Exeter in 1942. Eric and June, along with their son Francis, 16, welcome 17-year-old Londoner Peter to their home. Peter, an evacuee from the Blitzed capital, is marking time to his 18th birthday when he can finally be called up to the armed Forces. He arrives into a house of exams for Francis, night-classes for June, and night watches for Eric, a house where the threat of dying is tempered by the fear of never having lived.
Inventing a New Colour was given a private performance at the National Theatre Studio, London in April 1988. Its first public production came at the Bristol Old Vic in October that same year. It subsequently transferred to the Royal Court, London.