This summer, internationally renowned Cornish theatre company Kneehigh is premiering a brand new show called 946, an adaptation by Michael Morpurgo (War Horse) and Emma Rice of Morpurgo’s The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips. 946 tells the little known story of the rehearsal of the D-Day landings, and of the 946 people who were killed during Exercise Tiger, as told in Morpurgo’s original novel.
946 echoes Morpurgo’s novel that follows the story of Lily, a young girl from Slapton forced to evacuate her home and leave behind her cat, Tipps. The show tells the story in a very real way, with the kind of storytelling sorcery Kneehigh is famous for. This production speaks to all ages, revealing the secrets the US and British government tried to keep quiet.
Joint Kneehigh Artistic Director Emma Rice and Michael Morpurgo workshopped the production of 946 with a team of performers at the theatre company’s famous barns on the cliff tops at Gorran Haven near St Austell. This is the first time that the War Horse author has co-adapted one of his own books for stage, and Morpurgo says of the experience, “There is no theatre company that tells stories more imaginatively, more unexpectedly than Kneehigh. 946 is a story that emerges not just from the legends and the rocks and the landscape, but is based on historical events that took place in and around Slapton as the Americans trained for the landings in France a year later. I have witnessed first-hand the way Kneehigh weaves a tale and makes it live on stage for us. For my story to play a part in this is simply a joy.”
Emma Rice says of 946, “It’s about English village life, the beauty of it, the danger of it and the capacity for it to change. The other thing I love about this is that my mum gave this story to me and said it was something she longed to see Kneehigh do.”
Kneehigh has enjoyed huge critical success in recent years with UK and international tours of Tristan & Yseult, Brief Encounter, Dead Dog in a Suitcase (and other love songs), and have been touring a version of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.
946 will be staged in the Asylum, Kneehigh’s award-winning, purpose-built tent and nomadic theatre space, in Cornwall’s Lost Gardens of Heligan near St Austell. The Asylum seasons are a chance for people of all ages to enjoy theatre at its most spellbinding and charismatic.
You can catch 946 at the Kneehigh Asylum from 25 July – 23 August. For further information and to book tickets, visit Kneehigh’s website at www.kneehigh.co.uk/show/946.php