White Rabbit, Red Rabbit


Will you participate? Will you be manipulated? Will you listen? Will you really listen?

By Nassim Soleimanpour
Performed by Amanda Sum

With no rehearsals, no director, a different actor each night, and a script waiting in a sealed envelope on stage, internationally acclaimed
White Rabbit Red Rabbit, by Iranian writer Nassim Soleimanpour, is an audacious theatrical experiment and a potent reminder of the transgressive and transformative power of theatre. 

Forbidden to leave his native Iran, Soleimanpour wrote a play which travelled the world in his place. The audience joins each different performer on a journey into the unknown; stumbling upon the personal and profound, the limits of liberty and ultimately where theatre can take you. 

Since its joint premiere in 2011, the play has been translated into over 25 different languages and has been performed over 1000 times by some of the biggest names in theatre and film, including actors Whoopi Goldberg, Nathan Lane, John Hurt, Simon McBurney, Stephen Fry, Sinead Cusack, Marcus Brigstocke, and Ken Loach.

Reflecting on a year without in-person live theatre with a special global presentation of a play which is living proof that creativity can overcome adversity.

Friday March 13, 2020 was the day most theatres in the world had to shut down due to COVID. Initially it was thought that the closure would last just one month, or maybe two, or until July at the very latest. It soon became clear that most venues had to remain dark for much longer. The longest theatre shutdown in modern history.

Aurora Nova (the internationally acclaimed company that brought us 2013’s White Rabbit Red Rabbit and 2019’s Nassim) wanted to mark the anniversary of that day by creating an extraordinary global event that celebrates live theatre and the resilience of our artists and community. An event that will hopefully inspire in this time of uncertainty and isolation—bringing audiences together from all around the world.

Thanks to the generosity of our Cultch Subscribers and Donors we are able to offer this special presentation for FREE. 

You must book your free ticket here in advance of the performance in order to get access to the watch link.

MAR 13: 7:30PM PST

This show is approximately 50-90 minutes

Written by Nassim Soleimanpour
Produced by Aurora Nova
Performed by Amanda Sum

White Rabbit, Red Rabbit was originally produced by Volcano Theatre in association with Necessary Angel and Wolfgang Hoffmann.

Dramaturgy by Daniel Brooks and Ross Manson


NASSIM SOLEIMANPOUR is an independent multidisciplinary theatre maker from Tehran, Iran. His plays have been translated into 20 languages. Best known for his play White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, written to travel the world when he couldn’t, his work has been awarded the Dublin Fringe Festival Best New Performance, Summerworks Outstanding New Performance Text Award, and The Arches Brick Award (Edinburgh Fringe)—as well as picking up nominations for a Total Theatre and Brighton Fringe Pick of Edinburgh Award.

By the time Nassim was permitted to travel for the first time in early 2013, his play White Rabbit, Red Rabbit had been performed over 1000 times in 20 languages. Since then Nassim has facilitated workshops and panels in different countries including World Theatre Festival (Brisbane), Tolhuistuin (Amsterdam), SESC Vila Mariana (Sao Paulo), Schauspielhaus (Vienna), DPAC (Kuala Lampur), Theatertreffen (Berlin), British Council (London), Asia House (London), and University of Bremen (Germany).

Nassim’s second play Blind Hamlet for the London based Actors Touring Company premiered at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has since toured extensively around the UK and was received well in Bucharest and Copenhagen. His third play BLANK premiered in November 2015 at Dancing on the Edge Festival in Amsterdam and Utrecht followed by performances at Radar Festival in London.
2017 saw the premiere of Nassim’s latest play, the eponymously titled NASSIM which features the playwright himself on stage. Co-produced by the Bush Theatre in London, the play premiered at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to great acclaim, winning the prestigious Scotsman Fringe First Award. Nassim now lives in Berlin with his wife Shirin and dog Echo, and tours the world with NASSIM while working on new material for the stage.

Amanda Sum photo by Savannah Wheaton MUA Miel Enage

AMANDA SUM is a performer and creator dancing between theatre and music. She holds a BFA from Simon Fraser University. Recent credits include: do you want what i have got? a craigslist cantata (The Cultch), East Van Panto: Pinocchio and Panto Come Home! (Theatre Replacement), Double Happiness: Detour This Way (Nancy Tam & Robyn Jacob/Music on Main/Neworld/plastic orchid), Chicken Girl (rice&beans), and The Wolves (With A Spoon/Rumble/Pacific). Amanda’s debut indie-pop singles, Groupthink and Mary Shelley were released in the fall of 2020. Amanda aims to champion other under represented artists through her work. Amanda’s pop-up book concert, New Age Attitudes: Live in Concert was recently presented at Theatre Replacement’s PushOFF Festival. Amanda sends thanks to her family and friends, and looks forward to the day where lobby mingling can exist again. Antics and updates can be found on Instagram @amanduhsum, or her website

Recommended for audiences 12+

This show makes reference to suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE), or call your local crisis centre.

Note: This play is NOT overtly political, and should not be portrayed as such. It operates on a deeper, metaphoric level, and very expressly avoids overt political comment. All media and press agents have to keep in mind that the playwright is an Iranian native. We therefore ask the press to be judicious in their reportage.

This show makes reference to suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call 1-800-784-2433 (1-800-SUICIDE), or call your local crisis centre.

Join us after the show on Gather.Town—where you can hangout with other audience members in our digital re-creation of The Cultch (created by The Cultch’s Digital Storytelling Team). 

Unlike a Zoom hangout, Gather.Town lets you choose who you want to talk with at any moment, join spontaneous smaller group conversations as you approach new people, and freely explore at your own pace—if you look hard enough, you’ll even see the original ads that inspired the show—it’s like being in The Cultch lobby, just online! 

How it works (it’s easy and fun, we promise!)

  1. Gather.Town only works on Chrome and Firefox 

  2. No account or email needed, you just need to type in your name

  3. Be sure to allow access to your webcam and microphone so people can see and hear you

  4. Please wear headphones, it makes the sound better for everyone.

  5. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move around and explore 

  6. You can talk to anyone who is near you on the map, so be sure to approach new people

  7. Press X to interact with any glowing objects

  8. Press G (become a ghost!) to pass through people if you’re stuck

  9. And most importantly, press Z to dance and celebrate

“A stunning piece of theatre, thought-provoking and morally unsettling.”

– Fringereview

“Nassim Soleimanpour is a fiercely – even frighteningly—original voice, and a thrillingly adept craftsman… Go see!”

– the skinny

“Wildly unpredictable and completely unforgettable...a testament to the power of words to transcend cultures and borders. You have to be there.”

– new zealand herald