Bedtime stories with a bite

The Sandman

'Time for bed, children - the Sandman's coming...'

Based on E. T. A. Hoffmann's eerie tale of the same name, the Sandman invites you to step into the memories of troubled young man Nathaniel, haunted since childhood by a sinister figure he calls 'the sandman'. Guided by Nathaniel's voice, follow him as he leads you through the house he once knew as a boy, and up the stairs to a room filled with his half-forgotten childhood memories - where he is finally compelled to look the past in the eye.

The Sandman has been commissioned by the Freud Museum London as part of its The Uncanny: A Centenary exhibition, celebrating the 100th anniversary of Freud's 1919 essay 'The Uncanny'. Hoffmann's tale is discussed throughout Freud's essay, credited with evoking 'a quite unparalleled atmosphere of uncanniness'. Staged as an audio-visual installation around the Freud family home in Hampstead, this reinterpretation of Nathaniel's story invites audiences to explore the house through the eyes of a young boy, encountering doubles, mirrors, dolls, and other unsettling things along the way.

The Uncanny: A Centenary features new artwork by Lili Spain, Karolina Urbaniak, Martin Bladh and Martha Todd, as well as etchings by the German Surrealist Hans Belmer, talks and events, and an Uncanny Masked Ball. Watch the exhibition trailer here:


Written, directed and designed by Elizabeth Dearnley
Nathaniel - Timothy Allsop
Sound Design and Audio Editing - Tamsin Dearnley

Supported using public funding by Arts Council England