Bomb Happy




D-Day 75th Anniversary Commemorative Performances in partnership with York Civic Trust

14th – 16th June 2019  


Friday 14th June -7.30pm
Saturday 15th June – 2.30pm Matinee & 7.30pm
Sunday 16th June – 2.30pm Matinee & 7.30pm

“…it would be hard to imagine a more emotional experience at any Yorkshire theatre this season.” Charles Hutchinson, York Press

Purchase tickets here


photo- Michael J Oakes

This play about ordinary men in extraordinary times deserves a much wider audience…This really is a must see play, which will stay with you forever.”                       Paul Reed, BBC Historian, The World at War

Bomb Happy is a verbatim victory. It isn’t just another play about war; it is a treasure trove of priceless primary source material for the ages.”                                                               Richard Beck, Broadway Baby  -5 stars

“…it would be hard to imagine a more emotional experience at any Yorkshire theatre this season.” Charles Hutchinson, York Press

“An incredibly powerful and moving piece. Brilliant cast. Veterans story told in their own words. Do please see it if you can.”  Neil Foster, BBC Radio York, BBC Radio Leeds

“The production is stirringly acted by its young cast…Bomb Happy is rich in historical detail and offers a fresh perspective on an important historical event.”  James Ballands, British Theatre Guide


photo – Michael J Oakes

Following our sell-out Yorkshire tour in 2017 we are proud to be working in partnership with York Civic Trust,on 6 commemorative performances of Bomb Happy for D-Day 75, plus schools & cadet base tour with live-screening thanks to funding from Armed Forces Covenant

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.

BH head in hands dramatic
Photo: Michael. J. Oakes

“Bomb Happy follows each veteran’s journey from the D-Day landings to VE Day, and through battles in between to liberate Europe, and the drama of conflict acquires even more impact from highlighting the long-term impact of conflict stress/post-traumatic stress disorder on both veterans and their families.” Review, York Press

“What we see on stage are not worldly-wise old men reminiscing about the past but boys shipped to an unknown land being confronted with the carnage of the battlefield. This inspired device heightens the already vivid language and provides a powerful sense of immediacy and involvement.” Review, Broadway Baby

Helena Fox’s outstanding play is both a fitting tribute to these Normandy Veterans, and a credit to a younger generation who are helping keep the memories of those dark days of the Second World War alive for posterity… I hope this play is provided an opportunity to reach an even wider audience in the coming months, and years… ” Review, Carl Shilleto, Historian



Friday 14th June -7.30pm

Saturday 15th June – 2.30pm Matinee & 7.30pm

Sunday 16th June – 2.30pm Matinee & 7.30pm

To purchase tickets please visit:

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 touches on the lifelong impact of that iconic day for these incredible men, now in their nineties and living in Yorkshire.
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 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.





“Absolute first rate production, that fully deserved a standing ovation when I saw the show on its opening night. The performance of  Bomb Happy is not to be missed…” Audience Member, Major (Ret’d) Frederick Greenhow MBE

Helena Fox’s production of ‘Bomb Happy’ was simply incredible. Such a powerful and moving tribute to the veterans, three of whom were in the audience.” National Youth Theatre Actor, Alastair Coughlan


photo- Michael J Oakes

Meet the real soldiers behind

“Bomb Happy”


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


 UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO MEET THE VETERANS…..they’re on tour with us! The now three remaining York Normandy Veterans together with the wives & widows of Veterans whose testimonies appear in the play,will be in attendance at all venues this Autumn. Please come and say hello to them after the show!


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Thanks to all our funders and supporters above and to York St John University Drama Department.