small hours (discussion and feature film)

On Demand (IF 2020)

50 minsPWYD

Performance | Health & Medicine, Society, The Mind

The new play small hours premiered on Monday 19 October

You can watch small hours now, below

IF Oxford hosted a discussion with the creative team on

Sunday 25 October

small hours (small hours trailer)


small hours, a new video play, explores why we need sleep and what happens when we go without it? It probes the mysteries of human circadian rhythm, the daily pattern of wakefulness and sleep, and how this can be either disrupted or adjusted.

Filmed during the COVID pandemic in different locations across Europe, join this journey of self-exploration created by Mandala Theatre as it explores the rise in sleep problems that people have experience during the pandemic. It tells the unsettling story of four characters imprisoned in their own worlds and suffering in different ways with sleeping problems.

Mandala Theatre is an Oxford based company that nurtures young talent from diverse backgrounds in the creative industry. Sleep deprivation and associated problems has become a hot research topic during the pandemic for neuroscientists in Oxford. Together we explore the question: how do people get a decent night’s sleep in these difficult times?

Click here to leave feedback on the film or its topics

small hours (feature film: 58 minutes)

The Stage “…compelling concept, and director Yasmin Sidhwa does a good job of capturing that liminal, late-night-early-morning atmosphere of existential anxiety, interspersing the action with imaginatively lit movement sequences underscored by Duotone’s moody music. Davies’ writing captures those emotions effectively, too. “You feel like you’ve crawled out of your body,” says Aisha, “and you can’t get back in.”

Exeunt Magazine: “small hours is clever and well-constructed by Ava Wong Davies, … The characters have lives and personalities that are complex and ambiguous enough to be interesting in themselves, and they can be weird in a nicely specific way… Ben Johnston’s video edit often places a square of blank black space around the filmed action and video conversations, like there’s something hidden beyond the screens, a life outside the night. …it’s not exactly the awkward Zoom energy we all know and hate, but a kind of odder, less identifiable, disconnection.”

small hours

Written by Ava Wong Davies

Directed by Yasmin Sidhwa

Performed by Mandala Theatre Company

Filmed by the cast

Edited and additional filming by Ben Johnston

Music by Duotone

Produced by Alex Lui, Dane Comerford and Laura Elliot


Co-comissioned by IF Oxford and Oxford Playhouse with scientific advice from the University of Oxford Sleep & Circadian Neuroscience Institute

Cast (Alphabetical Order of Surname):

Nush………………………….Anusha Abbas

Aisha…………………………..Akasha Daley

Solomon Salah……………..Nelvin Kiratu

Luis………………………………..Luis Ribeiro


Supported by


Presented  by


IF Oxford_colour logo


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