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'No 60 to the Somme'- A World Premiere

WORLD PREMIERE OF PLAY TELLING REMARKABLE YET UNKNOWN STORY OF LONDON’S ICONIC DOUBLE DECKER BUS AT WAR. NUMBER 60 TO THE SOMME, a play with music celebrating the ‘only and best’ B-Type London bus by Greg Mosse and Carol Godsmark, has its World Premiere in Chichester on 3 – 7 November, 2015 at the Riverside Theatre, Chichester College, Chichester, West Sussex.

Based on a storyline from Carol Godsmark’s novel, Ghost Army, it tells the story of Jim Swift, a London double decker bus driver who, against his family’s wishes, enlists to drive his bus to the Front, one of the many leaving London streets in their red livery to Front Line battles for the First World War effort.

The Great War was an extraordinary mobilisation of men, women, animals and machines. The B-Type bus – open-topped, steel-wheeled, solid, dependable – was despatched in huge numbers to serve in Belgium and France. The vehicles became troop transports, mobile hospitals, pigeon lofts – and were put to any and every perilous use on the rough roads and tracks. This unknown story of World War One is brought to vivid life by an ensemble company directed by Roger Redfarn.

NUMBER 60 TO THE SOMME, a Chichester Community Theatre Production, is the story of one such bus and its driver Jim Swift, played by Brighton-based actor Ben Cassan – and the tragedies and astonishing fortitude of this terrible conflict.

Characters include Jim Swift’s father Alf, his brother Billy, Jim’s fiancée Vera Thwaites, Vesta Tilly, Marie Lloyd, both major music hall artistes, Jim’s captain, Captain Jackson, a bus inspector and an historian.

Roger Redfarn’s professional career includes 22 London productions including Dad’s Army with the original cast, Barry Manilow’s world premiere of Copacabana and What a Performance with David Suchet plus Chichester Festival Theatre’s Underneath the Arches and Song of Singapore. Roger was also responsible for national tours as well as productions in America, Australia, Canada, the Far East and Europe. Roger was the Artistic Director of the Theatre Royal Plymouth for ten years, Cameron Macintosh commenting 'There is no other theatre in the country that has the range of high quality theatre across its stages than this city enjoys.’ Roger is a Winston Churchill Fellow.

Greg Mosse is a creative writing teacher and author. Carol Godsmark is a journalist and author. Both live in Chichester and will be in conversation with Roger re the plays’ research and writing on November 4 at 6.30 pm prior to the performance.

Tickets £12/£10 via http://www.chichestercommunitytheatre.or

Number 60 to the Somme 3 – 7 November at 7.30 pm. (Sat. matinee 3 pm). Riverside Theatre, Chichester College, PO19 1SB Car park. For interviews (director, actor, co-authors) contact 01243 538810 0771 7777 478.

Posted on Wed, October 28 2015