Belgrade Theatre to Premiere PROPAGANDA SWING in September
The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry will present the UK premiere of Peter Arnott's gripping musical drama Propaganda Swing, playing on the Belgrade Main Stage for two weeks this September.
Directed by Belgrade Theatre Artistic Director Hamish Glen, Propaganda Swing is a captivating combination of WWII intrigue and drama set against a backdrop of glitz, glamour and Big Band swagger.
Propaganda Swing will run on the Belgrade Main Stage from Sat 13 - Sat 27 Sept after which it will transfer to Nottingham Playhouse from Fri 2 - Sat 18 Oct.
Throwing a spotlight on the gripping true story of 'Charly and his Orchestra', this compelling new play reveals the characters behind the story of how some of the greatest German jazz musicians of the day entered into a Faustian pact with the Fascists in order to continue playing their beloved music at the price of seeing it corrupted for evil.
The Nazis hated jazz - they saw it as decadent and impure. But one of them, Propaganda Ministry official, Karl "Charly" Schwedler, understood its true power. And he made it his mission to harness that power so the Nazis could use jazz as a weapon of war.
Peter Arnott said: 'I first came across the story of Charly and His Orchestra when I was book reviewing for a newspaper in Glasgow and I remember thinking that this was one of the most incredible stories I had ever heard. The play takes place in the early days of WWII when Lord Haw Haw was broadcasting from Germany to Britain and centres on a real-life Nazi Jazz Band who broadcast re-worked versions of popular jazz standards complete with viciously anti-Semitic lyrics. The Nazis loathed jazz and yet they knew how to harness its power as a form of light-entertainment. It was that paradox that struck me as incredible and I knew that within that paradox lay the origins of a fascinating human drama'.
This brand new co-production with Nottingham Playhouse follows the success of the two theatres' previous co-production of Charlie Peace: His Amazing Life and Astounding Legend which premiered in Nottingham in September 2013.
Featuring a talented cast of actor-musicians performing some of the greatest jazz music of the era, this powerful new production will see Chris Andrew Mellon return to the Belgrade stage in the role of Otto Stenzl following his acclaimed appearance in the Belgrade's 2014 Spanish Golden Age Season produced in association with the Theatre Royal Bath and Arcola Theatre London. He will be joined by Clara Darcy, whose previous theatre credits include the 2014 UK Tour of Brassed Off in 2014 and the Belgrade Theatre production of We Love You City in 2010. Completing the cast are Callum Coates as William Joyce/Lord Haw Haw, Miranda Wilford as Lala Anderson, Paul Lincoln as Heinrich Hinkel, Tomm Coles as Lutz Templin, Bradley Clarkson as Bill Constant and Jonny Bower as Charly Schwedler.
Design is by Libby Watson, whose previous Belgrade theatre credits include Marriage, Stars In The Morning Sky and Babylone. Lighting design is by Mike Robertson. The musical supervisor is Hilary Brooks.
Tickets for Propaganda Swing are available now from the box office on 024 7655 3055 priced from £9 - £21.25 or via www.belgrade.co.uk where cheaper tickets are available.