Cold War secrets of military base inspires thriller coming to Norfolk
- Credit: Archant
Hidden secrets, dark conspiracies, counter-intelligence and spies all feature in psychological thriller Anglian Mist, inspired by the top secret military past of Orford Ness, which is coming to Norfolk as part of an autumn regional tour.
Orford Ness, the National Trust property near Woodbridge in Suffolk, is noted for its beauty and wildlife but also for its mysterious past. The site of top secret research throughout the Cold War, it is a place steeped in secrets and mystery.
From early experiments in aerial warfare through the heightened tensions of the atomic age, Orford Ness played a pivotal – though little known – role in furthering advancements in weaponry technology.
The military history of the site dates back to 1913, when a large part of the Ness was taken over by the War Department. Experiments during the First World War included those on parachutes, aerial photography, bomb and machine gun sights and the development of camouflage.
Then during the Cold War the site became home to pagodas used for atomic bomb testing. Top secret and off limits, it became a place of intrigue and rumour.
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It's a landscape that holds a fascinating past and now, inspired by the still standing vast concrete pagodas and the desolate beauty, Tim Lane and Cordelia Spence, have written psychological thriller Anglian Mist.
Full of hidden secrets, dark conspiracies, counter-intelligence and spies, the play centres on Dr Valentine Scarrow an academic and and historian who specialises in Ufology and conspiracy theories, He begins a lecture on the secret research carried out on Orford Ness during the Cold War but is somewhat taken aback when a lady in the audience stands up and publicly takes exception to his claims regarding the true nature of the military installation on Orford Ness.
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What follows is tense and gripping thriller as a long-hidden Cold War plot is brought kicking and screaming into the light of day with chilling consequences for all involved.
Produced by Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company, Anglian Mist premiered with three sold-out immersive experiences in a secret bunker on Orford Ness itself back in June.
Now the play, which has been developed in partnership with the National Trust and The Garage in Norwich and supported by Arts Council England and Norfolk County Council, this weekend begins an autumn tour of 11 venues across the region.
Anglian Mist is the eighth production of Stuff of Dreams who have become known for new writing based around East Anglian history. Their revious productions have included the critically acclaimed Forgotten, the story of Peter Grimes and George Crabbe, its true author, and The Poisoners' Pact, about Catherine Frary and Frances Billings, the last women to be hanged in Norfolk.
The company's reputation for highly quality original writing inspired by local history has seen them nominated in this years Norfolk Arts Awards.
The Anglian Mist cast includes Norfolk actor Russell Turner playing the complex and enigmatic Yevgeny Markovich. He said: 'I am thrilled to be working with Stuff of Dreams, whose innovative, local new writing I have admired for some time. I am particularly excited to be playing Yevgeny, a character both complex and simple: driven by history and ideology, driven by love and compassion.'
Adrienne Grant plays the dark, scarlet-clad beauty Anna Rees in the play, while Matthew Barnes plays Valentine Scarrow, whose quest for the truth kick starts the events that unfold in the play.
'Valentine is an exciting character to perform, he's socially awkward and yet not afraid to do what he has to do to expose the truth,' he said. 'Without giving anything away the character is pushed to his limits in order to unveil the mystery with Anglian Mist.
'It's an amazing part to really get involved with that I've not seen with any character before. I've always loved the amazing variety of pieces that Stuff of Dreams produce and to have the chance to work with them is an incredible opportunity, especially seeing as it was Cordelia Spence and Tim Lane who inspired me to be where I am now, who are directing and writing the show.'
• Anglian Mist is at The Cut in Halesworth, on September 29 and Aldeburgh Jubilee Hall on September 30. The tour then continues to Beccles Public Hall (Oct 6); Bungay Fisher Theatre (Oct 7); Alderman Peel High School in Wells (Oct 13); Lowestoft Seagull Theatre (Oct 14); Westacre Theatre (Nov 3); Wortwell Village Hall (Nov 11) and St Peter's in Sudbury (Nov 29).