Rat Rose Bird is a meditation on farewells, departures, long journeys and “the hunt” - for a better life, a better love, a place to drop anchor or a space to claim as one's own. Thematically the work explores Sheila's personal relationship to empire, colonialism, travel and love and more broadly tries to uncover the links that might exist between “the heritage of the human past and the life of a personal psyche”.

The work has just been shown as part of Chelsea Theatre London's Sacred Spring/Summer Season 2013 and Word of Warning's Spring/Summer Collection. It premièred at Fierce Festival in March 2011. It is a BAC Scratch Commission and was made using public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England. In addition to its première the work was shown as a Scratch performance as part of BAC's Reasons For Living Burst festival in May 2009, and as an informal text reading as part of Fierce Festival's 2nd Interrobang (Relationships) in September 2010.  

What happens in the work?

Sheila inhabits the piece as a kind of hostess or magician, and delivers repetitive poetic text whilst manipulating objects/liquids, dead rats and flowers in front of the audience.  The story she is trying to untangle explores her personal relationship to Empire, colonialism and love.  The piece also includes live-feed video and sound, with lighting design by Martin Langthorne and original sound by Bob Karper.

Links to a selection of reviews:

The F Word


This is Tomorrow

Photography by Adam Levy and Briony Campbell

Lyrical, lovely, lilting, lifting, lingering, loving.
— Audience member at Chelsea Theatre's Sacred
Sheila’s investigation of her mixed heritage has a powerful effect on audiences who have a similar experience. Sheila’s collaboration with Marty Langthorne on this project developed her brilliant use of objects and imagery into a compelling theatrical language.
— Laura McDermott, Joint Artistic Director Fierce Festival