Wartime production needs a leading man

John Kipling
John Kipling

An ambitious drama group production of the story of a famous author’s wartime tragedy has hit a stumbling block.

Warkworth Drama Group is about to start rehearsals of My Boy Jack.

But it still needs a young man to take on the lead role.

The play features the First World War battlefield death of the son of the writer Rudyard Kipling.

Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe took the role when the play was adapted into a critically-acclaimed film and screened by the BBC.

Leading the search for someone to step into his shoes is Ralph Firth, who is directing the Warkworth production, which will be staged in September.

He said: “We are looking for someone in his late teens or early 20s for the part of Jack.

“He need not have had any acting experience but will have to have the desire, commitment and enthusiasm to help us do justice to David Haigh’s magnificent play.”

Anyone interested in taking on the lead role can contact Ralph on 01665 712957 or email ralphfirth@aol.com

The play tells the story of Rudyard Kipling and his grief for his son, John, who died in the First World War.

The title comes from Kipling’s 1915 poem, My Boy Jack.

John was 17 when war broke out in August, 1914.

His father was keen that he should see active service. But the young Kipling was rejected by the Royal Navy due to short-sightedness and was also initially rejected by the Army for similar reasons.

However, due to his father’s influence, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the 2nd Battalion of the Irish Guards.

After training, he was sent to France in August, 1915, and was reported injured and missing in action the following month during the Battle of Loos, just a few weeks after his 18th birthday.

According to reports, a shell blast had ripped off his face. With fighting continuing, his body was not identified.

His death inspired Rudyard Kipling to become involved with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and write a wartime history of the Irish Guards.