The true stories of injured British servicemen are being bought to life in the inspirational Two Worlds of Charlie F.
The brainchild of a Kent theatre producer, the production has received rave reviews from critics for its sensitive yet entertaining handling of this serious subject matter, played out on stage by former soldiers.
This week the Two Worlds of Charlie F, developed and produced by producer Alice Driver from Sevenoaks, comes to Bromley's Churchill Theatre.
The cast will include Canadian soldier Cassidy Little, who ‘lost his leg, his two best friends and a little bit of his sanity’ as a marine in Afghanistan in 2011.
After starring in the lead role of Charlie F during the show’s West End run, Cassidy is now committed to pursuing a career as an actor. He claims that the whole project has been life-changing, giving him the confidence to move forward with his life after the shattering impact of a bomb blast.
The seeds of the play lay in a therapy and recovery project for wounded military personnel.
Alice was introduced to a surgeon at a Birmingham hospital, where injured soldiers are sent from Afghanistan. She had previously used theatre and drama as therapy for a wide variety of people and was convinced that it could help injured soldiers recover – it was the first time that theatre had been used as therapy in the military.
Tenacious Alice, 32, found support for her project from no less than esteemed theatre director Trevor Nunn, the Ministry of Defence, the Royal British Legion and actor Ray Winstone.
After many meetings and negotiations in 2011, a group of wounded soldiers ended up in a London rehearsal room with the highly regarded writer and director team, Owen Sheers and Stephen Rayne.
For some of the group it was the first time they had really talked about their experiences at war, and out of these conversations and improvisation, a piece of theatre was performed for two nights at in London’s West End.
The BBC’s Alan Yentob attended a rehearsal and commissioned a documentary on the project, Theatre at War, as part of BBC1’s Imagine series. The play then set off on a UK tour and returned to the Theatre Royal Haymarket, receiving critical acclaim.
Alice, who attended Sevenoaks School, said: “This was about taking the very best of theatre, and everything theatre can offer, and creating a new play based on the experiences and stories of this group of wounded soldiers. The process was life-changing.”
This tour of The Two Worlds of Charlie F will only appear locally at Bromley’s Churchill Theatre from Easter Monday to Saturday, April 26. Evening performances are at 7.30pm, plus 2.30pm matinees on the Thursday and Saturday. Tickets from £15.90. Call 0844 8717620.