The Purple List

by Libby Pearson

Presented by The Purple List in association with Holden Street Theatres


The Purple List... a gay dementia venture

Sam & Derek did all the things a normal couple did. They argued, they had sex, they had mates and went on marches. Then….well, things changed. Derek was diagnosed with dementia and their lives turned upside down – but sometimes for the better. We meet Sam and Derek on their wedding day and stand by them as they learn to live with dementia and negotiate all the ups and downs this brings.

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 unique and beautiful evening, a play in two halves; first a slice of their life, then a deeply touching 'Q&A' with Sam giving the audience an opportunity to engage even deeper with him and discuss the issues raised.

It is an incredibly poignant way of tackling such an important issue.

A stand-alone piece of theatre which is also used as a training tool on 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 raises 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 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.

Performed by Ian Baxter, written by Libby Pearson with post show Q&As facilitated by Noel Ward.

"We are delighted to be performing at Feast, and especially to be taking this important production outside the UK for the first time." - Libby and Ian

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Audience Quotes

“You don't have to have any experience of dementia…..You don't have to be gay… this is a powerful piece of theatre; just go and see it!”

"The Purple List is an incredibly moving emotional roller-coaster: the writing spare, the directing clean and sensitive, and the performance compelling and honest. Rarely have I felt, as an audience member, so invested in a performance."

“Insightful, honest and uncomfortable the play does more than tell a story, it encourages its audience to question and challenge. It is a must see piece of theatre and I would encourage anyone regardless of profession or sexuality to go and see it.”


Cast & Crew

Ian Baxter Image

Ian Baxter - Performer

Ian has been an actor and role player since graduating from Bretton Hall College in 1983, when he formed “Split Theatre” which took his coming out story, “Self Abuse ?!?” to “Festival in The Pink" in London.

He 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. He is currently working with Local Authorities to develop pieces of dynamic theatre looking at Adult and Child Safeguarding issues.

Part of his work now is as an actor/roleplayer for the Advanced Communication Skills courses , “Connected” for the former National Cancer Network.

As a gay man he came out over 40years ago. He witnessed, marvelled at, and envied the impact of the radical feminist separatist movement. He danced in discos, cruised in cruising grounds, and waved political placards against hypocrisy and homophobia. He escaped the aids epidemic by the skin of his teeth, and fought tooth and nail against “Clause 28”. He’s chanted and shouted, demonstrated and displayed, all his adult life, to support LGBT+ communities to get what they need and deserve.

“My partner of 33 years (and husband of 2), 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 step children and our grandchildren all bear witness to the fact that we’re BOTH right!! Who knew??”

Now 35 years after “Self Abuse?!?”, he’s incredibly proud to be performing “The Purple List”….a gay dementia venture which as well as being received as dynamic piece of theatre, is also being used to raise awareness with Health and Social Care professionals across the UK.

He is delighted to be returning to Adelaide 21 years after being a volunteer at the first FEAST in 1997.

Libby Pearson image

Libby Pearson - Writer

Libby has always had a passion for writing and graduated with a First in English Literature and went on to gain an MA in Creative Writing.

She began writing for the stage in 2014 and has since had five plays professionally produced and performed for touring theatre. Broken (2014), Impact (2015), The Purple List (2016) The Blind Barber (2017), Hiding (2018)

Libby was a youth and community worker for 15 years and it is this work that has strongly influenced her writing through which she examines and questions social mores and responsibilities. She also directs for the stage and is a freelance artistic director for special educational needs theatre groups.

Libby still works as a mentor in a secondary school to young people, runs community creative writing courses and is a medical role player and arts festival organiser.

When not working, Libby is a keen bird watcher and wildlife enthusiast and is often found wandering the beautiful Yorkshire Moors near her home.


Graeme Brown - Director

Graeme Brown used his long theatre career experience to direct 'The Purple List'. Graeme has been involved in professional theatre as a practitioner and educator and in arts policy development and continues to work in arts education.


Noel Ward - Q&A Facilitator

Noel Ward is a lifelong advocate and activist for LGBT+ rights, and has worked in a variety of person-centred roles including social care and nursing. Noel has developed and is delivering gender awareness training for local authority staff.

He too is returning to Adelaide where he volunteered on the first FEAST 21 years ago!






60 minutes


Adult: $28.00

Concession: $25.00

Group Price (6+): $25.00

Dates and Times

11 November 4pm - Session Cancelled

(due to soccer)

13 - 14 November 8pm

15 - 17 November 6:30pm

18 November 4pm


The Arch

34 Holden Street
SA 5007




Page 20 of the Feast Guide




Ian Baxter Image