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Ovalhouse and Chris Ioan Roberts present

Dead Royal by Chris Ioan Roberts

The Duchess of Windsor invites Lady Diana to a despair-laden bachelorette party to convince her to flee her impending marriage...
A lacerating, camp-drenched celebration of 1980s-scale megalomania. 

  • Tues 21 - Fri 24 April 7.45pm, Sat 25 April 5pm

Venue: Upstairs

Please note that, regrettably, the upstairs theatre is not currently accessible for wheelchair users.

Villa Windsor, Paris, 1981. Wallis, Duchess of Windsor (82), invites Lady Diana Spencer (19) to a despair-laden bachelorette party on the eve of her wedding to the Prince of Wales.

Having spent weeks preparing her decaying, prisonlike mansion with its 29 servants, the Duchess frantically warns Diana to flee her impending marriage – before she too marries the wrong man, and becomes immortalised as the grasping commoner willing to crawl over broken glass to snatch a royal title.

Dead Royal is a high-camp celebration of narcissistic megalomania on a 1980s scale, as two colossal personalities struggle bitterly to escape the long shadows cast by insignificant men.

“Chris Ioan Roberts in particular is someone to watch out for. He is going from strength to strength, both figuratively in the quality of his deft modulation between the tragic and the comic…” Andrew Fuhrmann, TIME OUT (Melbourne)

“Chris Ioan Roberts stands out. His gripping portrayal…note perfect…is at once euphoric and terribly sad” Cameron Woodhead, THE AGE


  • Tue 21 Apr, 7:45pm
  • Wed 22 Apr, 7:45pm
  • Thu 23 Apr, 7:45pm
  • Fri 24 Apr, 7:45pm
  • Sat 25 Apr, 5:00pm

Christopher Ioan Roberts is regarded as one of London’s most subversive and exciting emerging actor-directors. He trained at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne, graduating with a Bachelor of Dramatic Art in 2010. Whilst at the VCA he was invited as the sole Australian actor to attend the 2010 International Summer Residency at the Watermill Centre in New York, led by acclaimed American theatre director Robert Wilson. Whilst in New York he worked on projects with La Scala (The Return of Ulysses to His Homeland), the National Theatre of Athens (The Odyssey) and among other works on a new theatre piece based on poetry by Lorca directed by Robert Wilson. He was subsequently invited to work as a Creative Associate on Wilson’s production of Madama Butterfly for the Opéra National de Paris in 2011. Other theatre and film work includes Philip in Declan Greene’s Home Economics (The Store Room), the Child Angel in Elijah Moshinsky’s Don Carlo (Opera Australia) and as Kel in the feature film Beginning, Middle & End. Following a critically acclaimed performance as Lee in the premiere season of Chris Summer’s play Crossed at LaMaMa he relocated to London where he most recently collaborated with Ovalhouse and designer Dinu Bodiciu on a FiRST BiTE season of his solo show Half Wallis in 2014 which became Dead Royals. Other recent work includes the role of Anders Breivik in The Economist in Berlin (MKA Theatre) and as the Soldier in Tongues (Tristan Bates Theatre) as well as in workshops for new productions of Measure for Measure (with Russell Bolam) and The Seagull (with Joe Hill-Gibbins). His work at the VCA includes Malvolio/Antonio in Twelfth Night, Cassius in Julius Caesar, The Old Man in Iphigenia at Aulis, The Wild Duck, Gudgeon in Daniel Schlusser’s production of The Hollow, Lisette in The Feigned Inconstancy, Lucio in Innocence: The Life and Death of Caravaggio, Only Some Can Take the Strain, Weiskopf in Ghetto, and Billy in The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?

Robin Soutar (Production Designer) studied theatre design at Central Saint Martins. Previously he trained as an actor at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, and worked professionally with Theatre Royal Bath, Polka Theatre and the BBC. Whilst acting he began exploring design ideas in theatre and helped establish Lucky Stuff Productions, where he assisted on Lucky Stiff (New Wimbledon Studio), designed the new musical Before The Night Is Through (Millfield Arts Centre) and The Baltimore Waltz (Little Marlborough Theatre). He gained work experience in the National Theatre’s costume workshop making costumes for Pirandello’s Liolaand Tori Amos’s The Light Princess; was trainee costume assistant on The Beat Beneath My Feet (Scoop Films); and costume trainee on the film Tulip Feverfor Michael O’Connor, due for release in 2015. Other design credits include Deathwatch (The Roundhouse); Lulu(Platform Theatre King’s Cross); Marry Me A Little (Etcetera Theatre). In March 2014 his design work for English Pocket Opera's Orpheus & Eurydice was transferred to The Royal Albert Hall as part of a concert involving 2000 children from schools in the Camden borough. Later the same year, Crime - a collaboration with Nico Vaccari - won best play at the FIST Arts Festival in Suceava, Romania, preceding a short tour of venues in Bucharest. Most recently he was associate designer on the UK tour of The Man Jesus with Simon Callow, directed by Joseph Alford. He currently assists costume designer, Mr Gammon.

Alex Rand (Assistant Director) is an emerging theatre maker who has worked on projects with Complicite, Punchdrunk, National Theatre Young Studio, Arcola and Theatre503. He is currently Youth Representative on the Ovalhouse board. 

Dinu Bodiciu (Original Costume Designer) is a Romanian-born, London-based fashion and hat designer. In 2011 he was awarded a Master Degree in Fashion Design and Technology at London College of Fashion. His graduation collection shown at the Victoria & Albert Museum drew media attention with its shapes, textures and styling. Lady Gaga wore one if his designs before the taping of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. 

Duncan Boyce (Sound Designer) is a London-based jazz pianist and sound designer who will meld elements of early 1980s French and American pop music to harness the aural experience of Paris in 1981. 

Patricia Oliveira (Photographer) was born in Curitiba, Brazil and has been living in London since 2003. She has graduated from a BA in Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins in 2011 (First Class). She works predominantly with photography and is interested in developing commercial photography collaborations alongside her fine art practice. Patricia will act as rehearsal and publicity photographer for Dead Royals.


Additional information

Photos by Patricia Oliveira

Click an image to view a larger version.

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