Stage is set for a tale of war

Alnwick Theatre Club is presenting Birdsong this summer.
Alnwick Theatre Club is presenting Birdsong this summer.

A theatre club is performing a tragic, wartime-set love story to coincide with the centenary of the Battle of the Somme.

Alnwick Theatre Club will present Sebastian Faulks’ Birdsong from Wednesday, August 24, to Saturday, August 27.

The story, adapted for the stage by Rachel Wagstaff, is based in the turmoil of the trenches starting, just before the big push for the Somme. It tells the tale of the young Lieutenant Stephen Wraysford (played by Nick Biggers) trying to come to grips with the meaning of war and his passionate love affair with Isabelle Azaire (played by Olivia Waller) six years earlier in 1910 in Amiens, when he was staying with Isabelle’s husband (played by Joe Towers) on a work exchange. The story is told in the memory of Stephen as he flits from the carnage of the battlefield to the solace of his love affair with Isabelle, before we reach the denouement in 1918.

It has only recently been released for non-professional groups to perform after an extensive professional touring production last year.

Peter Biggers, who is producing the play for the theatre club and co-directing with Glenda Fricke, is excited about the run of performances.

Peter said: “It is such a poignant time to be staging the play with the 100-year anniversary of the Somme this year. I hope we can do justice through the play to the memory of the thousands of young soldiers who gave their lives at the Somme.”

The play is a challenge for the actors as well as technically as it is predominantly set in and under trenches at the Somme.

Tickets for Birdsong, are available from Alnwick Playhouse box office, priced at £11 premier, £10 standard or £9 concessions. Suitable for age 15-plus.