Sheffield Blitz remembered in Operation Crucible at Finborough

Operation Crucible

Commemorating the 75th anniversary of the Sheffield Blitz, and the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, Kieran Knowles’ debut play Operation Crucible, returns for a four week run at London’s Finborough Theatre from July 28.

It is a story of four ordinary men in extraordinary times… On December 12, 1940, more than 600 people lost their lives in over seven hours of continuous bombing by Germany’s Luftwaffe.

Their objective had been to wipe out Sheffield’s world famous steel works – the heartland of Britain’s munitions manufacturing.

The ruthless attack left Sheffield in ruins – destroying families, shattering a way of life, and changing the city forever.

At 11.44pm on the night of the raid, a single bomb reduced the Marples Hotel, which had stood proudly in Fitzalan Square, from seven floors to a 15-foot heap of rubble.

Only one of the 10 compartments in the hotel’s cellars withstood the blast. Within it, trapped, were four men. This is their story, from beginning to end…

Operation Crucible returns to London following an acclaimed national tour. It originally played a brief sold-out run at the Finborough Theatre in 2013.

Actor Kieran Knowles makes his professional playwriting debut with Operation Crucible. He is a graduate of Loughborough University, LAMDA, and the Royal Court Young Writers Programme.

Cast: Salvatore D’Aquilla. Theatre includes War Horse (New London Theatre), Still Life and Red Peppers (Old Red Lion Theatre) and The Way of the World (Chichester Festival Theatre); Kieran Knowles has appeared in The Bear, The Owl and The Angel (New Wimbledon Studio),The Winter’s Tale, The Taming of the Shrew (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Witches’ Promise (Birmingham Rep) and Waiting For Lefty (Theatre Royal Haymarket); Paul Tinto. Theatre credits Claustrophobia (To The Moon Theatre Company, Zoo, Edinburgh), Chariots of Fire (Hampstead Theatre and Gielgud Theatre); and James Wallwork. Theatre includes Darkness (Lakeside Theatre, Colchester, and Edinburgh) and My Beautiful Laundrette (Above The Stag Theatre).

Director Bryony Shanahan is co-artistic director of Snuff Box Theatre. Directing includes Boys Will Be Boys (National Theatre), Bitch Boxer (Soho Theatre, UK tour and Adelaide Fringe Festival), Quiet Violence (Camden Roundhouse) and Macbeth (East 15 Acting School).

In 2014, Bryony won a BBC Performing Arts Award to work at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester, where she assisted on Sarah Frankcom’s Hamlet with Maxine Peake as well as developing new Snuff Box piece Weald.

Operation Crucible runs at the Finborough Theatre from July 28-August 22.

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