Next Friday (19th February), I’ll be heading along to Wallsend Memorial Hall to see Death at Dawn, a play by Pete Mortimer of Iron Press, based on the real-life story of young North Shields soldier, William Hunter, who was executed for desertion in 1916, in France.
This powerful, controversial and emotionally charged play picked up two regional awards (including a Journal Culture Award) and was short-listed for two more after performing to packed houses in North Shields’ Linskill Centre in September 2014.
It will be staged at Wallsend Memorial Hall 19th -23rd Feb then in the Discovery Museum’s Great Hall from 26th Feb to 2nd March. There are evening and Saturday matinees performances plus special half price weekday matinees for schools.
The sudden death of the play’s director (and former Coronation Street actress) Jackie Fielding last year aged 47 gives the production an even greater poignancy. Her friend, Neil Armstong has taken on the job of director. The play will once again be performed in-the-round by young local actors of roughly Hunter’s age. These performances mark the 100th anniversary of Hunter’s death.
Local reviews of Death at Dawn
from September 2014:
“The dialogue between the sharply-written characters crackles throughout. [The] direction is impeccable: fast-moving, innovative and choreographed with great precision. This production deserves to be seen
further afield.” Northern Echo
“A feeling of tremendous intimacy, especially in the claustrophobic scenes in the trenches.” British Theatre Guide
“Powerful theatre throughout.” Whitley Bay News Guardian
I’ll be adding my own review after next week’s performance.
In related news, there will be an auction at the Jam Jar cinema next Tuesday, the 16th – come along and bid on some interesting lots, including a personalised poem, and musical performances.