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Killed: July 17th 1916 - Jack Studio Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

TO commemorate the centenary of World War One, Bang Theatre is presenting Killed: July 17th 1916 at the Jack Studio Theatre – from Tuesday, August 5 to Saturday, August 9, 2014.

Aye, best time of my life, all pals together, all soldiers. It was just a game then. I wish it could have stayed that way.

Kitchener called. Brave working men, often from the same town and factories, answered in their tens of thousands. They became known as the ‘Pals’ Battalions. During World War One over three million men were slaughtered in the fields of France. 306 of those men did not die for King and Country. No trial. No hope. No pardon.

They were executed by firing squad for desertion in the face of the enemy. For one terror stricken boy in khaki the end was a kitchen chair hidden in a French quarry. This is his story.

Billy Dean is a young volunteer soldier, who has been found guilty of desertion in the face of the enemy. The sentence: execution by firing squad 5.30am July 17th 1916.

Inspired by the eye witness account of Private P.J. Kennedy, 18th Manchester Regiment, of the execution by firing squad of a fellow soldier for desertion in the face of the enemy, Killed: July 17th 1916 was originally created by the Theatre in Education Company at the Belgrade Theatre Coventry and inspired by a book called The Thin Yellow Line Prologue: The Reality by William Moore.

The cast comprises Pearce Sampson (as Billy Dean), Mabel Wright (May Dean), Annabelle Green (Elsie), Tom Woodward (Tommy and Private Walsh), Jordan Alexander (Captain Howard), Neil Hobbs (RSM) and Samantha Roberts (Patriotic Woman).

Killed: July 17th 1916 is directed by Elizabeth Elstub with Assistant Director Amy Bowden. Set design is by Dave Benson, costume design by Costume Up, lighting by Tom Kitney and sound by Max Thompson.

Tickets: £14, £11 concessions – available from the box office on 0333 666 3366 (£1.50 fee for phone bookings only) or online at

Time: 7.45pm.

Also at the Jack Studio Theatre: Chekhov’s final masterpiece, The Cherry Orchard, in a new version by Writers’ Guild award-winning playwright Brendan Murray (July 15 to August 2, 2014).