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Preview: Death at Dawn

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Death at Dawn

Wallsend Memorial Hall
Friday 19th - Tuesday 23rd February 2016

Newcastle Discovery Museum
Friday 26th February – Wednesday 2nd March 2016

Cloud Nine's next project is the much heralded return of this controversial World War One play by the North Tynesidewriter Peter Mortimer which the company premiered at The Linskill Centre North Shields in September 2014. Death at Dawn played to full houses, went on to win two prestigious awards and to be shortlisted for a further two. It is now to be revived both in North Tyneside and at Newcastle Discovery Museum,

The play is built around the real-life events of the North Shields soldier William Hunter who was executed in France for desertion in 1916 and it marks the 100th anniversary of Hunter's death. This execution was especially contentious; at his court martial Hunter claimed he had signed up under-age and in all other similar cases, the death sentence was commuted to imprisonment. For reasons history does not make clear, this did not happen in Hunter’s case.

This dramatic and fast moving play welcomes the return of some of the original professional cast, including Heather Carroll (2014 Journal Culture Award winner: Best Newcomer) plus four Tyneside drama students roughly of Hunter’s age. The sudden death of the play's original director Jackie Fielding last year, gives the production an even greater poignancy. The production again performed as theatre-in-the-round, is now directed by Neil Armstrong.

The play takes place in North Shields, Montreal, Liverpool and finally on the Western Front and examines the thorny subject of an army shooting its own men. It is also a poignant love story  and an examination of how the extremities of trench warfare effects the behaviour of young, often na├»ve and inexperienced soldiers.

Although the story the play has to tell is often a shocking one, it also is also run through with humour.

Death at Dawn, being built round the fate of a real North East soldier, is of great local significance but in the matters it addresses, also has a universal relevance.

"An excellent mix of fact and fiction. The dialogue between the sharply written characters crackles throughout" - Northern Echo

"The strength of the play is that the focus is not entirely on Hunter, or even his family; we also see the effects of war on his fellow platoon members, bringing out the best and worst in them" - British Theatre Guide

"Tremendously powerful" - News Guardian

Cast & Creatives:

Written by Peter Mortimer.
Directed by Neil Armstrong

Private William Hunter: Stephen Gregory
Private Harry Stevens: Jamie Brown
Private Len Smiley: Dean Logan
Private Jack White: Dylan Mortimer
Platoon Sergeant: Pip Chamberlin
Bella/Claudette/Juliette: Heather Carroll
Margaret, Hunters mother: Diane Legg
Supporting Cast: Alex Broadbent, James Gebbie, Kyle Morley, Robert Wilson Baker.

Friday 19th- Tuesday 23rd February, The Memorial Hall, 10 Frank St Wallsend, NE28 6RN, 7.30pm (plus Sat matinee 2.30pm)
Friday 26thFebruary – Wednesday 2nd March , The Discovery Museum, Blandford Sq Newcastle NE1 4JA, 7.30pm plus Sat matinee 2.30pm.

All ticket £10/£8. Available via: call: 0191 259 2743

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