All events

Rachel Mars in association with Ovalhouse presents

Our Carnal Hearts by Rachel Mars

An Ovalhouse FiRST BiTES work-in-development.

Born from the suspect parentage of an ideological rally, a drunken sing-song and a horrible but seductive dream, this work in development continues Rachel’s interrogation of envy, success and song following the pop-up choir Sing it! Spirit of Envy! in 2014.

This event is part of the FiRST BiTES season
  • Wed 25 Mar – Sat 28 Mar, 7:45pm

Venue: Upstairs

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

This fairy comes round your house.

You, she says, are in luck.

Ask for anything you want. Anything in the world and I’ll give it to you. But whatever you ask for, your neighbour gets the same thing, but double.

Great. You say. Fine.

Cut out one of my eyes.

We’re finally here! Years of individualism, fears of scarcity ,the joys of social media and we’ve made it into a looking-over-our-shoulder shitstorm! But, hey. What's not to love?

Our Carnal Hearts is a celebration of envy, a joyous call for everyone we’ve ever wanted to be and everything we’ve ever wanted to own. A place to whoop at our own fragility and delight against our better nature. A toast to our competitive spirits and a rumbling dance for the uglygutter-tramping parts of our souls. A show that seeks to prove that envy makes us better. That politicians are right: that its spirit runs through our hearts, lymph systems and bowels and it’s glorious and we wouldn't want it any other way.

Conceived and performed by Rachel Mars in collaboration with various good ones.
Compositions and Arrangements by Louise Mothersole


'The variety, ubiquity, and necessity of envy. Sing it! Spirit of Envy is a crunchy treat.' Edward Rapley, Total Theatre

'An electrifiying love letter to comedy from someone who wants it to mean something.' The Guardian (on The Way You Tell Them)

'A simultaneous punch to the gut and the funny bone.' Exeunt (on Mars.tarrab’s The Lady's Not For Walking Like An Egyptian)


  • Wed 25 Mar, 7:45pm
  • Thu 26 Mar, 7:45pm
  • Fri 27 Mar, 7:45pm
  • Sat 28 Mar, 7:45pm

Writer/deviser/performer – Rachel Mars is a performance maker and writer, borrowing from theatre, live art and comedy. She makes things about coping, about the idiosyncratic constructs that surround social interactions, about cultural habits, family and queerness. Over the past couple of years she has interrogated some 'big' subjects - envy, humour, rage, pop/politics and gender. Sometimes that's been through a straight performance ('The Way You Tell Them', a show about the uses and abuses of comedy), or through a pop-up choir singing found and collected texts ('Sing It! Spirit of Envy!), mashing together Margaret Thatcher's top ten speeches with chronologically matched pop hits by female artists (Mars.tarrab's 'The Lady's Not For Walking Like An Egyptian'), by arming small children with hammers, playing them Motorhead and inviting them to smash up her dad's terrible pottery work (Where The Wild Bits Are). She makes things on her own and in collaboration with various good folk. Her work has been at venues and festivals around the UK and Internationally. She is a sometime contributor to Radio 2 and 4, and she has written for The Guardian, The Jewish Chronicle and The Stage. 

Music Consultant – Louise Mothersole is a performance artist working from London and one half of award winning performance duo Sh!t Theatre. She also works in production and is a freelance sound & lighting technician and composer. Her show with SH!t Theatre 'Women's Hour' is touring the UK from Spring onwards. @shittheatre

Orla O’Flanagan is an artist, signer and co-founder of ActiveArt which creates innovative and participatory art for egalitarian social change.

Christina Borgenstiena performs with She’koyach, Bucimis Trio and the Bulgarian folk ensemble Musica Planina, and sings in the Veda Slovena Bulgarian Choir.
Rachel Weston is a singer, choir leader and composer with a specialism in Yiddish song :
Francesca Ter-Berg is a cellist, composer and arranger. She collaborates across the UK including with the London Klezmer Quartet and the The Nest Collective.

Producer – Abby Butcher is a freelance producer collaborating with various artists in the independent theatre sector including Rachel Mars, Mars.tarrab, Emma Frankland and Clerke and Joy, as well as working with Pink Fringe.

Additional information

Our Carnal Hearts is a part of Ovalhouse' FiRST BiTES series of new performance pieces, currently in development and presented as work-in-progress showings.

Developed through residencies at Cove Park and Playwrights’ Workshop Montreal.

Click an image to view a larger version.

We thought you may like…

Learning How To Die by Luca Rutherford

Wed 20 May – Sat 23 May, 8:45pm

This is a show about death. Don’t let that put you off. It’s not about grief. Or pity. Or being sad. Learning How to Die might just change the way you live.

Story #1 by Greg Wohead and Rachel Mars

Thu 30 Apr – Fri 1 May, 8:30pm

Into The Woods. Breaking Bad. Nurse Jackie. Friday Night Lights. The Killing. Dickens. Sorkin. Adnan.

In this experiment in performance binge watching Greg and Rachel invite you to fantasise about the perfect story.

O NO! by Jamie Wood

Weds 20 - Sat 23 May 7.30pm, Sun 24 May 5pm

Jamie Wood returns to Ovalhouse with a fully fledged version of his new show O NO!: a wonky homage to the woman damned for destroying the Beatles.

Click here to read our new interview with Jamie!