Dora vs Picasso

Written by Grace Nichols
Directed by Mark C. Hewitt


featuring Sibylle Bernardin as Dora Maar
and Michael D’Cruze as Pablo Picasso

live Flamenco music and dance arranged and performed by Amor Flamenco
Ana Dueñas León (dance) José León (guitar) Julio Lopez Fuentes (voice)

A Crosspath production developed in association with LLL

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“Medusa, Cleopatra, help me find my inner bitch.
Wasn’t I christened Henriette Theodora Markovitch?”

Dora vs Picasso is a gripping multimedia production about photographer Dora Maar and her intense relationship during the 1930s with Pablo Picasso. Written by acclaimed Caribbean-British poet Grace Nichols, the work is set against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War and features exhilarating acting, projected images and live flamenco music & dance. 

Never have audiences been so excited about a live literature production as this one.

Photos on this page © Philip James

About the writer

Grace Nichols is a Caribbean-British poet whose work is studied on the GCSE syllabus. She performs her work widely across Britain for students as par of GCSE Poetry Live. 

 Her collections include: i is a long-memoried woman, which won the 1983 Commonwealth Poetry Prize; The Fat Black Woman’s Poems (1984); Lazy Thoughts of A Lazy Woman (1989); Sunris (1996), which won the Guyana Poetry Prize; Startling The Flying Fish (2006); Picasso, I Want My Face Back (2009); I Have Crossed An Ocean (2010) and The Insomnia Poems (2017). She has also published many books of poetry for children.

Grace received a Cholmondeley Award in 2001 and in 2014 was given an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Hull. She is a fellow of The Royal Society of Literature.

During Grace’s year as poet-in-residence at the Tate Gallery, London (1999 - 2000), she began to write a series of poems inspired by Picasso's iconic Weeping Woman painting and published in her book, Picasso, I Want My Face Back (published by Bloosaxe Books). This was the starting point and inspiration for Dora vs Picasso, which she describes as a dramatic dialogue in verse.

Feedback from those who've seen it

Expert witness

• “A stunning work.” ― Antony Penrose (Director, Farley Farm House - Home of the Surrealists in Sussex)

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Venue feedback

• ‘Everyone was very moved by the performance and it really deserves to tour.’
Simon Martin (Artistic Director, Pallant House Gallery)
• ‘Informal feedback (on exit) was overwhelmingly positive, with many people congratulating the Museum for hosting such an ‘amazing piece of theatre’. The combination of words, images and flamenco was very powerful, and literally resonated through the audience through the floor of the Durbar Hall.’
Catherine Harvey (Education Officer, Hastings Museum & Art Gallery)

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Audience feedback

 ‘A superb production. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect from the music and backdrops to the fantastic dancing. The storyline flowed and was very clever.’
• ‘I saw ‘Dora’ in Hastings with friends and afterwards we talked about the event all night long.’
• ‘An impressive show – Grace Nichols is a fabulous wordsmith so the spoken word was excellent, full of such apposite words and the juxtaposition with song that seemed to reach deep into some emotional place ...’
• ’It was so unique. ... If there had been another showing of it I would have seen it all over again I really would. I have never seen Flamenco dance so dramatic and both the actors were top of their league.’
• ‘... what a wonderful show that was. Such a rich mixture of dance and poetry and drama. I absolutely loved it. The dancing and music was just beautiful.’
• ‘Absolutely superb. Olé, olé, bravo!! I loved everything about it, the concept the writing, the acting, the music.’
• ‘So educational and erudite and fun. The players were well chosen and acted the beautiful words so well, with the music and dance enhancing the whole evening.’
• ‘Finely acted and charged with emotion. The combination of acting, music, dance and images blended so well.’
• ‘The flamenco and choreography worked so well with the drama of the dialogues.’
• ‘... loved the show, the words so beautifully supported by great acting and the fabulous feeling of Duende evoked by the flamenco dancing and singing – a really inspiring and thought provoking work.’
• ‘Fantastic. Needs to be seen by many more people and I’d like to see it again.’
• ‘A marvellous mix of arts. Wonderful performances. Merci beaucoup pour ce moment plein d’emotions!’
• ‘A very very good performance from all the cast.’
• ‘Quite brilliant. Invigorating and full of power.’
• ‘Clever, funny, sad and inspiring. Great end.’