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Sommer 14 - A Dance of Death - Finborough Theatre

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

COMMISSIONED by the Finborough Theatre from Cerberus Theatre, the UK premiere and the English world premiere of controversial German playwright Rolf Hochhuth’s Sommer 14 – A Dance of Death runs at the Earl’s Court venue from Tuesday, August 5 Saturday, August 30, 2014.

This new translation by Gwynne Edwards from a literal translation by Jennifer Bakst commemorates the centenary of the start of the First World War.

Wars do not break out, they are not brokered or declared as is always written. They are brought about by those who desire them.

In June 1914, Europe was enjoying unprecedented peace and prosperity. Little over a month later, the world was at war – and only a handful of people knew it was happening.

Inspired by the medieval mystery plays, Sommer 14 – A Dance of Death is an epic telling from a German and European perspective of the world’s descent into war. Employing the character of Death as a guide, the play uses the classic Danse Macabre structure of a series of searing vignettes to illuminate the people and the events that led up to the outbreak of the First World War.

The dead are amongst us, they are inside us. They demand of us that we answer for our crimes.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Germany was the cultural and economic envy of the continent – until Kaiser Wilhelm II and Admiral Tirpitz massively expanded the German Navy and sparked an arms race with Great Britain.

At the same time, leaders in Vienna and Berlin were convinced that a quick pre-emptive war was the safest way to deal with the military might of Russia and France.

Christopher Loscher directs a cast that includes Dean Bray, Sarah-Jayne Butler, Peter Cadden, Nick Danan, Edmund Dehn, Reginald Edwards, Tim Faulkner, Andrea Hart, Kirby Hughes, David Meyer, Stephen Omer and Henry Proffit.

With additional material by Mhairi Grealis, Sommer 14 – A Dance of Death is designed by Mike Lees and has music composed by Ermo Frankevyle.

For more information or to book, call the box office on 0844 847 1652 or visit

Also at the Finborough Theatre: Rutland Boughton’s record-breaking ‘music-drama’ The Immortal Hour (August 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25 and 26, 2014).