Suitable for all ages from 6 to 97.

A request was received by Hull Truck Theatre for a complimentary ticket for my play from a Mr. Don Sutherland, a Quaker who had been a conscientious objector in WW2.
He had been involved in setting up agricultural peace communities in Lincolnshire…
could he also sell copies of his memoir about those experiences, and could he join me for the post show discussion? The answer from me was yes yes and yes! Oh – and could I ask how old Don is?  Ninety seven.

Don was blessed with great good health and spirits (and far more hair than yours truly possesses at thirty-seven-odd years his junior)…and he was wonderfully articulate in the post show talk, far more than I was ( though that’s not saying much – after my 75 minute / 52 character marathon I can barely string three intelligent words together.)

His words, a whisper to me at first, transformed into a strong resonant beautifully projected voice when talking to the audience about being a CO in WW2.

Again I am confronted by the reality of people who stood up for their convictions in times of great duress ( and many a WW1 pacifist felt they had to put those beliefs aside when confronted with a tyrant such as Hitler).  As I make plain in the play, I have never had my beliefs put to the test – unlike the COs of WW1 and unlike Don and the COs of WW2.

So, a precocious six year old in Cardiff, and a quietly inspiring ninety seven year old in Hull – just two of the many highlights of the first week of the tour – and showing that it seems the play has a wider age range than I could ever have imagined…

A quick whizz round part of the Larkin Trail in Hull before I leave;  oh and a peek at the Turner Prize shortlisters in the Ferens Gallery – and I can’t leave Hull without mentioning another highlight – my wonderful hosts Sue and Gary – who left tea outside my bedroom door each morning. Sorry, that should be tea and biscuits! Wow, no AirBnB can match that kind of attention to detail!

Next stops: York then Lancaster then York again – not the Wars of the Roses, but a thriving community arts centre and two Quaker schools, at one of which my protagonist Bert Brocklesby’s granddaughter will be in the audience! Yikes. No pressure there then…

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