Following its London opening earlier this year, the world premiere production of Farm Hall will have its Scottish premiere at Perth Theatre from Tuesday 3 until Saturday 7 October.
The debut play by Katherine Moar who studied History at the University of Edinburgh, the cast includes Scottish actor Forbes Masson returning to the Theatre where he began his career and performing on a Scottish stage for the first time in 20 years.
A familiar face to many from BBC comedy The High Life, as well as EastEnders and Catastrophe, Forbes Masson plays Hahn in Farm Hall. He is joined by William Chubb (The Sandman, Quiz, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell), who plays Von Laue, Alan Cox (Say My Name, Mrs Dalloway, Housewife, 49) as Heisenberg, Daniel Boyd (On Chesil Beach, Tiger House) as von Weizsäcker, Julius D’Silva (The Crown, The Ten Commandments), as Diebner and George Jones (The Mousetrap, EastEnders) as Bagge.
Commenting on his return to Perth Theatre, Forbes Masson, who was born in Falkirk said:
“I haven’t performed on a Scottish stage for 20 years, so I find it particularly poignant that it will be in the theatre where my career began. I had my very first professional theatre appearance with Joan Knight’s Rep company at Perth Theatre, so I have a particular fondness for the theatre and the city. I have a great many memories of working in the gorgeous theatre. Farm Hall is a truly great play, it’s a fantastic, entertaining, thought provoking and moving production and I am sure Perth audiences will thoroughly enjoy it.”
Inspired by true events, the play set in the country house where some of Germany’s finest scientific minds were held captive during the final days of World War Two, garnered outstanding reviews when it opened at Jermyn Street Theatre, directed by Stephen Unwin.
Farm Hall dramatises the thrilling story of Operation Epsilon: one of the most fascinating and unexplored episodes of World War Two. It is Summer 1945: Hitler is dead, but war in the Pacific rages on. The British government has detained six of Germany’s most gifted nuclear scientists – including three Nobel Prize winners – at Farm Hall, a stately home in Cambridgeshire. They entertain themselves with some redacted newspapers, a broken piano and a copy of Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit. But their tranquil summer is shattered by the news that the Americans have succeeded where the Germans failed. The United States has not only built an atom bomb, it has used one against Japan. Every reaction to the unfolding events was captured thanks to the British clandestine surveillance of their “guests”. Unbeknownst to the scientists, every inch of Farm Hall was bugged during their stay.
Playwright Katherine Moar said:
“I first heard about Farm Hall in Professor Kathryn Olesko’s brilliant class on nuclear scientists and dissent at Georgetown University. I read the transcripts from the British recordings all in one evening – I was hooked. These extremely intelligent, bored, funny, morally compromised men were plucked out of history at a pivotal moment and locked away for seven months. Their conversations ranged from the totally inane to the staggeringly significant. The first thing that struck me was that this could make a great play.”
The world premiere production of Farm Hall was staged at the Jermyn Street Theatre in early 2023.
Playwright Katherine Moar studied history at the University of Edinburgh and Darwin College, Cambridge. She is currently studying for a PhD at King’s College London. Farm Hall is her first play.
Stephen Unwin is an award-winning British theatre and opera director. He has directed almost 100 professional productions and worked with many well-established actors and singers, as well as developing the careers of many younger ones. In 1993, he founded English Touring Theatre, for whom he directed more than 30 productions, many of which transferred to London. He was Artistic Director of the new Rose Theatre in Kingston from 2008 to January 2014. Stephen has taught in conservatoires and universities in Britain and America. He has written 10 books on theatre and drama, 5 original plays and many translations.
Farm Hall is in Perth Theatre from Tuesday 3 until Saturday 7 October. For tickets and info visit perththeatreandconcerthall.com, call the Perth Theatre Ticketing team on 01738 621031 or visit the Perth Theatre Box Office (Monday to Saturday 10:00 – 16:00).