Everything worth living for. Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe.

Everything worth living for. Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe.

“Filled to the brim with joy…beautiful, heart-wrenching and very funny.” Time Out London

Victoria, BC...From December 3 - 22, 2019, the Belfry Theatre will present Every Brilliant Thing by Duncan Macmillan with Jonny Donahoe. Directed by Estelle Shook, Every Brilliant Thing stars Dawn Petten with Brian Linds (music is central to this play and Brian will be our DJ).

★★★★ “Funny, clever and surprisingly uplifting.” —The Telegraph

Performed in-the-round, with the audience seated on all sides of the performer (we are reconfiguring the theatre for this show), Every Brilliant Thing is a heartrending yet hopeful play about the lengths we go to for those we love. 

 “A life-affirming gem…as profound a work as you are ever likely to experience…” NY1

 As a mother battles chronic depression, a child creates a list of everything that makes life worth living. The list grows as she progresses from childhood (“Ice Cream”) and adolescence (“Star Trek”), to college (“Surprises”) and marriage (“Falling in Love”). But when life deals a bitter blow, the list proves to be helpful to her in ways that it never could for her mother.

★★★★★ “heart-wrenching, hilarious…one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see about depression – and possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see, full stop” —The Guardian

Actor Dawn Petten will greet the arriving audience with hand-written notes instructing them how to participate when called upon. Throughout the performance she’ll draw the audience into acting opposite her in various roles — a veterinarian, her father, her college lecturer, her fiancée — creating an intimate sense of shared community in this profound experience.

 “Mr. Macmillan’s play, though often funny, is fully aware [that] in the face of great loss and depression, a real effort of will is required to recall why it’s worth continuing with life. That will is the force that animates Every Brilliant Thing and keeps it afloat for the captivating hour of its duration.” New York Times

This is simply one of the most moving pieces of theatre I have ever seen. It is so full of life, and pain, and joy, and yearning – it overflows with humanity. And its remarkable use of the audience as participants in the storytelling makes for a one-of-a-kind, unforgettable experience. —Michael Shamata

Creative Team
Duncan Macmillan - Playwright
Jonny Donahoe - Playwright
Estelle Shook - Director
Kerem Çetinel - Lighting Designer
Brian Linds - Sound Designer
Christopher Sibbald - Stage Manager
Becca Jorgensen - Apprentice Stage Manager
Lancelot Knight* - Assistant Sound Designer 
*participation made possible through the Belfry’s Indigenous Learning Exchange Program.

Live & Accessible Events for Every Brilliant Thing


Saturday, November 30 at 11 am
BMO Studio Theatre, 1291 Gladstone Avenue

Free Event. A live talk show hosted by CBC Radio’s Gregor Craigie and featuring interviews with Dawn Petten (actor), Estelle Shook (director), Jane (Taylor) Lee (Executive Director, Family Services of Greater Victoria) and Dr. Ron Penner (Registered Psychologist, Integrated Health, Canadian Forces Base, Esquimalt).

Sunday, December 15 at 2 pm

For patrons with low or no vision, we offer this VocalEye performance during Every Brilliant Thing. Trained Audio Describers provide descriptions of the visual elements of the show, allowing people with low vision to enjoy the theatrical experience without missing any of the details.

Relaxed Performance
Wednesday, December 11 at 1 pm

We’ll be hosting our first ever Relaxed Performance during our run of Every Brilliant Thing.

Relaxed Performances are specifically designed to welcome patrons who will benefit from a less restrictive theatre experience.

While everyone is welcome to attend, the audience experience is adapted for those who will benefit from a more relaxed sensory experience and casual environment, including (but not limited to) patrons on the autism spectrum, or with any sensory processing disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, or learning disability.

There will be a relaxed attitude to noise and movement within the theatre and lobby, and some minor production changes will be made to reduce the intensity of light, sound and other potentially startling effects.

These shows are for anyone. Many people may choose to attend a Relaxed Performance for ease of access, or because they like the inclusive environment. Those with physical conditions who have trouble sitting for an extended period of time and babes in arms are also welcome to our relaxed performance.

For our patrons who will benefit from an advance introduction to the theatre experience we will be producing a Visual Story – a short document describing how to get to the Belfry and what to expect when you see the play. Familiarization tours can also be arranged.

To book tickets to this Relaxed Performance, or to discuss any specific requirements you may have, contact Ian Gibson, Audience Services Manager at ian.gibson@belfry.bc.ca or 250-385-6815.

Pay What You Can Tickets for the Relaxed Performance only will be available at the door.

Show Sponsors

Every Brilliant Thing is generously supported by CIBC Wood Gundy - Blue Heron Advisory Group, Jennifer Roberts Florist, Used.ca and Ocean 98.5.

Season Sponsors

The Belfry is generously supported by The Times Colonist and Helijet.

Public Funders

The Belfry is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, Canadian Heritage, the Province of BC, BC Arts Council, CRD Arts Development and the City of Victoria.

Ticket Information

Tickets for Every Brilliant Thing are $35 (plus GST). Tickets are available at 250-385-6815 or online at tickets.belfry.bc.ca. Prices are subject to change.

Tickets for Every Brilliant Thing - https://tickets.belfry.bc.ca/TheatreManager/1/online?event=1094

Ticket Discounts

Students & Seniors – 10%

Performance Schedule (December 3 - 22)
Tuesdays - Thursdays at 7:30 pm
Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm
Wednesday Matinees at 1 pm (December 11 - Relaxed Performance / December 18)
Saturday Matinees at 4 pm
Sunday Matinees at 2 pm (VocalEye offered on December 15)


Media Contact
Mark Dusseault
Director of Marketing & Communications
Belfry Theatre


About Belfry Theatre

The Belfry is a professional not-for-profit theatre company in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. 

We produce contemporary theatre from the international repertoire with an emphasis on new Canadian plays. 

With love, from scratch, and with some of the country's best theatre artists, we build, rehearse and create our plays in our own home, a renovated 19th century church in Fernwood - the city's most interesting neighbourhood. 

Belfry Theatre
1291 Gladstone Avenue
Victoria, BC
V8T 1G5