SEBASTIAN Faulks’s critically acclaimed war novel Birdsong is being brought to the stage at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry in the new year.
The West End play by the Original Theatre Company and Birdsong Productions Ltd is touring for the first time - one year ahead of the Government’s planned centenary commemoration for the beginning of the First World War.
In pre-war France, young Englishman Stephen Wraysford embarks on a passionate and dangerous affair with his host’s wife, Isabelle Azaire.
As civil unrest mounts and war breaks in on the idyll of his former life, Stephen finds he must now lead his men through the carnage of the Battle of the Somme and the sprawling tunnels that lie deep underground.
Faced with unprecedented horror, the war-hardened Stephen clings to the shrinking memory of Isabelle as his world explodes around him.
The novel has been adapted for the stage by Rachel Wagstaff and opened at the Comedy Theatre in London in 2010.
She said: “Birdsong is in an incredibly powerful novel and, through the story of Faulks’s fictional characters, we can understand what it might have been like for individuals caught up in this most extraordinary period of world history.
“Given the approaching centenary and the passing away of Harry Patch, the last surviving British Army Veteran to have fought in the Great War, it seems more important than ever that the courage and sacrifices of those who fought and fell for future generations are not only remembered, but understood.”
The tour, which stops at the Belgrade from January 29 to February 2, is supporting the Help For Heroes charity. Tickets are now available. Call 024 7655 3055 or visit www.belgrade.co.uk