Actress set to take play about her days at RAF Neatishead to Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Former RAF Neatishead radar worker Rebecca Crookshank, who's now an actress revisit the former RAF A

Former RAF Neatishead radar worker Rebecca Crookshank, who's now an actress revisit the former RAF Air Defence Radar Museum to see the radar system she used to use and underground bunker where it was installed. She's putting on a play about her time in the RAF called Whisky Tango Foxtrot. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

In a fit of defiance and at just 16 she enlisted to join the RAF.

In a fit of defiance and at just 16 she enlisted to join the RAF.

She spent four happy years at RAF Neatishead working on the radar.

But Rebecca Crookshank's love for acting never foundered and now she is taking the play about her life at the RAF base to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Ms Crookshank is set to take her autobiographical production 'Whisky Tango Foxtrot', of which she is the writer and sole performer, to the festival in August.


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She spent the day retracing her steps to the RAF Air Defence Radar Museum, to help with the research of the play.

The production will take the audience through the varied life of the 34-year-old who said she owes so much to the military past which has paved the way to her on-stage ambitions.

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The actress said she grew up in a military environment, her father and grandfather were both Royal Marines.

Ms Crookshank's mother was a midwife and she said her parents' marriage breakdown was the foundation of her leaving.

'I needed to escape so I joined the Royal Air Force. Doing something really different seemed to be really exciting, school didn't really tick many boxes. I wanted to be as tough as my dad', she said.

The actress, whose team includes director Jessica Beck, added she wanted to join the RAF because it had the best uniform and due to her love of aircraft.

Through her four years working as an aerospace systems operator, she kept connected to her love of performance.

She was despatched to a remote radar site in the Falkland Islands, where she worked in operations and became a presenter for BFBS Radio, the armed forces' station, on her days off.

Ms Crookshank, who trained at the drama school Italia Conti after she left the RAF, also performed in the chorus of musical 'Half a Sixpence' at Theatre 101, founded at the former RAF Coltishall.

The climax of her time working in the RAF came when she was given a flight on a Tornado F3 craft.

'It was an incredible experience physically and emotionally', she said.

Ms Crookshank, who lives in East London, added she wouldn't get a thrill out of a fast car but, when it comes to fighter jets, she's on board.

The actress, who was born in Plymouth, said one of the important inspirations for her one-woman show is the first female CO at Neatishead, Joan Hopkins.

She appears in the production in a 'fairy godmother' role, telling Ms Crookshank to follow her own path into acting rather than the path of her military forebears.

Ms Crookshank, who has been in Casualty and 'Strange Kissing Woman' in Tim Burton's 'Alice in Wonderland', formed her own theatre business after her three-year course at Italia Conti, reaching out to school children where she lived in Devon.

The actress still teaches her students on a one-to-one basis online.

She hopes to bring her newest venture 'Whisky Tango Foxtrot' to Norfolk after its debut at Underbelly venue in Edinburgh from August 6 to August 30.

To find out more information about the play go to www.WTFtheplay.co.uk

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