Dante or Die: SIDE EFFECTS


Dad's on sleeping pills to get some shut eye and ProPlus to wake up. Grandma's list of meds seems to get longer and longer the older she gets, and Mum's menopausal hot flashes are remedied with herbal concoctions. As their daughter brings a new boyfriend home another contraceptive pill is swallowed... Come into the Dante or Die family home to take a peek at what's in this family's medicine cabinet and the brightly coloured pills everyone's taking to feel just a little bit better.

Using Dante or Die’s distinctive style of humour, subtlety, fluid movement, music and design a cast of dancers aged between 20 and 75 invite you to consider the Side Effects of our relationship with modern medicine. Click here to watch a clip of the production.

Side Effects is a unique collaboration with The School of Pharmacy, investigating social pharmacy questions through intergenerational community workshops, performance and audience responses. The piece was inspired by Pharmacopeia's Cradle to Grave exhibition. The company has formed a team that has rare crossovers between medicine and performance. Pharmaceuitical consultant Dr Laura Obiols is currently training as a dancer at The Place, whilst dramaturg Mark Down (Blind Summit) was a GP before turning his hand to theatre. Betsy Field, the eldest company member, is a dancer with Sadler's Wells Company of Elders. Before beginning a career as a dancer she ran a pharmacy in Woking with her husband -also a pharmacist. Pharmacopeia artists mentored the production's development.

Side Effects

The project was developed during 2009 and 2010 with a performance of a 20 minute piece, entitled Initial Side Effects at The Place as part of Resolution! 2010 and at The Linbury Studio at the Royal Opera House as part of their Firsts Season in November before premiering at Rich Mix and being performed at Lilian Baylis Theatre at Sadler's Wells for the Arts Club, Laban Theatre and The School of Pharmacy.

See the Press page for further press reaction to Side effects and the Locations page for a map of performance locations.

  • Directed by: by Daphna Attias
  • Produced by: Kirsten Burrows & Dante or Die
  • Design: Jenny Hayton
  • Dramaturgy: Mark Down
  • Music Composer & Director: Yaniv Fridel
  • Movement Director: Nicky Ellis
  • Pharmacy Consultants: Professor Ian Bates & Dr Laura Obiols
  • Vocal Coach: Kate Joos
  • Cast: Antigone Avdi, Laure Bachelot, Betsy Field, Terry O'Donovan & Simon Rice
  • Stills Photography: Justin Jones
  • Funded by: a Wellcome Trust Arts Award & Arts Council England.
  • Supported by: The School of Pharmacy, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Central School of Speech and Drama, and Laban Theatre.

“a fascinating and disquieting dissection of our medical histories” The Guardian

“an uplifting, tender experience... set to Yaniv Fridel's moving original score” The Londonist

“a mesmerising insight into the meds we are consuming ...tender...hilarious...” The New Scientist