In partnership with The Belgrade Theatre in Coventry we are thrilled to present the UK premiere of Peter Arnott’s gripping WWII drama Propaganda Swing, which brings to life the gripping true story of Nazi jazz band, Charly and his Orchestra.
Propaganda Swing is a compelling new play which 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. Writer Peter Arnott explains what inspired him to write the play:
“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.”
The play features a talented cast of eight actor-musicians performing some of the greatest jazz music of the era. Playing Otto Stenzl is Chris Andrew Mellon. He will be joined by Clara Darcy, who starred in the 2014 UK Tour of Brassed Off. 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 and Jonny Bower as Charly.
Propaganda Swing will premiere at Belgrade Theatre Coventry 13 – 27 Sep and then be seen at Nottingham Playhouse 3 – 18 October.
Tickets for Propaganda Swing are available now from the Box Office on 0115 941 9419. Alternatively you can book online.
All photos by Nicola Young