Billy Bishop Goes To War will transfer to the Southwark Playhouse from 13 March-6 April 2019 (press night is 15 March) following its successful run at the Jermyn Street Theatre. Written and Composed by John MacLachlan Gray in collaboration with Eric Peterson, the production will see Charles Aitken (Younger Billy) and Oliver Beamish (Older Billy) reprising their roles.
Billy Bishop, a failing Canadian military college student, overcomes intense prejudice and astonishing danger to receive his wings to become the most successful fighter pilot of his generation. This compelling and darkly comic drama interrogates the nature of heroism and its cost while shining a light on the often-neglected complexities of Britain’s colonial past.
Billy Bishop Goes To War won the Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Award in 1981, the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award in 1982, and the Governor General’s Award for English Drama in 1982. It is the most produced play in Canadian theatre.
Director Jimmy Walters is joined in the creative team by designer Daisy Blower, lighting designer Arnim Friess, sound designer Dinah Mullen and casting director Ginny Schiller.
Director Jimmy Walters said:
“Billy Bishop Goes To War is a show we are incredibly proud of. Our reimagined interpretation of this renowned Canadian play-with-music, takes audiences on a journey through Billy’s extraordinary life, as it allows an older and younger Billy to tell this true story together. With the remarkable performances by our cast, the script by John Gray which is as poignant as it is uplifting, and the atmospheric musical score; This results in a production that I’m so excited more people will get the chance to see.”
Billy Bishop Goes To War is presented by Proud Haddock and Arsalan Sattari Productions.
Charles Aitken plays Younger Billy. His theatre credits include Coriolanus (Royal Shakespeare Company, Barbican), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Manchester Royal Exchange), All My Sons (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre), Sweet Bird of Youth (The Old Vic), Little Eagles (Royal Shakespeare Company, Hampstead Theatre), and King Lear, As You Like It, Antony and Cleopatra (Royal Shakespeare Company, Roundhouse NY). For television, his credits include The Knick and Madame Secretary. His film credits include Happy Death Day 2U, Summertime, Happy Death Day, and The Girl on the Train.
Oliver Beamish plays Older Billy. His theatre credits include War Horse (New London Theatre), Keane (Apollo Theatre), Buddy (Novello Theatre), Jolson (Victoria Palace Theatre), Blood Brothers (Lyric Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Henry IV Pt. 1, Camelot (Regents Park Open Air Theatre), Fuente Ovejuna, Ghetto (National Theatre), The Secret Rapture, Julius Caesar, All My Sons (New Vic Theatre) and Hay Fever, Twelfth Night (Queen’s Theatre);. His television credits include Coronation Street and The Darling Buds of May.