Dispatches on the Red Dress

Sat 10 September, 19:30
£15/£13 Concession + booking fee

Award-winning folk musician, songwriter and composer Rowan Rheingans brings her courageous solo show Dispatches on the Red Dress to London.

An intimate and adventurous exploration of memory, identity, joy, sorrow, trauma-recovery, war and waltzes, Dispatches on the Red Dress tells the true story of Rowan’s German grandmother’s youth in 1940’s Germany.

With genre-melding fluidity, Rowan weaves immersive storytelling around 10 new songs (Rowan won ‘Best Original Track’ at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards in 2016 for her song Mackerel) performed live with fiddle, banjo, guitar and subtly inventive use of pre-recorded sounds.


“Vivid songwriting and composing… spectacularly beautiful”

Mark Radcliffe, Radio 2

““Sublime… celebrates family, nature and the ties that bind and goes on to pack a fierce political punch” ⭐⭐⭐⭐”

The Guardian

““Utterly spellbinding… and as the red dress’ true origin unfolds, the revelation will leave you quietly breathless” ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️”

The Scotsman

Rowan Rheingans

A recipient of the prestigious Paul Hamlyn Award for Artists in 2021, Rowan Rheingans is a composer and theatre-maker widely regarded as one of the foremost innovators in UK folk music today. Best known for her work with acclaimed bands Lady Maisery and The Rheingans Sisters, Rowan has won two BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards (‘Best Original Track’ in 2016 & ‘Best Album’ in 2017) and is a six-times nominee.

Her duo The Rheingans Sisters were nominated for ‘Best Group’ at the the 2019 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards. Dispatches on the Red Dress, Rowan’s debut theatre production, won a Scotsman ‘Fringe First’ Award at the 2019 Edinburgh Fringe Festival as well as nominations in two other categories (The Filipa Braganca Award for Best Emerging Female Artist and the Carol Tambor ‘Best of Edinburgh’ Award).

Dispatches on the Red Dress

In the current time of deeply felt political tensions and nationalistic fervour gaining pace across Europe, Dispatches on the Red Dress is a highly resonant and much needed historic provocation for our current political and social climate. Slowly revealing what is at once a warm family story and a troubling elegy on the modern human condition, Rowan explores how hope for the future may be found in the very darkest pockets of our history. It is Rowan’s most courageous, most political and most personal work to date.

Directed, produced and performed by herself, Rowan describes what show means to her personally:

“Hidden in the folds of my own grandmother’s story, there is a profound darkness alongside a deeply hopeful message about humanity’s capacity for transformation. It feels important, in our current social and political climate of half-truths and fake news, that sometimes feels akin to a dangerous forgetting or mis-remembering of history, to share my family’s story. It is about the peace-making potential of stories…”

Already celebrated by music critics as “an excellent songwriter with a fine grasp of the delicate balance of joy and pain that makes us human” (Folk Radio UK), Dispatches on the Red Dress takes Rowan’s songwriting and gift as a mesmerising performer to another level. This is adventurous and necessary new writing that asks fundamental and troubling questions with her characteristically ‘deep emotional charge’ (Louder Than War).

Developed in collaboration with dramaturg Liam Hurley (Karine Polwart’s Wind Resistance) the live show brings the intimacy of a concert to meet the ancient traditions of storytelling and textures of contemporary theatre in a troubling, tender and powerful performance. Rowan’s debut solo album, The Lines We Draw Together, is a companion to the live show and was released in August 2019, fast garnering critical acclaim from the folk and world music press.

Date: 10th September 2022

Start Time: 19:30

Doors: 18:30

Length: TBC

Tickets: £15/£13 Concession (NUS/Unemployed/Low Income)

Venue: Grand Junction is a venue for the community, arts and culture based at St Mary Magdalene Church. Our mission is to create and present an eclectic, collaborative programme of music, arts and performance for young people, families and adults. We also have a café serving delicious food overlooking the canal.

Covid-19 Policy 

As of 24 February the government removed all remaining Covid-19 restrictions.

At Grand Junction we will continue to do a number of things to keep our staff and audiences as safe as possible.

While you are no longer legally required to self-isolate if you test positive for COVID-19, it is still advised that you stay at home to avoid contact with other people. Please bear this in mind before travelling to an event at Grand Junction if you have tested positive for COVID-19.

We welcome audience members and staff wearing face coverings if they wish to do so.

Hand sanitiser stations are positioned around the building.

Careful consideration of entry and exit points to avoid crowding. We will check your ticket at the entrance to the venue to avoid queuing and crowds forming indoors.

Regular cleaning and regular ventilation of the space, to ensure a flow of clean air.

Click here to view Grand Junction’s full Covid-safety information. Please feel free to contact us at info@grandjunction.org.uk if you have any further questions.