An invitation to your own funeral: A Wake in Progress | Vault Festival


A Wake in Progress uniquely combines scripted scenes and audience interaction to offer a humorous yet moving tale of love, death and funerals


For VAULT Festival 2019, Fine Mess Theatre present a thoroughly modern play about death. Exploring language, expectations, grief, and the celebration (or lack thereof) of life, A Wake in Progress uniquely combines scripted scenes and audience interaction to offer a humorous yet moving tale of love, death and funerals. Interrogating how we really feel about the subject of death, the final scene will differ each night based on the input of the audience during the performance.

A young person is dying. But they aren’t going to go out without one final gesture: something that everyone will remember them by. A Wake in Progress invites audiences to begin an investigation considering what death means to them and even asking them to face up to their own fate.

In a challenge to audiences, this production examines the concept of being present at your own funeral. If you had the opportunity to attend, to experience the outpouring of love, honesty and thoughts that would be revealed, would you go? And what would this look like? A Wake in Progress asks us to detach ourselves from the morbid fear of death and to instead celebrate these conversations. Engaging with funerals and death practices from all over the world, A Wake in Progress helps us to take this step, forming the lives of the characters on stage through an amalgamation of the audiences own experiences with friends, lovers and siblings.

Writer Joel Samuels comments, I wrote this play to encourage us all to really think about how we live with our deaths and the deaths of others. At a time when British people are re-evaluating their understanding of how we commemorate and celebrate our dead loved ones – breaking with the old traditional ideas of funerals and death – it seems like a fantastic time to come see a play that puts you in charge of how a dying young person is going to be remembered! And it’s really fun and funny! I promise!

Performance Dates
Wednesday 6th – Sunday 10th February 2019
Wednesday – Sunday, 9.20pm
Saturday matinee, 4.50pm

Running time 1 hour
Age Recommendation 12+

VAULT Festival Cage, Leake St, Lambeth, London SE1 7AD

How to get there
The Vaults are located underneath Waterloo station (on the Northern, Bakerloo and Jubilee lines). Leave Waterloo Station via Exit 1. Turn right onto Station Road Approach and keep on the right hand side of the road.

Walk all the way to the bottom of the road and go down the first set of stairs you come to and turn right at the bottom of the stairs. The entrance to the VAULT Festival is 10 meters down the graffiti tunnel on the right hand side.

Photo Credit: Ali Wright