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Charlotte – A Tri-Coloured Play with Music

An original music theatre piece. Full production for 2017 to mark 100 years of the birth of Charlotte Salomon


Libretto: Alon Nashman

Composer: Aleš Březina

Metteur-en-Scéne/Scenographer: Pamela Howard


With a company of 7 actor/singers, and 4 musicians drawn from music theatre, opera and indie music including Peter Tiefenbach Music Director


Playing time:1hr 30minutes no interval

Scenes for 2017 production

Charlotte – A Tri-Coloured Play with Music

Click on the arrows to move between scenes

The Miracle of Charlotte Salomon


Life? Or Theatre? is the name that Berlin born Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon gave to a sequence of nearly 800 gouaches accompanied by text and musical references that she produced between 1940 and 1942. Before her deportation to Auschwitz at age 26, she handed the work to a local physician, with the message: “Take good care of this… it is my whole life.“ Miraculously, her extraordinary magnum opus survived.


Charlotte was a playwright without a stage, a graphic novelist before such a thing existed, a young woman struggling to claim her voice and affirm her existence. Through painting, text and music, she chronicled the inner life of a young woman coming of age during the rise of Nazism and under the shadow of family tragedies.


Life? Or Theatre?… With its themes of art, love, feminism, identity, and history … powerfully resonates today. It has been adapted for the stage and screen, transformed into opera, ballet, artwork, puppetry and literature. However, it has yet to be fully realized as a “singspiel,” the performance style Charlotte envisioned.


Charlotte: A Tri-Coloured Play with Music is a multi-national collaboration with a core creative team from Canada, UK, and Czech Republic, plus seven actor-singers and three musician-performers. The essential quality of our “singspiel” is the total synchronicity of word, image, and music. We propose an art installation, inspired by Charlotte and inhabited by performers. It is conceived as a through music/theatre piece, each moment flowing into the next without any breaks, much like the waves of the sea in the final images of Charlotte’s Life? Or Theatre?


Award-winning Canadian librettist Alon Nashman conveys the absurdity, stumbling adolescence, and precocious romance that shaped Salomon’s early life, alongside the feverish creativity of her years in exile. Acclaimed Czech composer Aleš Březina is composing an original score essential to the soul-baring narrative. Scenographer/metteur en scéne Pamela Howard, author of the seminal book “What is Scenography”, literally draws theatre in a manner similar to Charlotte herself, painting the stage with colour and light such that the audience will experience Charlotte’s paintings being formed before their eyes.

Creating a 3D world

The interpretation of the three dimensional world of Charlotte Salomon is being manufactured by Domus/Idea in Vilnius, Lithuania, using a combination of laser technology in thin Baltic Ply and cardboard in a flat pack system, with hand painting by Pamela Howard.










Photography shows

a prototype 1/4 size

armchair created

from the maquette.

Charlotte - A Tri-Coloured Play with Music

Touring through
2017 & 2018


Confirmed dates

more to follow


June 1, 2017

Isabel Bader Centre, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Concert version


June 16-18, 2017

Luminato Festival

The Theatre Centre,

Toronto, Canada


June 30-July 2, 2017

World Stage Design Scenofest, Taipei,  Taiwan


January 25 - February 4, 2018

Chutzpah! Festival, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


Also available

An exhibition of the drawings created for this production, with references to Charlotte’s visions of her remembered past.


‘The Tri-Coloured Workshop’ led by Pamela Howard exploring personal history through colours that can be made out of red, yellow and blue!


For further information contact


Artistic Director

Alon Nashman



Executive Producer

Nathalie Bonjour











 - a Tri-Coloured Play

with Music

is produced by


Character drawings for 2017 production

Charlotte – A Tri-Coloured Play with Music

Please click image  to enlarge.