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Dead Poets Live: Sylvia Plath

(This is a past event and is no longer running)


Two-time Olivier Award winner Denise Gough returns to the Coronet with Dead Poets Live to explore the life of Sylvia Plath, where the production premiered in 2018.

Sylvia Plath was born in Boston in 1932 and died in London in 1963, aged 30. In her brief career she produced some of the greatest and most exhilarating poetry of the 20th century. The best-known of her poems – among them ‘Lady Lazarus’, ‘Daddy’, ‘The Applicant’, ‘Tulips’ – arrived in the extraordinary torrent of creativity unleashed in her final months, posthumously collected in Ariel.

Dead Poets Live retrace the exhilarating, breath-taking, nail-biting ascent Plath made, by various poetic turns, to the unique and definitive voice of those final poems.

A stellar performance’ – Times Literary Supplement

Dead Poets Live have established a cult following at The Coronet Theatre for their dramatised readings of classic poetry, attracting some of Britain’s finest actors including Charlotte Rampling, Miranda Richardson and Tom Hiddleston. All proceeds from their evenings go to the charity Safe Passage. Dead Poets Live is devised and supported by The TS Eliot Foundation.



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Denise Gough

Denise Gough astonished audiences and critics in London and New York with her performance in People, Places & Things, for which she was awarded the Olivier Award for Best Actress in 2016 and the Obie Award in 2018. She returned to the National Theatre in 2017, and won the Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress in the revival of Angels in America. Recent TV work includes Under the Banner of Heaven, Too Close, opposite Emily Watson, the title role in Conor McPherson’s mini-series, Paula, and the role of Dedra Meero in the acclaimed Star Wars series Andor. Recent films include Colette, Monday and Steel Country.


Dead Poets Live donate all the proceeds from our shows to Safe Passage, a charity which helps unaccompanied child refugees and vulnerable adults in Europe find safe, legal routes to the UK. Safe Passage’s legal team works with families living in the UK who are trying to reunite with relatives that are asylum seekers in Europe and on dangerous journeys. The aim is for refugees to avoid falling into the hands of smugglers or risk life-threatening routes to Britain.

Only half a per cent (0.54%) of the UK’s total population is made up of asylum seekers and refugees, and when accounting for population size, the UK ranks 19th overall in Europe for asylum applications received. Those that do come to the UK do so for various reasons – many make the journey to reach family and friends, because of cultural ties, or through no choice of their own, because of the actions of traffickers. Most of the Ukrainians we have supported at Safe Passage wanted to come to the UK because they saw Britain as a welcoming country that respected human rights. However, the vast majority of even the small number who attempt to reach the UK end up in Calais and Dunkirk with no access to safe routes. Between 2010 and 2020, only 6% of unaccompanied children who received asylum in the UK arrived via a safe route. Since the Government closed the two major safe routes for unaccompanied children, 83% fewer refugees have arrived via a safe route in the 12 months to June 2023 compared to the previous year.

Two years since Kabul fell to the Taliban, and the Government is still failing to honour its commitments to help Afghans reach safety. Through our legal work, we have observed first-hand that the current schemes are too slow and too restrictive. Many at-risk Afghans have no way to reach safety in the UK, and families who were separated in the evacuation still have no way to reunite with their children and loved ones. Without functioning safe routes, more and more eligible Afghans have been left with no choice but to risk dangerous journeys to reach safety in the UK. To the end of August this year 4,080 Afghans crossed the Channel, compared to just 69 Afghans crossing the Channel in the whole of 2019. Currently, around 1 in 5 of all people crossing the Channel are from Afghanistan. To urgently prevent further loss of life and to honour these commitments, the Government must act now to provide safe routes and offer welcome and compassion to Afghans in need of safety.

We’re the only organisation working with children at risk on the ground in both the country they find themselves in and the country they wish to reach. This, combined with our high quality casework, is unique and has proven particularly effective at cracking open legal routes.

Our field teams help identify and support child refugees who are eligible for transfer and ensure this happens quickly and safely. Where there are unexpected delays we reassure the child and make sure they remain out of the hands of smugglers.

Our team attend the arrivals of child refugees we’ve helped reunite with family, to make sure they have a welcoming face when they arrive in their new home and restart their life in the UK. We also have a volunteer Community Mentoring programme that helps refugees settle by helping them register with a GP, sign up for school or other specialist organisations that may assist them with specific problems.