When the Light Leaves

Citizen Theatre
Rory Godbold
Directed By:
Jayde Kirchert
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A critically acclaimed new Australian play that explores the complex reality of terminal illness


When The Light Leaves is a play about Voluntary Assisted Dying (VAD) and end of life choices. It follows the memories and last moments of Dan’s life as he battles terminal brain cancer. The play is written by emerging Australian playwright Rory Godbold, inspired by real events and endorsed by Andrew Denton, advocate for VAD.

Dan’s dreaming of dead ducks and cartoon skeletons. He’s also dying. Terminal brain cancer has forced Dan to decide how he wants the end of his life to look. Despite his supportive partner, well-intentioned sister and nurse who comforts by-the book – no one can give him what he needs. It’s time Dan chooses how he goes. With access to assisted dying now legal in Victoria, everyone has an opinion about how you live and die. When The Light Leaves explores how people navigate the reality of death and reconcile their grief, leaving audiences to decide for themselves how they would want to go.

Following the success of a sold out 2018 La Mama season and a Midsumma season at Gasworks in early 2019, Citizen Theatre is remounting this important, critically acclaimed and highly relevant production, to bring it to regional audiences.

Short Review


Technical Information

Technical Rating:
Touring Party:
Bump-in Time:
Bump-out Time:


• Space needs to be blacked out
• We require a pre-rig to provided plan
• The plan requires 24-36 dimmer patches as available
• The plan requires minimum 30x Fresnels or equivalent
• The plan requires minimum 8x Profiles or equivalent
• Gels LEE 106, 195, 197, 103


In house sound system required for playback


We will bring:
• Stage deck 2m x 2m (0.6m high), positioned in the middle of the stage
• Ramp attached to stage, downstage side 1.2m x 0.7m
• Treads attached to stage, other three sides 0.35m x 1.2m
• Pendant lamp hanging from grid downstage of ramp
• Props hanging from the grid
• LED tubes hanging from the grid
• 2x floodlights underneath the stage deck

No fly, orchestra pit, piano or smoke machine required.

Crew Notes

Only 1 Venue Tech is required for show run to operate sound. Touring Production Manager will call show and operate lights.

Due to the sensitive content presented, we will provide a pre-recorded pre-show announcement which contains a content warning for patrons, as well as a post-show announcement which contains advice on support services

Transport Notes

1 Toyota Hiace for Set Transport
1 Standard Car for Cast

Audience & Marketing Notes

Women 35-65: these are typical theatre ticket buyers and often carers for eldery relatives who are most likely to be accessing or impacted by the VAD laws and debate.

Queer male audience 25-45: there is a queer love story in the play, encouraging younger people to consider their role in the debate, which is often absent as many think of VAD as an ‘older persons’ issue. Death however will impact everyone at some point, and the discussions around same-sex marriage and commitment for the queer couple will resonate with this demographic.

Secondary Drama/English/Politics Students – this show will be submitted to VCAA for inclusion in the VCE Playlist for 2021 and offers numerous opportunities for teacher’s to engage in discussion and further exploration of key themes including community debate about VAD, relationships and same-sex marriage, government legislation and its impact on life and choices, and the use of theatre to explore difficult issues.

Whilst the above audiences are our primary target audiences, our recent regional season in Wonthaggi attracted a highly diverse and strong representation of both males and females from the ages of 18-60.

Selling Points

  • Relatability: When The Light Leaves is a relevant and poignant play that deals with something that every human being will have to experience: death. The question of how you would want to die is central to the play and resonates with audiences deeply.
  • Innovation: the play has a contemporary, elegant and innovative design, that is inspired by the illness the central character experiences, which impacts on his ability to remember. The character has a type of brain cancer that means his memory gradually fades - the design and the non-chronological sequence of events cleverly depict this.
  • Critically acclaimed: Melbourne theatre critics were moved, touched and applauded the play in its premiere season.
  • Relevant: Victoria recently became the first state in Australia to legalise VAD. However, as its services have rolled out, there are still issues and complications as people navigate its complexities in their personal and professional lives. This play is important to help people understand what the debate is about and why it is an important thing to keep discussing. The play does not preach, rather it lets audiences make up their own minds about how they would want to go.

Community Engagement

  • Presenters who program When The Light Leaves for schools will be provided with relevant resources such as a Teachers Kit and study materials.
  • Workshops and post show Q&A discussions can also be arranged for any/all performances.

Content Warning

This play contains themes around voluntary assisted dying, death, suicide and portrays end of life scenarios based on real events.





Venue Format

Proscenium Arch, Black Box


75 Minutes

Available Until


Budget & Fees

What are these? Find out more.

Remount: $9876

Weekly Sell Off: $8838

Per Performance: $0

Apra Obligations:

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