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The shadow factory - Howard Brenton

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The shadow factory
Howard Brenton
Paperback / softback
Nick Hern Books
UK Publication Date

Autumn 1940. The Battle of Britain rages.

Southampton is home to our only hope of victory: the Spitfire. But, in one of many devastating raids on the town, the Luftwaffe destroy the Woolston Supermarine Spitfire factory. The Government requisitions local businesses to use as shadow factories - but meets resistance. Fred Dimmock won't give up his family laundry for anyone.

As the Dimmocks, and other families, struggle to keep control of their lives and livelihoods, a story of chaos, courage and community spirit emerges.

Telling the remarkable story of how a city triumphed over adversity, Howard Brenton's play The Shadow Factory opened Southampton's brand-new theatre, NST City, in 2018, directed by Nuffield Southampton Theatres' Director Samuel Hodges.

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Howard Brenton was born in Portsmouth in 1942. His many plays include Christie in Love (Portable Theatre, 1969); Revenge (Theatre Upstairs, 1969); Magnificence (Royal Court Theatre,1973); The Churchill Play (Nottingham Playhouse, 1974, and twice revived by the RSC, 1978 and 1988); Bloody Poetry (FocoNovo, 1984, and Royal Court Theatre, 1987); Weapons of Happiness (National Theatre, Evening Standard Award, 1976); Epsom Downs (Joint Stock Theatre, 1977); Sore Throats (RSC,1978); The Romans in Britain (National Theatre, 1980, revived at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, 2006); Thirteenth Night (RSC,1981); The Genius (1983), Greenland (1988) and Berlin Bertie (1992), all presented by the Royal Court; Kit's Play (RADA Jerwood Theatre, 2000); Paul (National Theatre, 2005); In Extremis (Shakespeare's Globe, 2006 and 2007); Never So Good (National Theatre, 2008); The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists adapted from the novel by Robert Tressell (Liverpool Everyman and Chichester Festival Theatre, 2010); Anne Boleyn (Shakespeare's Globe, 2010 and 2011); 55 Days (Hampstead Theatre, 2012); #aiww: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei (Hampstead Theatre, 2013); The Guffin (NT Connections, 2013); Drawing the Line (Hampstead Theatre, 2013); Doctor Scroggy's War (Shakespeare's Globe, 2014); Lawrence After Arabia (Hampstead Theatre, 2016); The Blinding Light (Jermyn Street Theatre, 2017), The Shadow Factory (NST City, Southampton, 2018) and Jude (Hampstead Theatre, 2019).

Collaborations with other writers include Brassneck (with David Hare, Nottingham Playhouse, 1972); Pravda (with David Hare, National Theatre, Evening Standard Award, 1985) and Moscow Gold (with Tariq Ali, RSC, 1990).

Versions of classics include The Life of Galileo (1980) and Danton's Death (1982), both for the National Theatre; Goethe's Faust (1995/6) for the RSC; a new version of Danton's Death for the National Theatre (2010); and versions of Strindberg's Dances of Death (Gate Theatre, 2013), Miss Julie (Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, & Jermyn Street Theatre, London, 2017) and Creditors (Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, & Jermyn Street Theatre, London, 2019).

He wrote thirteen episodes of the BBC1 drama series Spooks (2001-05, BAFTA Best Drama Series, 2003).

'A bolshy drama… unearths a fascinating piece of local history'


'Ambitious and absorbing... mixes the intimate with the panoramic'

The Times

'Brenton is a master of portraying major historical episodes on an individual human scale... it's valuable that a play like this exists'

Financial Times

Keyword Index
World War, 1939-1945 - Great Britain - Drama.|Southampton (England) - History - 20th century - Drama.
Country of Publication
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