East Riding Theatre kicks off their theatre programme for 2019 with the hard-hitting Glory Dazed.
Samuel Edward-Cook, local resident and star of the hit BBC TV series Peaky Blinders, stars in a play which brings to light relevant issues surrounding the mental health of ex-servicemen and women as they re-integrate back into civilian society.
Written by Cat Jones, it was first performed at Soho Theatre and Sam, along with playing the lead role of ex-squaddie Ray, is also producing and co-directing the play. Set in a backstreet pub in Doncaster, after hours, Ray, mentally scarred from his time in Afghanistan, bangs on the door. His old friend, Simon, the pub's landlord, feels he has no alternative but to let him in but, in the pub, are Leanne, a teenage barmaid, and Carla, Ray's ex-wife and the mother of his children. The stage is set for off-kilter drama and heart-wrenching recrimination.
Director Jake Smith says: “This is a must-see in your theatre nights out this month, the play is deeply moving and socially poignant but truly, with all respect, entertaining and delivered by some very talented regional actors. The writing is incredible, it is so easy to understand and represents a part of the Northern voice we need to hear. I was drawn to the play from previously assisting Howard Davies on a Somerset Maugham play at Chichester Festival Theatre where the effects of World War I on returning male soldiers were explored. It's startling a 100 years on we are still having and need to have this necessary conversation.”
Glory Dazed, is on at the East Riding Theatre from 26 January to 2 February and was originally developed by Second Shot Productions, a social enterprise that exists to give serving prisoners and ex-offenders opportunities within creative industries. It won the BBC's Alfred Bradley Bursary Prize in 2011.
Although a challenging prospect, Sam is looking forward to bringing the play to Beverley and a Yorkshire audience and supporting the important issues that the play tackles:
“The Yorkshire Regiment is possibly the most active and most respected regiment in the British Army. Yorkshire's veteran community needs our help and support in order to make the transition back into civilian life after sacrificing so much to protect our country. 10% of the UK prison population is made up of ex-servicemen and this needs to change. To be performing the play back in Yorkshire where it first came to life is a real privilege. We hope that veterans who see the play will feel reassured that they are not alone. There is support and guidance out there for them, and with the help of our charity partner, Hull 4 Heroes, we can give something back to the men and women who have given everything to protect us.”
The project is in association with local Hull-based charity, Hull 4 Heroes, who provide support to veterans, aiming to ensure that their transition back into civilian life and regular employment is as seamless as possible.
Tickets are on sale now, £14-£15, and available from www.eastridingtheatre.co.uk or by calling the Box Office 01482 874050.