• 1
  • 1 hr 5 min
  • Touring

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A truly honest and inspiring account of parenting. You must see it!' (Audience member)

Sleepless is a genuine and honest female solo show tackling maternal mental health head on.  Focusing on sleep deprivation and emotional stress, Sleepless is a highly physical piece combining physical theatre, aerial silk and spoken word. It is a celebration of parenthood that tackles the dangerous extremes life changing experiences can push us to as we adjust.

Created from diary entries of mother of two, Kim Charnock, and poetic scribblings of Co-Director Lorna Meehan, who struggled with insomnia during a time of depression and anxiety, Sleepless leads you through breastfeeding, teething, first night's out and the incessant isolating incubation of being stuck at home. Sleepless finds humour in the chaos of the exerting intricacies of parenthood. This emotionally charged, disjointed narrative reminds us how fragile we are, how strong we can be, and how unconditional love makes all the struggles worthwhile. 

'It's enough to make me smile, stay awake, and thank God I am having this moment with you.'



The show travels with its own rig to host an aerial silk, which in turn becomes both restriction and liberation during the show. The stage is a mess, just like the family home. There is an every reaching pile of laundry that spans floor to ceiling, toys for all imaginable circumstances, bottles and formula, some basic furniture and even a toilet. The piece is played out in vertical space as well as horizontal, taking the theatre into the air to explore escape and solitude. We prefer to perform in intimate spaces with an audience who have close proximity to the work. The feeling of getting close to aerial work is both breathtaking and emotional for an audience, combined with the exhausted female they are confronted with. The piece delves into the difficult issues of post natal depression and mental health, whilst relishing the beautiful moments of parenthood and laughing at the ridiculous moments that come with being a parent. 



When my first son was born, I thought I was prepared, as I’m sure every first time parent thinks they are, but I had no idea how having children would change my life in every imaginable way. I was breastfeeding and also dealing with a child with a tongue tie, so some nights I saw the sun go down and then I saw it come back up the next morning without having had a wink of sleep in between. All the while, being jealous that my partner was sleeping peacefully. 

I was tearful, hormonal, stressed, completely sleep deprived and at breaking point emotionally. I don’t know if what I experienced was post-natal depression, but I certainly felt guilty for not being a ‘good mother’ and not feeling happy all of the time. This was entirely based on my severe lack of sleep. 

The co-director of the show, Lorna Meehan, had suffered sleep deprivation when dealing with the loss of her sister. Her sister passed away suddenly and Lorna went through a period of psychosis and reactive depression. She suffered with sleep deprivation for a year whilst struggling to recover. Her sleep deprivation was dealt with by friends, family and medical staff very differently to my own. She was offered medication, she was provided with counselling and she was surrounded by huge time and support from her loved ones. 

My own sleep deprivation was not taken very seriously by anybody. I was told that it’s just all part and parcel of becoming a parent, so basically, suck it up and get on with it. I was definitely calling for help and found that nobody was answering. I wasn’t offered postpartum support, I wasn’t offered any counselling or medial help, and although I have loving friends and family and those people bought lots of lovely gifts for the baby, nobody offered me the gift of time. 

During my sleepless nights, I kept a diary. A sort of series of poetic scribblings, just as Lorna did during her time of sleep deprivation. The show came from those very personal writings. I feel very strongly that this should be talked about more. Post natal depression is not spoken about, women get frightened to say anything in case it gets taken the wrong way and nobody tells you how hard it will be until it happens. For all these reasons, we wrote this show. But it isn’t just about all the difficult stuff. It counterbalances that with the beauty of having children and the amazing life experiences that that brings. 



Before having children I identified as a different person. I was an aerialist, theatre maker, dancer. I defined myself by what I did, what I had learnt and this shaped who I understood myself to be. But, since having two children, I define myself differently. My work describes me in a secondary way. Above everything else now, I am a Mother, care giver and partner, even though pregnancy, parenthood and the guilt and responsiblity that comes with it is by far the hardest journey I have undertaken. Lorna, the Co-Creator, was the same. Lorna does not have children, but she experienced serious sleep deprivation and mental health issues following the very sudden death of her sister and best friend a few years ago. She went through a long period of reactive depression and her journey of mental health is a long lasting one. The most difficult experiences in life we face and overcome are often the ones that help to define us. Help us to understand who we are. They don't change our identity, they expand it, reshape it, blow it up like a balloon, being both strong and fragile in the same moment. Our creative work always seeks to address the difficult times that shape us into who we are, creating discussion and giving meaning to the unexplainable. 


The show had a preview last year and then went back into rehearsal again. The plan was to tour the work then. However, I found out in September 2019 that I was pregnant again. We were re-working the show so that it was ready for performance at Edinburgh Fringe this year, after my 2nd was born, but as we know the Fringe has been cancelled. 

We are currently working with refugee and asylum seeker groups to add to the narrative and deliver the show and some of its written content to those communities online during this time of crisis. This work is very relevant to those groups and we would be happy to work with you to engage organisations that work them.


This show is for families with older children (14+), parents, carers, single mums, refugee and asylum seeker groups, community groups that work with mums and parents, teenage and young women. Single mums, new parents, parents of multiple children, expectant parents and those thinking of having children. It is also for college and university groups (16-25 in particular), who might have a lot on their plate, be struggling with anxiety or depression that revolves around sleep deprivation, or be part of families that have new young additions to them. 


The show is available for 1-3 nights, with the following costs:

£800 for first night

£500 every night thereafter


The show is for small-medium scale venues, with a capacity of 100-200. 


Kim Charnock: [email protected]              DIRECT TEL: (+44) 07816414895


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