Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep

Treat yourself to a night in the theatre that showcases the best of the art of acting.” ★★★★ (London Living Large)
“It was refreshing to see older characters portrayed in a multi-faceted way that explores existentialism and humanity rather than stereotyping and defining them by their age” ★★★★ North West End
 “Thanks to the smart and skilful direction from Mike Alfreds, insomnia feels real and present in the room with us.” Everything Theatre 

“An unusual, beautifully crafted piece of theatre. Exquisitely done and the performances make it absolutely worth seeing” . Fairy Powered Productions

“The storytelling is undeniably compelling, and the performances are top notch.”Fairy Powered Productions
“It is so refreshing to see mature actors taking ‘centre stage’. Each life is drawn out with such feeling and heart that you  develop a strong empathy with them. Theatre News

“The cast are a  delight to listen to and are highly convincing as their respective characters….a great example of storytelling” London Theatre News

Five insomniacs try to make it through the night. From dusk to dawn, they struggle with a crisis in their lives which they must resolve by morning.  Increasingly conscious of their shortening futures and lengthening pasts, they fill their nights with distracting activities, desperate sleep techniques, evaluations of their lives, delusions, fears, panics and utter foolishness as they prepare to face the day.

Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep has been developed over a two-year period through a series of workshop in which all the material for the play was created by the actors. The play was devised and  written  by the Company  for ViSiBLE Theatre Ensemble and follows the successful runs of  two previous  ViSiBLE shows at Southwark Playhouse, Who Do We Think We Are? and Roundelay, once again offering audiences insights into the experience of later life.

Click here to learn more about Linden and Alfreds on the about page. 

A new play devised by Mike Alfreds and Sonja Linden with The Company


percent more people over 60 suffer from long term sleep problems than those in their twenties.
(Great British Sleep Survey 2012)


We’ve got Pre & Post Show Events at Southwark Playhouse running alongside Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep…

Saturday 30th April after the 3.30pm performance

Why can’t we sleep when we get older? Eminent sleep researcher Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, University of Surrey in conversation with ViSiBLE’s Artistic Director Sonja Linden, followed by a Q&A.

Monday 2nd May before the 8pm performance

A talk with Mike Alfreds, director of Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep

Saturday 7th May after the 3.30pm performance

Can insomnia yield insights as well as torments? Writer Marina Benjamin will share her wide-ranging and provocative responses to insomnia as explored in her highly acclaimed, literary memoir Insomnia.

Monday 9 May before the 8pm performance

An informal pre-show event with speaker Jean Rogers, former Vice Chair of Equity’s Older Women’s Committee discussing the marginalisation of older women in theatre.

Saturday 14 May after the 3.30pm performance

Join us for a Mike Alfreds platform talk on his legendary approach to acting as well as a book signing event.

Saturday 21st May after the 3.30pm performance

How can we sleep better? Join Alison Gardner psychologist and founder of Sleepstation, Dr Neil Stanley, sleep researcher and Dr Hugh Selsick lead clinician at Insomnia Clinic, London Hospital for integrated medicine. 

Five Characters in Search of a Good Night’s Sleep is kindly supported by the Diorama Arts Centre, Regents Place, Arts Council England, Sleepstation an online sleep improvement programme (available on the NHS and privately) as well as the following sleep experts;

Dr Neil Stanley Author of ‘How to Sleep Well”, Dr Hugh Selsick consultant in sleep medicine and psychiatry, Royal London Hospital for integrated medicine, Professor Dirk Jan Djirk director of the Sleep Research Centre, University of Surrey. 

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