There’s always a warm welcome at the Brewhouse Arts Centre in Burton-Upon-Trent yet sadly we are unable to see Private Peaceful by The Little Theatre Company based on Michael Morpurgo’s popular and moving novel this week. But we do want to promote this superb amateur company. We wish them broken legs tonight on their opening night and all this week. It will be first class. Grab your tickets while you can.
The novel is adapted for the stage by Simon Reade and tells the story about innocent lives lost and brotherhood found during the years of the First World War known at the time as The Great War. The Brewhouse theatre itself is an intimate space and in a sense should be the perfect theatrical capsule for an equally intimate play. Do take a packet of tissues when you go – you will need them.
This production is directed by Tim Robinson. The technical and lighting director is Matt Bancroft. The production sound engineer is Tom Berriman and the soundtrack management is courtesy of Tim Robinson. The Private Peaceful creative team have created a fascinating multi-level set that helps transport the actors and their audiences from a village in leafy Devon to the Flanders fields.
True to the novel, the audience is taken from the present wartime trenches of June 1916 and the story is relayed through Thomas ‘Tommo’ Peaceful, the protagonist. It is written so that we are engaged in his memories, as he tries to make sense of everything that has led up to this moment. The hours and minutes tick away as the audience keeps Tommo company through the night and as dawn approaches and his execution by firing squad looms ever nearer.
This show features themes of war and may contain some loud noises and flashing lights.
Nathan Pocock as Tommo Peaceful
Kieran Barratt as Charlie Peaceful
Jim Haywood as Big Joe
Jodie Whitehead as Mother
Sophie Towns as Molly
Matt Lesley as Pete
Louis Shorthouse as Les
Dom White as Nipper
Craig Atkinson as Colonel
Adrian Bancroft as Captain Wilkes
Pete Banton as Vicar
Roberto Hill as Jimmy Parsons
Mark Pearson as Pilot
Leon Ratcliffe as Sergeant Hanley
Sarah Spencer as Miss McAllister
Dan Tunks as Estaminet Owner
Bethan Waite as Grandma Wolf
Both the book and the stage adaptation of Private Peaceful helped the campaign to grant posthumous pardons to men executed during the war. Private Peaceful helped further the campaign to pardon those soldiers who were executed for cowardice, desertion, and other similar crimes. Morpurgo was one of the people who argued for change, including via a letter to Cherie Blair, wife of the then-Prime Minister Tony Blair. In 2006, Des Browne—the UK Defence Secretary—announced that 306 British and Commonwealth soldiers would be pardoned. The postscript of Private Peaceful editions was updated after the posthumous pardons were granted. At a 2012 production of the play at the Theatre Royal Haymarket, 306 names of men who were shot for cowardice, desertion and other related crimes were listed on the back of the programme.
Not suitable for small children.
Buy your tickets now from The Brewhouse Arts Centre
Tuesday 27th June – Saturday 1st July 2023
7:30pm each evening plus Saturday matinee at 2:30pm