Declining Solo

We are all ageing. As I write this, and as you read it. Time passes.

A woman returns to visit her childhood home and misses the one thing she values most: the father she remembers.

Declining Solo is about the relationship between a father and daughter, between a person and their culture. It’s about migration and home and what it means to belong in a place. It’s about who we are.

Combining text with choreography, video and specially commissioned music, Declining Solo invites you inside one woman’s memories of the family home where she grew up. Populated by stories of communism, war, merriment and family, she shapes a world from paper and projection as she seeks the father she has lost.

Memories, folklore, political turmoil and family history combine in a celebration of life and our shared stories.

It’s in a place where there’s singing and dancing and eating and drinking and being merry,
of friendships and familial links as the core of communities.
It’s in a place where the summer smells of sun, and the winter smells of burning coal.
I think if I piece it back together somehow
If the vase has been broken and I put back the pieces, it can get better.

Research and development for Declining Solo has been made possible by funding from Arts Council England and Dance4, with support from a range of partners: ARC Stockton, Quarterhouse, SPAM!, Salisbury Arts Centre, and The Point Eastleigh have hosted residencies.


Written, designed, devised, performed and produced by Two Destination Language’s Alister Lownie and Katherina Radeva

Music Tim Blazdell

Lighting Vince Field

Choreographed with Robbie Synge


Dusty hands in Declining Solo
Photo: Alex Brenner

Audience Responses

Radeva is an absorbing performer, whether rattling off a string of old Communist jokes or pausing in the midst of a euphoric dance to flash a wry smile at the audience. Lownie, meanwhile, haunts the space, reciting Radeva’s fragmentary recollections.

—The Stage

A beautiful, brave piece of work steeped in memories and nostalgia. A deft use of paper, coal, projection and roasting peppers to conjure a lost past, a fast-fading culture, and a lost father. A multi-layered show, disarmingly honest in its choices, that doesn’t shy away from sentimentality or simple truths to convey a sense of longing and a craving to belong.

Cheryl Pierce, Director, Quarterhouse

Complex, tender work … Declining Solo uses all the senses to draw us in.

audience member, Folkestone

Impressive architectural structures that reflect the content of the text […] a universally recognisable sense of yearning for home.

—The Stage

Declining Solo was for me a beautiful, bewildering, eviscerating, exhilarating, unique, soulful, healing experience. Visually and poetically, choreographically and musically tender, a fierce feast filled with longing, completely unforgettable

—audience member, Salisbury

Moving, mesmerising, emotional, thought-provoking. What an artistically fascinating use of paper! Lighting, colour and pattern effects just so interesting. Great story telling and dance movement. Thank you.

—audience member, Salisbury


From the rehearsal room

A little about shaping Declining Solo and the Two Destination Language rehearsal process

Alister talks about using paper in the rehearsals for Declining Solo

Performance History


  • The Lowry, Salford Quays, 8th November
  • Salisbury Playhouse, 2nd-4th November
  • Edge Hill Arts, 31 October
  • Derby Theatre, 20th July
  • ARC Stockton, 15th June
  • Jacksons Lane, London, 6-7th June
  • Quarterhouse, Folkestone, 29th April

2016: works-in-progress

  • BE fest, Birmingham
  • Camden Peoples Theatre
  • The Point Eastleigh
  • ARC Stockton
  • Salisbury Arts Centre