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what happened to agnes

a staged song-cycle with immersive visual projections for actor/singer + pianist

What Happened to Agnes brings to life the vivid imagination of singer and story-teller Nishla Smith, as she spins her grandmother’s Malaysian childhood memories into a magic-realist realm of talking tigers, hidden dangers and infinite staircases. Set against the vibrant backdrop of Luca Shaw's hand-painted projections and stunning piano scene-painting from Tom Harris, Nishla's haunting songs bewitch and enchant, drawing the listeners ever deeper into a dark world of lost memories.

"When my grandmother’s sister Agnes was nine years old, she disappeared…”


“Simply Sublime"

Reviews Hub


“Intriguing and spellbinding theatrical story-telling"

Theatre Reviews North


“An unfolding mystery."

Quays Life

"A mellow, melancholic reflection on the fragility of memory and the enduring power of childhood."

British Theatre Guide

"She draws you into this world of hers, reflective and contemplative ... and full of wonderment."
The Grouchy Critic

"Heartfelt, and powered by a passion for story-telling"
Circles and Stalls

What Happened to Agnes was developed by Opera North Projects, with support from the PRSF Talent Development Programme. With thanks to Leeds Playhouse and HOME Mcr. Toured using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.

‘What Happened to Agnes’ will run at C-venues for Edinburgh Fringe in August 2023.

Photo Credits:

Matthew Walker for the Standout Company at HOME Mcr

Robin Zahler at Lancaster Jazz Festival

Video Footage:

Black Dots Video

Opera North

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