Five D-Day Veterans, five breath-taking true stories
” A powerful sense of immediacy & involvement”
★★★★★ – Broadway Baby
“A must -see play that will stay with you forever”
★★★★★ – World at War
” Verbatim Theatre at it’s best”
★★★★ – Edfringe Review
“An almost unique piece that transcends theatre”
★★★★ – The Wee Review
“A powerful and emotionally charged play…brings alive the reality of warfare through an honest and sensitive portrayal of lived experience.”
★★★★ – Edinburgh Reporter
photo Nick Johns
Recipient of a Summerhall Lustrum Award
One of Fringe Guru’s top five recommended shows at the Fringe 2019
NEW TOUR FOR 2020
VE DAY 75th Anniversary Commemorative Tour
– dates to be confirmed. Please check back or email firstname.lastname@example.org for updates.
photos Michael J Oakes, Nick Johns & Veterans own
UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET THE VETERANS….. touring with us! Two of the remaining York Normandy Veterans together with the wives & widows of Veterans whose testimonies appear in the play,will make an appearance at select venues on the tour.
Depending on location schools can request a short Q&A with the two veterans when booking the show.
About the play
“I haven’t seen anybody dead before and we’re in the water wading to the shore and we’re literally brushing against…. bodies rolling in the surf – people that we know…eighteen, nineteen year olds –they’re people that we know…”
Evocatively built from the verbatim testimonies of the last remaining York Normandy Veterans by playwright Helena Fox, with a haunting soundtrack by Sam McAvoy, and atmospheric lighting design by Steven Woolmar, this important new play immerses you with surging immediacy into the lives of five ordinary young conscripts as they set out for Normandy, allowing you to experience through their eyes events of D-Day to VE Day, events that will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
Bomb Happy brings to life the verbatim first- hand accounts of the last five York Normandy Veterans (interviewed in 2016) , Smudger, Hank, Cookey, Bert & Merry, telling the story of the D-Day Landings and the battles to liberate Europe from the point of view of these raw young conscripts- lads from York, Leeds, Sheffield and London.
Having finally received the highest accolade for their bravery from the French Government over seventy years later in 2016 through the presentation of the Legion D’Honneur medal, the play also highlights the lifelong impact of PTSD /Conflict Trauma.
Bomb Happy is a verbatim play, written by Helena Fox, from the recorded interviews and personal memoirs of the last five York Normandy Veterans and originally produced by Everwitch Theatre in partnership with Helmsley Arts Centre. The play originally came about when the Veterans voiced their concern that their experiences – a critical moment in British History where so many young men lost their lives – would die with them. They believed a play documenting their experiences would help future generations understand the sacrifices made by many of their comrades, whose graves they visit each year on 6th June.
Meet the real soldiers behind
R to L: Ken ‘Smudger’ Smith, Ken ‘Cookey’ Cooke, Dennis ‘Hank’ Haydock, Albert ‘Bert’ Barritt and George ‘Merry’ Meredith. Photos courtesy of BBC Historian and Presenter Paul Reed
“The five veterans had voiced their concern that their experiences would die with them. Helena Fox has honoured them, both the young men who never came home and the veterans, by telling the old soldiers’ stories in verbatim form, giving equal measure to all five. Fox said everything they wanted to say, the veterans said immediately afterwards at Helmsley Arts Centre on the opening night, visibly touched by what they had just witnessed.” Review, York Press
Thanks to our supporters York Civic Trust, York Army Museum & York St John University Drama Department.
Thanks to our funders: