About the Show
Real life stories performed by British Servicemen and women.
“I am Lance Corporal Charlie Fowler. I lost a limb serving my country in Afghanistan. You may have seen our story on the BBC 1 Documentary Theatre of War. We used theatre as part of our recovery process, which resulted in the creation of this award-winning play. Having sold out in London - playing to critical and celebrity acclaim – due to popular demand, we are now taking our play on a major UK and International Tour. We are the 'Regiment of the Wounded'.
The original concept for The Two Worlds of Charlie F came from executive producer Alice Driver in the winter of 2010. Driven by the belief that theatre can empower the individual, she set about designing a model that would see the process of theatre used to boost the confidence, self esteem and give a voice to the wounded, injured and sick (WIS) service personnel and veterans of the Armed Forces.
The goal was to create a company of WIS service personnel and with them, develop an original play based on their experiences. In partnership with The Theatre Royal Haymarket Masterclass Trust, The Royal British Legion and the MOD’s Defence Recovery Capability, the process of recruiting for the project at Personnel Recovery Units across the country took place. Trevor Nunn and General Sir David Richards came on board as patrons of the project and actor Ray Winstone headed to Tedworth House as an Ambassador to recruit the company. Together the whole project became known as the Bravo 22 Company.
It was paramount to the integrity and success of the project that the play be based on the real life experiences of the WIS service personnel and for them to perform it. With that in mind, writer Owen Sheers (playwright for the National Theatre of Wales’ production of The Passion and author of Resistance) and director Stephen Rayne (whose repertoire of work spans productions in the West End, the National Theatre and the RSC) spoke to each and every member of the company, recorded their stories and turned them into a play of real power and depth. This interview and sharing process took place between September and November 2011 following which a final script was written and given to the cast to be rehearsed in January 2012.
In total, 32 WIS personnel were involved in creative process, rehearsals and performances of the play. 12 WIS personnel and 5 actors comprised the final cast who performed at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 22nd January 2012. A further 2 WIS personnel remained involved in the project in technical and support roles.Both the matinee and evening performances sold out and garnered both public and critical acclaim. In fact, the production proved so successful that with the support of Masterclass and The Royal British Legion, the play embarked on a UK tour performing at the New Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham, The Sherman Cymru in Cardiff, The Pleasance Grand during The Edinburgh Festival Fringe and returning to the Theatre Royal Haymarket performing two sell out shows in September. It also won The Amnesty Freedom of Expression Award.
The process was fully evaluated by Leeds Metropolitan University: 50% of the participants explicitly and independently described a profound level of personal change through involvement in Bravo 22 Company, communicated through descriptions of the project as “life changing”.
The making of the play was filmed by Uppercut Films and made into the programme Theatre of War. It was nominated for a Grierson Documentary Award and opened Alan Yentob’s BBC1 Imagine series. The DVD is available to buy on Amazon. The script is also available to buy online.
Please note that the production uses some strong launguage and is recommended for ages 14+
"There’s no doubt the cast does the serious side justice, but it’s this effortless slip between sombre and hilarious that make the show so memorable." -The Journal
"It was very, very funny, very, very touching and I think everybody should see it." -Joanna Lumley
"The Two Worlds of Charlie F is theatre at its most direct, vital and moving. Inspirational stuff." - Michael Sheen
“This turned my life around. It's just being with the guys again, and just being able to talk to guys as well. That's better than any counseling that anyone tried to give me. This has put me straight, on the straight road." -Serving Soldier and cast member of The Two Worlds of Charlie F.
“I was just swept away. I thought I was watching a professional experience and yet the authenticity of what was happening was more exhilarating than we can ever encounter when professionals are talking about the subject of war and the aftermath of war. The authenticity of this was so, so deeply emotional, it was a profound experience.” -Sir Trevor Nunn
“They did absolutely brilliantly. So humbled, proud, amused. It was a fantastic evening.” -General Sir David Richards KCB CBE DSO ADC Gen
"I got to share my story ... I am convinced no matter the state of mind I may have due to my pain or disability, I know that I am not alone" -Corporal (Retired) Steve Shaw
"I thought it was incredible. Really raw and powerful. A lot of what goes on in Afghanistan is filtered out by the time it gets to the public, or even senior military officers and MPs, whereas the show provided a 'grassroots' presentation of what the lads go through." -Major Steve McCulley, Jan 2012
Mne Cassidy Little
Cassidy is a Royal Marine serving with 42 Commando, RM, Bickleigh Barracks, Plymouth. He was injured in Afghanistan in 2011 by an IED, these injuries extended to his lower limbs, spine, pelvis and his left eye. Cassidy is from Newfoundland, Canada. He was attracted to the Bravo 22 Company project because he has always had a lust for the stage. This project has given him something to pour his heart and soul into; a goal of which he is most proud. It has given him something to strive for and by being part of the forthcoming tour he can continue to focus on the future. He has also carried the Olympic Torch through Peterborough.
Corporal Stephen Shaw
Steve was in the Princess of Wales Royal Regiment before he was medically discharged from the military. He had an accident whilst driving a Snatch in Afghanistan, which rolled into a canal resulting in a fractured lower spine and neck injuries. He is now being rehabilitated in Worthing. He is very excited to be returning to Charlie F for its Canadian and UK Tour.
Lieutenant Colonel (retired) Stewart Hill
Stewart was in the Royal Welsh Regiment. He served in the UK, Germany, Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan. He is currently rehabilitating in Nottingham. On the fourth of July 2009, Stewart was leading 160 men in a close combat fight against the Taliban in some of the fiercest fighting seen by UK forces in Afghanistan. He led from the front. Eight hours later medics battled to save his life after shrapnel from an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) tore in to his brain. Promoted to Lieutenant Colonel he was unable to take command of his battalion due to his brain injury - he was destined for high-level promotion. He joined the Bravo 22 Company because he wanted to see how much he could push his boundaries. His life has improved significantly since being a part of the ‘The two worlds of Charlie F.’ He has regained his motivation, desire and appreciation of life. He likes to paint and write and runs leadership training. His artwork is available to buy after the show. For more information visit: www.stewarthill.co.uk
Rifleman Daniel Shaw
Dan was a soldier in the Infantry (The Rifles) before he was medically discharged. He used to be a machine gunner of an eight man section. Whilst serving in Afghanistan in 2009 he lost both his legs in an IED explosion as he went to the aid of a comrade in his platoon. He now lives in London. His participation in the production has helped him to become even more out-going and full of energy and is consequently on a work placement with a computer animation company and designing and writing his own cartoon about a double amputee with special powers.
Lance Corporal Maurillia Simpson
Simi is originally from Trinidad and Tobago. She has recently been medically discharged from the Royal Logistic Corps as a Driver Radio Communications Specialist and served in Iraq three times. Her leg was injured in 2010 when she was stationed in Germany whilst cycling to work. She has been rehabilitating at Headley Court. She always dreamed of joining the army and was inspired to come to England aged seven after she saw the Queen who was on a state visit. She lived her dream for 13years in The Royal Logistics Corp. She believes that being able to live your dream is a privilege and a gift, ought not to be taken for granted but to be cherished for a lifetime. Since performing on stage she achieved a place in the Paralympic Reserve Volleyball team.
LCpl Ashliegh Young
Ash is in the Royal Logistic Corps. He has served in Iraq, Northern Ireland and Germany. He suffered leg damage in 2006, whilst training at Pirbright and is currently rehabilitating in Peterborough. He was attracted to the Charlie F project because he thought it was something new. Since performing in January, Ash has spent time in the Battle Back Centre Project training in Adaptive Sports at Lilleshall and has also completed a work placement at Barclays Bank.
Darren "Swifty" Swift
Swifty joined the Army (Royal Green Jackets / now 2 Rifles) in 1982 after leaving school at 16 and during his third tour of Northern Ireland was involved in a terrorist attack resulting in the loss of his legs and various other injuries.
After being medically discharged from the Armed Forces in 92’ he has been working as a Film and TV Supporting Artist / Action Performer and as a Trauma Casualty Amputee for the Military and the Civilian Emergency Services. He has performed and toured with the National Theatre’s production of Travelling Lights.
He has participated in adventurous expeditions and sports including Skiing & Snowboarding, Canoeing, Rafting, Skydiving, Hand-cycling and Climbing and mentors for the Not Forgotten Association which is a unique national tri-service charity which provides entertainment, leisure and recreation for the serving wounded, injured or sick and for ex-service men and women with disabilities.
Although originally from London he now lives with his wife Sarah and daughter Isabelle in the Lake District.
Bombardier Gareth Crabbe
Gareth was a Bombardier in the Royal Artillery based in Larkhill, Salisbury. He has served in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq. He was injured in 2007 whilst on exercise commanding a 105mm light gun which left him needing spinal disc replacement. He is delighted to be part of Bravo 22 once again and is eager to get on the road.
Lily trained at Margaret Howard Theatre College. Lily’s dance credits include: Cabaret Dancer (Green Room Cabaret Club), Rolling Back The Years (UK Tour) Twenty Twenty Live Tour (02 Academy). Lily’s acting credits include Bex in Paper Fortunes (Canal Cafe Theatre) and commercials for Channel 5 and Sony. Lily is also part of a comedy cabaret show The Ruby Darlings (Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Park Theatre), which she co-writes and performs in. Her choreography credits include Alix (Music Promo), Twenty Twenty (Music Promo Kerrang! No.1) A Midsummer Nights Dream (Theatre Royal Haymarket). Lily was part of the original production of The Two Worlds of Charlie F as the choreographer and is very excited to be back choreographing and performing for the tour.
Miriam trained at the Guildford School of Acting. Her theatre work ranges from Bristol Old Vic's ‘The Ghost Train’ to Ibsen's ‘Playing with Fire’ at the Young Vic.
She was most recently seen in London as Elisabeth and Mary in her one woman show ‘Prostitutes Mary in May’, where she received an Off West End Theatre Awards nomination for best female performer.
Other notable roles include Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth (UK Tour), Kate Mundy in ’Dancing at Lunghansa’ (Lancaster Dukes Playhouse), Flora in ‘A Site Ache', Sarah in ‘The Lover’ by Harold Pinter (European Arts Company), Juliet Margaret Cameron, the 19th Century Photographer for BBC Radio 4 and Mary Anning, the fossil Hunter for the BBC.
She has written, directed and performed for Play on Words Theatre, for whom she is a director. www.miriamcooper.co.uk
Owen’s theatre work includes MAMMA MIA, Father Alex, International Tour, dir. Paul Garrington, BLOOD BROTHERS, Narrator, WestEnd, dir. Bob Tomson/Bill Kenwright, BLOOD BROTHERS, Mr. Lyons, UK Tour, dir. Bob Tomson/Bill Kenwright, DON’T DRESS FOR DINNER, Bernard, Jumeirah Theatre, Dubai, dir. James Horne, FAB FOUR, Paul McCartney, Tour of Italy, dir. Fraser Grant, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, Bottom, Tour of Italy, dir. Fraser Grant, REDNEX AND POLITICS, Tony, The Pleasance, Edinburgh, dir. Will Scarnell, THE DUTCH COURTESAN, Tysefew, Wimbledon Studio, dir. Alex Chisholm.
Repertory seasons at the following venues: Wolverhampton Grand; Taunton Brewhouse; The Gala Theatre, Durham; Middlesbrough Theatre; The Lyceum, Crewe; Queen’s Theatre, Stoke.
Roles include: HAY FEVER, Simon Bliss, dir. Howard Ross, ABIGAIL’S PARTY, Tony, dir. Howard Ross, TAKING STEPS, Tristram, dir. Hugo Myatt, A MURDER IS ANNOUNCED, Patrick, dir. Howard Ross, THE EDGE OF DARKNESS, Ivan Livago, dir. Paul Mead, A SHRED OF EVIDENCE, Inspector Beecroft, dir. Howard Ross, ANAGRAM OF MURDER, Det. Insp. Morgan, dir. Nick Barclay, WAIT UNTIL DARK, Mike, Trenton, dir. Howard Ross, FATAL ENCOUNTER, Howard, dir. Hugo Myatt, PRIVATE LIVES, Victor Prynne, dir. Howard Ross.
His TV work includes Private Shaw in WESTERN LIGHTS (HTV); Gala Announcer in DIVE (BBC2) and various roles in hidden camera set-ups for THE FRIDAY NIGHT PROJECT.
On radio Owen is the voice of Chief Inspector Fang in the BBC series THE SCARIFYERS.
Teri Ann Bobb-Baxter
Teri trained at the Arts Educational Schools London, graduating with a BA Hons in Acting. Theatre includes: #IAMENGLAND (Talawa Theatre Company at Sadler's Wells), The Day the Waters Came (Theatre Centre), Dancing Dog Gets a Credit Card (Soho Theatre). Workshops include: Sylv in East Masterclass with Linda Marlowe (Theatre Royal Haymarket). Roles whilst in training include: Victoria in Victoria, Ophelia in Hamlet. Teri is delighted to be making her touring debut with The Two Worlds of Charlie F.
Tom trained at Central School of Speech and Drama. Theatre credits include The Judas Kiss (Hampstead Theatre, UK tour, Duke of Yorks Theatre), As Is (Finborough Theatre), The Wind in the Willows (Theatre 503), Othello, Hippolytus, Ajax, Antgone (international tours with Altitude North Theatre Company). Film and television work includes Call the Midwife, The Silver Goat, The Proxy, Salting the Battlefields and The Truth About Stanley.
After graduating from The University of Exeter where she studied drama,
Venetia trained at The Oxford School of Drama. Her work in theatre includes A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Blenheim Palace), Attempts on Her Life (Hampstead Downstairs), To Kill a Mockingbird (York Theatre Royal, UK Number One Tour) and Twelfth Night (The Rose Theatre, Bankside).
In film Venetia has recently played the lead in Ben (directed by BAFTA winner
Michael Stevenson) and The Underwater Realm (shot entirely underwater and
directed by David M Reynolds).
She has also appeared in various audio books and radio plays for the RNIB and BBC.
Tomos Eames was born in Cardiff and is a fluent Welsh speaker. He attended the three year acting course at the Central School of Speech and Drama. Also training through a summer exchange project in the MXAT Moscow.
Theatre credits include: Trwy'r Ddinas Hon (Sherman Theatre Wales), Rape of The Fair Country (Theatre Clwyd) Spirit of the Mimmosa (Theatre Clwyd) Deffro'r Gwanwyn (Theatre genedlaethol Cymru)
Film credits include: Resistance Big Rich Films, Say Nothing (Short), Pride Proud productions and The Best Possible Taste BBC.
Television credits include: Siblings for the BBC and Gwaith Cartref for S4C.