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First World War play in Romford encourages its audiences not to forget the soldiers' sacrifices

PUBLISHED: 15:00 05 September 2019

Peter Gill starring as Tommy Atkins in his play Meet Tommy Atkins which is coming to Brookside Theatre. Picture: SOS Film & Photography

Peter Gill starring as Tommy Atkins in his play Meet Tommy Atkins which is coming to Brookside Theatre. Picture: SOS Film & Photography

Archant

A wartime play that features the plight of an ordinary soldier serving during the First World War is coming to Romford.

Meet Tommy Atkins is a wartime play which will soon be showing at Romford's Brookside Theatre. Picture: SOS Film & PhotographyMeet Tommy Atkins is a wartime play which will soon be showing at Romford's Brookside Theatre. Picture: SOS Film & Photography

Actor and musician Peter Gill wrote his wartime play, Meet Tommy Atkins, for the centenary commemorations of the First World War.

He told the Recorder: "What I try to illustrate is the story of an ordinary man and how the war affected his life - not just during the period of conflict but in the decades following.

"I felt that a play needed to be written focusing on those men that returned to rebuild the country.

"In many ways when we remember the war we forget these men and I wanted to put that record straight."

The play takes the audience through Tommy's experiences in the trenches and his battles at the Somme, Passchendaele and Loos.

"I think it's important for audiences - especially young audiences - to be able to 'meet' in the context of this play a real person that they can relate to as perhaps their grandfather or great grandfather," said Peter.

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"Someone that can then be related back to the stories that they have heard and read about.

"Men lost their lives in the Great War, but those that returned also lost a great deal and often they are forgotten.

"These men returned and built the country and world we live in today - they should absolutely not be forgotten."

Meet Tommy Atkins is Peter's second play written in the context of the First World War and he has been performing it since 2014.

Speaking about feedback from the play, Peter said: "I think the best thing I ever had said to me after a performance was 'Thank you so much, that made me laugh and cry, but best of all it was as if it was my own father talking to me again.

"'You brought him back into my life for an evening'."

Meet Tommy Atkins will be at Brookside Theatre in Eastern Road on Thursday, September 26.

Call 01708 755775 or visit brooksidetheatre.com for tickets.

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