In March, I chaired perhaps my largest post-show Q&A ever when Soldier On had its London premiere at the Playground Theatre. Now, as it returns from a sell-out tour and transfers to The Other Palace, I’m so pleased to be invited back to talk to this incredible company…
What happens when a company of ex-soldiers becomes a company of actors? A theatrical band of brothers.
Soldier On is inspired by the stories writer/director Jonathan Lewis (writer of multi-award-winning Our Boys) workshopped with British servicemen and women and their families over a five-year period.
The result is “as funny as it is heart-breaking” and 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, and how they cope with the emotional, mental and physical effects and stresses of modern military service and its after-effects.
In a bold initiative, and putting the play’s premise into action, the cast includes ex-service personnel as well as professional actors from producer Amanda Faber’s award-winning theatre company, The Soldiers’ Arts Academy cic.
The mixed cast brings a veracity and a genuine emotion seldom achieved in theatre. Audiences say they cannot tell who is an actor, or who is the veteran, and that question has them gripped from start to finish. The play employs music, dance and mixed media. It is by turns viscerally realistic, shockingly funny, and intensely emotional.
Lewis says, “Soldier On celebrates the power of Story in the healing process. Soldier On is here to say: You are not alone.”
Well known as an actor whose many screen and stage credits include Soldier Soldier, Jonathan Lewis’ playwriting credits include his 1991 hit Our Boys, based on his own experiences in a veterans’ hospital, which was revived in the West End in 2012; I Found My Horn; and A Level Playing Field.
After the performance of SOLDIER ON on Monday 29 October 2018 at The Other Palace, I’ll chair a post-show Q&A with writer/director Jonathan Lewis, Amanda Faber and members of the company.