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The Purple List

by Libby Pearson

Presented by The Purple List in association with Holden Street Theatres


The Purple List - A Gay Dementia Venture

...is a 35 minute, one-man play. It opens on Sam and Derek’s wedding day and goes on to explore the highs and lows of their lives as Derek’s dementia progresses. Told from Sam’s point of view, the play is a touching, sad, yet often funny, insight into the lives of these two gay men as they navigate their way through the care system and the changes in their personal relationship.

A stand-alone piece of theatre that can also be used as a training tool in a range of issues regarding dementia and diversity for those working in social care and for those caring for, or involved with people living with dementia. The play hopes to raise awareness around the potential issues for those caring for someone with dementia in general, and the barriers to support which members of the gay community may perceive and experience.

The Purple List…a gay dementia venture has been performing since early 2017 and so far has had 25 performances and has been seen by approximately 1200 people. We have performed in colleges, theatres, care homes, training centres, conference centres and even a football stadium. No space is too small or large for our performance as we adapt to every environment.

We always offer a Q&A session with the actor first staying in character, and then out of character and being joined by the writer and/or the director.

Cast & Crew

Ian Baxter - Performer

I’ve been an actor and role player since graduating from Bretton Hall College in 1983, when I formed “Split Theatre” which took my coming out story, “Self Abuse ?!?” to “Festival in The Pink" in London.
I quickly realised the impact and importance of issue based theatre and worked predominantly with children and marginalized adults in schools, play schemes, youth groups, prisons, day centres and hostels.
As a gay man I came out over 40 years ago. I witnessed, marvelled at, and envied the impact of the radical feminist separatist movement. I danced in discos, cruised in cruising grounds, and waved political placards against hypocrisy and homophobia. I fought tooth and nail against “Clause 28”. I’ve chanted and shouted, demonstrated and displayed all my adult life, to support LGBT+ communities to get what we need and deserve.
My partner of 32 years (and husband of 1), seems to think I spend a lot of my spare time “faffing”, when I KNOW I’m making sure we haven’t forgotten the poles for a camping trip ,fairy lights to make the dull gorgeous, or passports for an overseas adventure. My three stepchildren and our grandchildren all bear witness to the fact that we’re BOTH right!! Who knew??
Now 35 years after “Self Abuse?!?”, I’m incredibly proud to be performing “The Purple List”….a gay dementia venture, which is being used to raise awareness and train social care and health staff across England.

Graeme Brown - Director

I have been involved in the making of Theatre all my career. I have worked in a variety of education establishments from high schools, developing arts policies to sixth form and FE colleges where I directed productions of anything from Greek Tragedies to contemporary story telling projects. For several years I was the Education Officer for the Unicorn Children’s Theatre, working across all departments to bring live performances to children. I was also fortunate to have been a member of an advisory drama team, working with other educators, creatives and professional actors to bring Theatre projects to teachers and students of all ages. A job that has, sadly, all but disappeared. I am currently one of the senior team of examiners in Drama and Theatre, contributing to the development of A Level.

I’ve been delighted to have directed ‘The Purple List’; I’ve known Ian for more years than I care to recall (and indeed have even acted with him in another life). Working with him on Libby’s powerful, emotional and timely script has been a great pleasure.

Libby Pearson - Writer

I have been employed as a youth and community worker for 16 years and recently became a freelance performance writer and Creative Projects Coordinator - since doing so, I have written five plays, all of which have been professionally produced and performed. I am particularly interested in issue-based writing and using theatre as a tool for education and discussion - The Purple List being a perfect example of this.

I regularly support a theatre project for young people with special educational needs and have recently co-formed a theatre company (Me & Thee Theatre) to bring small-scale work featuring new writing, to interesting venues. My latest play "Hiding" will be performed as part of The Books by the Beach Literature Festival in Scarborough.

When not writing, I can often be found wandering the moors and forests of North Yorkshire with my trusty guide to birds and a pair of binoculars. If spotted, give me a wave.





60 minutes



Dates and Times

11 November 4pm

13 - 14 November 8pm

15 - 17 November 6:30pm

18 November 4pm


The Arch

34 Holden Street
SA 5007