Armed Forces play wins theatre award

The cast of 'The Two Worlds of Charlie F' were yesterday presented with Amnesty International's Freedom of Expression Award for their portrayal of conflict, injury and recovery, and the challenges faced by members of the Armed Forces and their families.

The Two Worlds of Charlie F opened at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London for two shows in January 2012, with critics praising the authenticity of the play. The production then embarked on a small UK tour visiting Birmingham, Cardiff and Edinburgh, where audiences have met every single performance with full-house standing ovations.

The award, which recognises an outstanding play carrying a human rights message, was presented to all those involved in the production on the roof of Amnesty's Scottish headquarters in Edinburgh.

The Two Worlds of Charlie F is a soldier's view of service, injury and recovery. Moving from the war in Afghanistan, through the dream world of morphine-induced hallucinations, to the physio rooms of Headley Court, the play explores the consequences of injury, both physical and psychological, and its effects on others as the soldiers fight to win the new battle for survival at home.

Performed by Bravo 22 Company, The Two Worlds of Charlie F is the ninth recipient of the award. The 2012 scheme saw a record number of entries, with 112 productions nominated.

Bravo 22 Company was set up by the Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust and the Royal British Legion, in partnership with the Defence Recovery Capability, to aid the recovery of wounded, injured and sick Service personnel using a theatrical learning environment.

The project offered the personnel a chance to be part of a professional theatre company in which they would rehearse and produce a new piece of theatre based on their own experiences of service, injury and recovery. These same Service personnel perform their story on the stage.

Director Stephen Rayne commented:

"This is a wonderful honour and a tribute to all who worked on the project, but above all to the soldiers and their families who were willing to share their stories with us. Without their willingness to open their hearts and minds to us and to trust us to create a piece of theatre from their experiences none of this would have been possible. Their honesty, fortitude and courage in the face of dreadful injuries has been a shining example to us all."

Sue Freeth, Director of Operations at the Royal British Legion, added:

"First and foremost this is a project to aid the recovery of wounded, injured and sick members of our Armed Forces. That the resulting play has received so many accolades including the prestigious Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award is very welcome indeed."

The play will close with two shows in London on Sunday 9 September at the Theatre Royal Haymarket.