The Language Of Kindness

UK premiere, 20-22 May 2021, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry

As the world slowly begins to reopen, Coventry welcomes a new stage adaptation of Christie Watson’s bestselling memoir, The Language Of Kindness.

Premiering at Warwick Arts Centre, prior to a UK tour, the show runs from Thursday 20 May to Saturday 22 May 2021 – with tickets for ‘COVID safe’ groupings on sale now.

Based on Christie’s bestselling memoir recalling her 20 years as a nurse, The Language of Kindness is an ensemble-style piece of dance theatre: a joy-filled celebration of nurses and front-line healthcare workers.

A socially distanced production about the tactile work of nurses, where the company never touch, the production brings to life the realities, the challenges, heartbreaks and incomparable joys of working for the NHS and supporting families as they face their best and worst moments.

Produced by Wayward Productions (Grief Is the Thing With Feathers), The Language Of Kindness has been adapted and directed by Sasha Milavic Davies (Movement Direction: The Antipodes, NT; Berberian Sound Studio, Donmar Warehouse) and James Yeatman (There Is A Light that Never Goes Out: Scenes From the Luddite Rebellion, Royal Exchange Theatre; Dinomania, New Diorama Theatre).

Originally scheduled to visit Coventry last year, the production has taken on a new emotional power following the catastrophic arrival of the global COVID-19 pandemic – thrusting the importance of the health profession into the spotlight like never before.

Author Christie Watson comments: “Nurses give their soul to help sick people every day: working 14-hour days without eating or drinking because there is no time – not even to use the toilet. Nurses are using foodbanks. Nurses are homeless. Nurses now have the highest occupational suicide rate. Nurses do not have time to give the kindness, care and compassion that people so desperately need, but they find it anyhow. Compassion is the only thing that can save us – remind us who we are, or at least who we are meant to be. We will all be nursed at some stage in our lives. Every single one of us. We need our nurses.”

Co-creator Sasha Milavic Davies adds: “We are making work in a new world, which we are still trying to define and understand – which is what art is for. So, while I’m nervous and excited at the same time, I know there is no better time to be making live work for an audience than now.”

The Language Of Kindness runs from Thursday 20 to Saturday 22 May 2021, at Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL – with socially distanced performances in line with government guidance on social contact. Tickets £20 (£15)/ £5 (NHS).

For more information and to book, see:

Wayward Productions adaption of Christie’s memoir has been nearly three years in the making. The COVID-safe/ socially distanced show premieres at Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, 20-22 May 2021.


Thursday 20 to Saturday 22 May 2021
Wayward Productions:
The Language of Kindness
A new work for a new performance world.
Based on Christie Watson’s bestselling memoir recalling her 20 years as a nurse, The Language of Kindness is a socially distanced ensemble-style piece of dance theatre: a joy- filled celebration of nurses and front-line healthcare workers.
Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL.
Times: Thu to Sat 7.30pm; Sat 2.30pm.
Tickets: £20 (£15 conc)/ £5 (NHS).
Box Office: 024 7652 4524

British Sign Language (BSL) interpreted performance: Saturday 22 May 2021, 2.30pm.


Wednesday 19 May 2021 (7.30pm), free
The Language Of Kindness: Open Rehearsal
A chance to see a working dress rehearsal of the production before the UK premiere.
Admission free to NHS staff, frontline healthcare workers, university and secondary school students.
Tickets by prior application-only. Email requests to: Please include your full name, phone number, and number of tickets required.

Thursday 20 May 2021
The Language Of Kindness: Post Show Talk
Costa Award-winning writer Christie Watson chats to author and doctor Sam Guglani (Medicine Unboxed) about her days as a nurse, the NHS, and her literary career.

COVID Secure: Warwick Arts Centre have adopted a number of COVID-19 safety measures to ensure that visits are as safe as possible. These include cashless payments, and socially distanced grouped seating. For full details, see:



Christie Watson was a registered paediatric nurse for twenty years. She spent most of her career in paediatric intensive care in large NHS hospitals before becoming a resuscitation officer, which involved teaching and clinical work on hospital-wide crash teams.

Her first novel, Tiny Sunbirds, Far Away, won the Costa First Novel Award and her second novel, Where Women Are Kings, was also published to international critical acclaim.

Her memoir, The Language Of Kindness, was published in 2018, and was a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week and Guardian, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Times Book of the Year. It has sold over 250,000 copies and been translated into 23 languages.

In The Courage To Care (hardback out now; paperback published 10 June 2021), the writer reveals the remarkable extent of nurses’ work.

Christie was recently awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters, honoris causa for her contribution to nursing and the arts by the University of East Anglia. She is patron of the Royal College of Nursing Foundation.


The Language of Kindness features sound design by Gareth Fry (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child; The Encounter, Complicité) and set and costume by Zoë Hurwitz (Living Newspaper, Royal Court Theatre; We Anchor in Hope, Bunker Theatre).

Lighting design is by Jess Bernberg (Overflow, Bush Theatre; [BLANK], Donmar Theatre) with video design by Hayley Egan (Dead Man Walking, Welsh National Opera; I’ll Take You to Mrs Cole, Complicité and Polka Theatre).

The ensemble cast includes Tina Chiang (Rocks; Chimerica), Etta Fusi (Cannibals, Royal Exchange Theatre; Carnival of Souls, HOME MCR), Tamzin Griffin (Dad’s Army; The ABC Murders), Keziah Joseph (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, Bridge Theatre; Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear, National Theatre), Clive Mendus (Lionboy, Complicité; Othello, RSC) and Harriet Webb (It’s True, It’s True, It’s True; I May Destroy You).

The Language of Kindness’s original run in 2020 was cancelled when COVID-19 hit. Wayward Productions channelled the energy and the spirit of the piece into commemorating the historic moment by conducting interviews with frontline health workers, recording testimony throughout COVID-19. This was initially developed into the BBC Culture in Quarantine Radio 3 commission Shifts. Wayward will continue to expand the audio library.

The Language of Kindness is presented by Wayward Productions in a co-production with Assembly Hall Theatre Tunbridge Wells, Complicité and Warwick Arts Centre in association with Shoreditch Town Hall and Guy Chapman.


For media enquiries relating to the Coventry performance-only – including interview requests, review tickets and media assets – please contact us using the form (below).

All PR requests relating to the Tunbridge Wells and Shoreditch performances should be directed to: