Theatre Royal Wakefield, Oct 22/23
Actor Andy Daniel reprises his role as Private Tommo Peaceful, a young soldier about to be shot at dawn in WW1 in this stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo’s highly acclaimed book. Here he explains more about the story and the extraordinary character he plays.
You’re starring in Private Peaceful, can you tell us a bit more about what the show is about? Private Peaceful is an adaptation of the novel by Michael Morpurgo. It is told from the perspective of Tommo Peaceful, an underage British soldier, as he waits to face the firing squad at dawn. Tommo is desperate not to waste the time he has left to him and relives his whole life with the audience, remembering his childhood in Devon with his best friend and brother Charlie and the love of his life Molly and of course going off to war.
What draws you back to this character which you’re reprising? Well first of all the play is such a wonderfully constructed piece of theatre and it really does affect people a great deal. So, it really is an honour to be asked to do it again! Tommo is just such a kind and fun character to play and you really do get to create a warm, strong bond with audience throughout the show, which is really special.
This play runs in conjunction with the commemoration of World War One, why do you believe it’s important to keep stories like Private Peaceful alive? Well it is of course important to remember and honour those who fought in WW1 and to keep their memories alive. It was such a brutal and destructive conflict and we shouldn’t forget that we are fortunate to have avoided a conflict on a similar scale for the last 70 odd years. However, what makes Private Peaceful particularly important is that it highlights a part of the war that until very recently was forgotten or ignored; the execution of soldiers for cowardice. We shot 306 of our own soldiers in WW1, some of whom were clearly suffering from shell shock/PTSD, and the plight of young boys like Tommo should not be forgotten.
What do you hope the audience will take away from the show? I hope that in some way it makes people think about those who tragically lost their lives or their loved ones in that war a hundred years ago. But having said that, I hope they will enjoy the storytelling first and foremost! It is a piece of entertainment and, while the message of the piece is really important, I want everyone to have a good time and enjoy spending an hour or so with Tommo, who really is a sweet and rather funny person!
Tickets from 01924 211311