows lifted. In the third of the images, I have a measuring tape looped behind my neck and hanging over each shoulder, I am leaning on the sewing table with one hand, and holding the tape measure at a jaunty angle with the other.

Character and costume

I am the only person who appears on stage. I am short and my skin is white. My hair is shoulder length and brown with grey streaks. I am wearing glasses. My glasses are usually round, but sometimes I am wearing purple cat's eyes glasses. I nearly always wear a circular silver ring on the middle finger of my left hand.

My costume is a dark blue denim tunic over a t-shirt. In some performances the t-shirt is white and in others it is black (I can't decide which one I like best). The tunic has two deep pockets and two white buttons on the centre back. I am wearing blue stockings and white sneakers.


The set is lit with a soft golden wash.

The set includes a rectangular wooden dining table with four chairs, one on each side of the table. The table is positioned lengthways and the left edge is angled slightly towards the audience. A sewing machine is on the table at this left edge. On the arm of the sewing machine is the garment that I am sewing through the show, a piece of calico which is mostly bunched up around the sewing machine.

At the other end of the table is a piece of folded calico and on top of this, a pair of red-handled sewing scissors, a piece of blue tailor's chalk and a rolled up tape measure. and sewing tools including a pile of folded fabrics. Near the calico, there is also a white ceramic coffee mug and a mobile phone.

The chair closest to the stage is at the table, but turned slightly towards the audience. The chair at the right-hand edge of the table is also angled slightly towards the table. On the chair is a small pile of folded calico lengths. Hanging on the back of the chair is a small clutch bag.

To the right of the table is a dressmakers mannequin. The body of the mannequin is oatmeal-coloured cloth, the base of the stand has three feet which are made of wood, with a metal rod attached the base to the body.

In front of the mannequin is a vintage cantilvered sewing box which is fully extended on one side, and partly extended on the other. The draws have different sewing notions including some threads and bias binding.

To the left of the stage is a black music stand with an open sprial-bound folder, filled with white pieces of paper. There is text printed on the pages and the paragraphs of the text have been highlighted with coloured highlighter pens.

Main visuals and actions

When the audience enters the theatre, I am already on the set, sitting at the sewing machine and sewing. I am mostly concentrating on the sewing, but occasionally talk to the audience to reassure them they aren't late.

The house lights and the stage lights are a soft golden wash.

Once everyone is seated and the front-of-house person has closed the door, the lights dim slightly and I leave my seat to stand as the pre-recorded Welcome to Country plays.

I start the show by sitting at the sewing machine. Then, as I talk about going shopping with Mum, I stand, and walk towards the audience until I am standing centre stage. Soon after, when I'm talking about being at Amy's house I pick up the seat that is at the front edge of the table and place it in the centre front of the stage and sit. For most of the rest of the show I am either sitting in this seat, standing slightly in front of it or standing behind it.

I don't move around the stage very much, but I do use my arms a lot to emphasise or illustrate what I'm saying.

While I am mostly sitting in the chair in the centre of the stage or standing slightly in front of it the following list describes the key points of action in the show:

  • throughout the play, when I am talking about my mum, I am usually using my left hand in an exaggerated way as if I am smoking
  • throughout the play, whenever I say 'memory music please' I move over to the music stand in time to the music, turn the pages of the script then return to where I was standing and gesture to the technical table to stop the music
  • at the moment when I am talking about using Mum's sewing machine for luck, I am standing back at the table, with my hand on the machine
  • when I am talking about being out for Roxanne's birthday drinks I return to the sewing machine
  • when I say 'excuse me while I finish this' and the action music starts playing, I do a small amount of sewing to finish the dress; I then take the dress of the machine, flip it inside out in an exaggerated motion, rush over to the mannequin and put the dress on the mannequin; when I say 'no pockets' I then take the bumbag from the back of the chair and wrap it around the waist of the mannequin; as the music stops I point dramatically to the mannequin, then look to the audience expectantly
  • as I describe my garment to my sewing group, I am standing by the mannequin with my arm around her shoulders
  • as I describe the ending that I had originally written I am making exaggerated gestures such as pretending to hold the trophy high above my head and encouraging the audience to cheer
  • at the time of the incoming message sound I go back to the table and look down at the phone
  • when I tell the audience that I'm going to start getting ready for tomorrow night, I move the sewing machine off the table onto the chair at the back; then I take the piece of folded calico, unfold it, start measuring and cutting the fabric; I then move towards the side of the table, then to the front of the stage as I talk about what I will do with the dress now that it is finished
  • there is a moment when the lights fade a little as if it is the end of the show, but I point to the sound desk say 'memory music please' and as I am talking move towards the music stand, then make an exaggerated gesture to stop the music
  • when the music stops I return to the centre front of the stage to deliver the last story
  • in the final moment of the show, I make a highly exaggerated gesture, mimicking my mother as if she is taking one huge drag on her cigarette then blowing it into the air in an act of triumph
  • the stages lights are flicked to dark.

At the end of the show, as the music starts I take my bows, acknowledging the team who are there, in particular, the technician, Maggie the director if she is in the audience that night and my partner, Adrian.

I then leave the theatre. Adrian stands at the door giving a small packet of rock candy to everyone who wants one as they leave. The candy is rainbow coloured and is printed with the word 'Stitches.' I will be standing out in the foyer to thank people for coming.