Winner: Pulse Ipswich Suitcase Award 2016
Photos by Alex Brenner
David’s 15. He’s doing OK. His girlfriend has an eating disorder but he’s doing OK.
Combining rich storytelling with physical theatre, Tell Me Anything is tender, raw, brutally honest boy-meets-girl story – about a boy who’s trying to be a man and a girl who doesn’t want to be rescued.
Tell Me Anything was created in collaboration with psychologists specialising in the role of carers of people with eating disorders. It asks how - and if - we can help the ones we love to get better.
"An emotionally complicated piece of theatre that successfully, even rivetingly, tries to come to grips with the toll taken on a self-styled care-giver determined to save someone"
“A chronicle of utter devotion and aching sadness.”
“Teenage bubbly optimism and dark, hard flashes of anger… This is candid work, showing scars in order to elicit emotion.”
“Points about teen psychology and our body-obsessed media are powerfully made, and the fact this is told from a male perspective matters.”
“Knotty, unsettling storytelling theatre that picks at male behaviour and the performance of masculinity”
Writer & Performer: David Ralfe
Director: Christopher Harrisson
Designer: Emma Tompkins
Sound Designer: Jon McLeod
Lighting Designer: Alex Fernandes
Associate Director: Hannah Moss
Stage Manager & Re-Lighter: Lucy Adams
Stage Manager & Re-Lighter (Autumn 2017 tour): Naomi Baldwin
Eating Disorders Expert: Dr. Charlotte Rhind
Additional devising by: Lilly Neubauer
Commissioned by Shoreditch Town Hall and supported by Camden People’s Theatre,
The North Wall, Blue Elephant Theatre and Arts Council, England.
In Autumn 2015, David and Hannah began talking about something that had happened to David when he was a teenager. This conversation turned into On The Run’s next show Tell Me Anything.
Aged fifteen, David had fallen in love with a girl called Kate, who had an eating disorder. This came to define their relationship, as David tried and failed to rescue her from her illness.
We made the show because we believe that mental health conditions have a ripple effect on families and relationships. We found it interesting that David did not have the illness but was profoundly effected by it.
This raised big questions about how we tell our most important stories, when those stories involve someone else. We’re very sensitive about how we portray Kate and we don’t try to tell her story.
We opened Tell Me Anything at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016 and it has toured across the UK, to critical acclaim. It’s been particularly popular with younger audiences.
Thanks to our partners Nonsuch and the charity Children & The Arts, 350 teenagers in Nottingham saw the show in Autumn 2017 as part of the START programme, which gives young people access to the arts and a creative education. (You can read more about this in David's newsletter.)
We’ve also been touched by the emails we received from people who’ve suffered eating disorders, who have praised the show’s authenticity and integrity.