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Wounded Service personnel set for UK tour following West End success

Posted: Jul 25, 2012
Category: Events
Posted by: Admin

Wounded Service PersonnelBravo 22 Company bring their real-life stories of conflict and recovery to tens of thousands of people throughout the UK.

A group of wounded, injured and sick Service personnel who took the West End by storm in January with the hit play 'The Two Worlds of Charlie F', created by The Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust in partnership with The Royal British Legion and Defence Recovery Capability, will now bring their real-life stories of conflict and recovery to tens of thousands of people throughout the UK.

With the Legion’s backing, Bravo 22 Company will tour the production to the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham, The Sherman Cymru Theatre in Cardiff, The Pleasance Grand during The Edinburgh Festival Fringe and finally back to the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London.  (Follow the blue links to view dates for each venue and to book tickets)

Bravo 22 Company performing 'The Two Worlds of Charlie F.'Under the artistic auspices of patron Trevor Nunn, and with the support of project ambassador Ray Winstone and patron General Sir David Richards, Chief of Defence Staff, the Bravo 22 Company crafted a production which received five star reviews and full house standing ovations from a star-studded audience when it debuted for two performances at The Theatre Royal Haymarket on 22 January 2012.

Following the first performances, Ray Winstone commented:

"I am so proud and overwhelmed. It is the most moving play I've seen for a long, long time. The public should get behind this and be part of something unforgettable."

The production, which was born out of a collaborative project between The Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust, The Royal British Legion and Defence Recovery Capability, has the aim of using a theatrical learning environment to aid recovery, build new skills and offer opportunities to those members of the Armed Forces transitioning into civilian life.

Commenting on the origins of the project and the success of the production and forthcoming tour Masterclass Creative Producer Alice Driver said:

"This all started 15 months ago as an idea inspired by the bravery of a wounded soldier I met in Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham. The Bravo 22 Company was born out of this meeting; at its heart was the recovery of wounded, injured and sick Service personnel by providing a unique work placement within a theatre company. By being part of this process they would not only immerse themselves into a new industry but benefit from the effects of this theatre model: increased confidence, self-awareness and ultimately allowing them to step away from their injury."

The Legion's Director of Health and Welfare, Sue Freeth, said of the charity's involvement:
"The Legion is proud to be funding this very innovative and unique recovery project for members of the Armed Forces community. The project has demonstrated the huge impact a creative and collaborative process can have on building self-esteem and motivation, and has also offered an insight into a different industry, opening doors to new opportunities for those involved.

"We will continue to channel funds where needed into projects like this, to support Service personnel recovering from life-changing injuries, and their families, today and for the rest of their lives."

An independent evaluation to assess the effectiveness of the project concluded that the original project aims and intentions have been surpassed. In interviews conducted during the process and post-performance, the participants spoke of gains in confidence and motivation, feeling calmer and less angry, of building lasting friendships and gaining a valuable insight into an industry outside of the Armed Forces. Theatre and third sector based work placements have been secured for members of the Company following on from the success of this first phase.

Cast member Bombardier Gareth Crabbe (34), is a soldier in the Royal Artillery who served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq and was injured in 2007 whilst on exercise commanding a 105mm light gun which left him needing spinal disc replacement. Speaking of his involvement he said:
"I really enjoyed working in the positive environment of the theatre, making new friends, learning new skills and being with others who understood what I was going through. The whole company is incredibly excited about reliving this amazing experience and taking the play on tour to share our experiences with as many people as possible."

On Tuesday 26 June, a documentary film which follows the rehearsal process through to opening night, was shown as the first programme in the new series of ‘Imagine’ on BBC One. The fascinating documentary is now available to watch on BBC iPlayer and the full-length stage play can be viewed online here.

Notes to Editors:

The independent evaluation was produced by members of the Theatre Studies Department under the guidance of Professor Helen Nicholson at the University of Royal Holloway, London.

The Play Synopsis - 'The Two Worlds of Charlie F.'

by Owen Sheers. Directed by Stephen Rayne. Composed by Jason Carr.

"What do they teach us in training? Adapt and overcome." Charlie F.

'The Two Worlds of Charlie F.' is a soldier's view of Service, injury and recovery. Moving from the war in Afghanistan, through the dream world of morphine-induced hallucinations to the physio rooms of Headley Court, the play explores the consequences of injury, both physical and psychological, and its effects on others as the soldiers fight to win the new battle for survival at home.

Taken from the personal experience of wounded, injured and sick Service personnel involved, 'The Two Worlds of Charlie F.' is a darkly comic, authentic and uplifting tale of survival performed by those who were there.

"Powerfully affecting - Gripping. The authenticity of verbatim drama and the saltiness of barracks-room humour with the finesse of something more lyrical. 5 stars." The Telegraph

All proceeds from the sale of tickets go to The Royal British Legion and The Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust

The Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust

Masterclass is a small charity based at the beautiful Theatre Royal Haymarket, the last independent, family run theatre in the West End. Giving access to the historic building and using theatre as a vehicle for development are two aspirations at the very core of the charity.

Masterclass runs a year round programme of free talks, workshops, special projects, career advice sessions, Apprentice schemes and creative opportunities for 17-30 year olds. This hugely successful programme has supported over 60,000 young people.

The Defence Recovery Capability

The Defence Recovery Capability is an MOD led initiative in partnership with Help for Heroes and The Royal British Legion alongside other service charities and agencies to ensure the wounded, injured and sick personnel have access to the key services and resources needed to help them either return to duty or make a smooth transition into an appropriately skilled civilian life. The Defence Recovery Capability is delivered cross the Defence community by the combined efforts of the Services and the Service charities responding to carefully tailored Individual Recovery Plans setting out a recovery pathway. Each Service (Royal Navy, Army & Royal Air Force) cares for its own wounded, injured and sick: personnel participating in this production are from the Royal Navy and Army. More information.

Director - Stephen Rayne

Stephen began his career as an actor before becoming a theatre director. As a director he started at York Theatre Royal and the Cambridge Theatre Company before working in the West End. For the Royal Shakespeare Company, his credits include The Plantagenets, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Hero and Leander and All God's Chillun Got Wings. For the National Theatre, as associate to Trevor Nunn and co-director, his credits include Not About Nightingales,The Cherry Orchard, Mutabilitie, The Relapse, An Enemy of the People and

The Coast of Utopia.

Author - Owen Sheers

Owen wrote the script for The Passion, a 72-hour site specific production in Port Talbot starring and co-directed by Michael Sheen, as well as the novella based on the play, entitled The Gospel of Us. His first novel, Resistance, was adapted into a film in November 2011, for which he has co-written the screenplay. Sheers' other writing credits include the novella White Ravens, the award-winning novel The Dust Diaries, the radio play If I Should Go Away and the play Unicorns, almost- developed by the Old Vic New Voices project. He has also written two poetry collections as well as written and presented the BBC4 TV series A Poet's Guide to Britain and Battlefield Poet: Keith Douglas.

For further media information please contact:

Anoushka Warden, The Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust

E: T: 020 7389 9660

Listings Information:

Age Guidance 16+ The performance contains strong language

Birmingham - 19-21 July 2012
New Alexander Theatre, Station Street, Birmingham B5 4DS
Box Office: 0844 871 7627
Thursday - Saturday 7.30pm
Saturday Matinee 2.30pm
Press Night Thursday 19 July 7.30pm
Tickets £13.50, £18.50, £28.50
Concessions PRU £10, Senior citizens £12.50, Students £10, ATG Theatre Club members £3 off.

Cardiff - 25, 26 & 28 July 2012
The Sherman Cymru Theatre, Senghennydd Road, Cardiff CF24 4YE
Box Office: 029 2064 6900
Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday 7.30pm
Saturday Matinee 2.30pm
Press Night Wednesday 25 July 7.30pm
Tickets £15 - £22
Concessions Senior Citizens, Students £2 off. Under 25's Half Price.

Edinburgh - 7-11 August 2012
The Pleasance Grand, Pleasance Courtyard, 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh EH8 9TJ
Box Office 0131 556 6550
Tuesday - Saturday 1.45pm
Press Viewing Tuesday 7 August 1.45pm
Tickets £12.50 Tues -Thurs £15 Fri - Sat
Concessions Senior Citizens/Students/PRU Tues - Thurs £10. Fri - Sat £12.50

Hay Festival - 1 June 2012
Hay-on-Wye, Wales
Owen Sheers and Friends - The Two Worlds of Charlie F.
Friday 1 June 2012, 5:15pm
Venue: Big Tent
Event 21