Fringe Box



Notice: Guildburys’ Play About Coventry’s Wartime Bombing

Published on: 31 Oct, 2017
Updated on: 31 Oct, 2017

A gripping love story, set during the bombing of Coventry in the Second World War, is being staged by Guildburys Theatre Company in the week of the 77th anniversary of the event.

One Night in November by Alan Pollock will have five performances at the Electric Theatre in Guildford, including a Saturday matinee, from Wednesday, November 15 to Saturday, November 18.

The play, which features dramatic staging to recreate the events leading up to the Coventry blitz on November 14, 1940, tells the story of the romance between Katie, a clerk, and Michael, a code-breaker at Bletchley Park, who meet at a railway station.

As their relationship deepens, Michael faces an agonising dilemma. He has helped decipher an enemy message – should he warn Katy and her family that Coventry will be bombed and face prosecution under the Official Secrets Act? Underpinning this critically acclaimed play is a long-held conspiracy theory. Was the city ‘sacrificed’ for the war effort to protect the work of the code breakers?

The playwright, Alan Pollock, said: “I’ve produced a small number of plays and radio plays of which I am genuinely proud – but the first night of One Night in November in 2008 – in the presence of 80- and 90-year-old Blitz survivors – was the most moving and humbling of my life. I realised for the first time how deeply – massively – this story still resonated for the community which carries the scars of that night – on its landscape and in its heart. I am truly grateful that it can continue to be told.”

A scene from One Night in November by Alan Pollock.

Guildburys Theatre Company Director, Gilly Fick, added: “This play had a huge impact when it was first performed in Coventry. It’s a massive technical challenge with bombing scenes, air raids and debris on stage.

“But above all, this is a love story, a beautifully written play about relationships and about the people of Coventry. Everyone in the cast and production team has been profoundly moved by the play and it has been a joy to direct.”

To research their roles and the work of the code breakers, the company visited Bletchley Park in October. Meanwhile, on Sunday, November 5, at 11am, the company will be in costume and joined by genuine Second World War military vehicles outside the Electric Theatre, which people are welcome to view.

Tickets cost £15.50 (£12.50 concessions and matinee) and are available from Performances are at 7.45pm (matinee 2.15pm). There is an age recommendation of 12-plus years.

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