At dawn one hundred years today, a North Shields soldier was shot for desertion by members of his own platoon in a French abbatoir.
The teenage solider was young William Hunter sentenced by court martial to death for leaving his post in order to spend time with a local French woman. “I did not like to leave her,” he stated in his written defence, seven words which sent my chum Peter Mortimer on an a train of thought resulting in his play Death at Dawn.
This award-winning play started its revival at Wallsend Memorial Hall on Friday night and there were two performances yesterday: matinee and evening.
I’ve been involved in ticket selling, publicity and liaising with local schools for Death at Dawn since autumn. It’s been hightly moving to watch the performances (and audience reaction).
All credit to Pete, director Neil and his production team including lighting, costumier & actors of course all working to recreate what original director Jackie realised with 2014’s first performances.
Sadness for Jackie who died last year, William Hunter (and his family) mingle with thoughts of what Europe was like 100 years ago, where it went in the 20th century and what will happen after Britain’s EU referendum in June.
If you want your thoughts provoked then catch Death at Dawn at Wallsend’s Memorial Hall tomorrow and Tuesday and from Friday 26th at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum.