SOLDIER ON, a new play written and directed by Our Boys‘ award-winning writer Jonathan Guy Lewis starts a three-week season tonight (13 March 2018) at west London’s new Playground Theatre, where it continues until 31 March 2019 and includes a post-show Q&A this Thursday (15 March 2018) with MyTheatreMates co-founder Terri Paddock. Check out rehearsal photos with the ensemble company of actors and service veterans.
SOLDIER ON is based on true stories and a theatrical community workshop Jonathan Guy Lewis carried out with British servicemen and their families in Plymouth in 2015. The resulting play lifts the lid on the vastness and complexity of Britain’s often overlooked and incredibly broad military community: the wives, partners, mothers, children and, of course, the servicemen and women themselves.
In a bold initiative, and putting the play’s premise into action, the cast includes ex-service personnel supported by professional actors, in a company called the Soldier’s Arts Academy. It stars Cassidy Little, one-time ballet dancer and former Royal Marine Commando, who lost his lower right leg in an explosion in Afghanistan in 2011 and has since won The People’s Strictly dance competition in 2015. The play employs music, dance and mixed media. It is by turns viscerally realistic, shockingly funny, and intensely emotional.
The SOLDIER ON company are Nicholas Clarke, Thomas Craig, Stephanie Greenwood, Mark Griffin, Max Hamilton-Mackenzie, Claire Hemsley, Rekha John-Cheriyan, Shaun Johnson, Mark Kitto, Cassidy Little, Bryan Michael Mills, Lizzie Mounter, Steve Morgan, Ellie Nunn, Mike Prior, Androcles Scicluna, David Solomon, Hayley Thompson and Zoe Zak.
Lewis, who is also directing, commented:
“Not for nothing is it known as the military family, and moving on from one family or community to another, or readjusting to new circumstances – physical, emotional – within one, is a difficult process. Sometimes it helps to act things out.”
Producer Amanda Faber, who founded the Soldiers’ Arts Academy in 2013, added: “Soldier On” is a powerful new play that explores what is possible when serving and retired service personnel engage with the arts.’
The Soldiers’ Arts Academy seeks to help serving and retired service personnel adapt to new circumstances by engaging in the arts. The Academy’s first stage production in 2014, The Two Worlds of Charlie F, was highly praised by audiences and critics.