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Lifeboat sails into community venues across Leeds

The true wartime story brings theatre to new audiences.

Lifeboat at WYP. Image Credit Jassy Earl Photography.

The inspiring tale of courage and friendship, Lifeboat, has set sail on its community tour from the Barber Studio at West Yorkshire Playhouse, helping bring theatre to new audiences in the city.

The story of two teenage girls who survived an incredible ordeal during the Second World War enthralled children at St Bartholomew’s C of E Primary School, who saw the production as it played at St Bartholomew’s Church in Armley. The show now goes on to visit venues in Hawksworth Wood, Chapeltown, and Rothwell in the tour’s final week.

Inspired by a true story, Lifeboat tells the tale of The City of Benares, a ship which set sail from Liverpool to Canada in 1940 carrying 90 evacuees. Four days into the crossing, the ship was torpedoed and sank, with only eleven evacuees surviving.

Lois Mackie as Bess Walder and Amy McGregor as Beth Cummings. Photograph: Anthony Robling

The production tells how Bess (played by Lois Mackie) and Beth (Amy McGregor) were kept alive by their courage, as they were stranded on an upturned lifeboat for 19 terrifying hours.

An immersive adventure beset with tragedy, Lifeboat is ultimately an uplifting story which captures the imagination through characterful writing and skilful delivery. Playful and spirited, the play demonstrates the resilience of friendship in the face of adversity and offers universal, timeless appeal in its heartwarming resolution. A buoyant evocation of childhood and a striking reminder of the extensive casualties of war, Lifeboat is a memorable voyage of discovery into the not-so-distant past, offering much that is relevant to the present.

West Yorkshire Playhouse’s production of Lifeboat was created by Catherine Wheels Theatre Company, and tours community venues across Leeds until Saturday 27 May;
Thu 25 May – St Mary’s Church (Hawksworth Wood), Fri 26 May – Mandela Centre (Chapeltown), Sat 27 May – Blackburn Hall (Rothwell).

Read our review of the show here.

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