Exmouth showcases wartime police life

EXMOUTH will tonight showcase what life as a police officer was like in Devon during the air raids and perils of World War Two.

EXMOUTH will tonight showcase what life as a police officer was like in Devon during the air raids and perils of World War Two

The stories of two Devon bobbies who dodged the German bombs in 1943 form the basis of a new piece of theatre being premiered tonight, February 19, in Exmouth, with further performances over the next two days in Okehampton and Exeter.

Blackouts, Bobbies and Bombs has been put together by Devon and Cornwall Police's Heritage and Learning Resource Centre, based at Okehampton, and is an intergenerational project collecting memories from people who lived in Devon during the hardships of World War 2.

The project has focused on the experiences of two Devon PCs from the time, Ron Lee and Arthur Drew, with a team of youngsters and the Devon Youth Theatre involved in gathering information and interviews for the performance.

Mikhal Brandstatter, education officer and organiser of the project, said: "Nearly everything in the play actually happened and was told to us during the last six months.

"It has been a wonderful, enlightening experience for us all, especially for me, the children involved and the older people we have interviewed.

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"We held two wartime tea parties in Exeter and Okehampton and the stories we gained from local people were amazing.

"The intentions of the project are to honour memories and to breakdown stereotypes between young people, older people and the police and it has certainly done just that."

Blackouts, Bobbies and Bombs was made possible after funding from Heritage Lottery, the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council and Devon County Council, with professional script writer and director John Crosse putting the performance together.

Volunteers from throughout Devon and the Devon Arts in School initiative have also been involved in the project which has become a touring play.

And the production does not stop at the end of the performance. Award winning film maker Misha Vertkin, aged 18, has been recording the entire process of the play from start to finish and will be making a documentary DVD which will be showcased next month.

Once the project is complete the oral histories gathered, DVD and historic records will be archived as part of the constabulary's historic collection.

Tickets for all three shows are still available by calling (01392) 385214 or logging on to www.daisi.org.uk

Tickets can be collected from the box office of the respective venues.

Blackouts, Bobbies and Bombs:

Friday, February 19: Elizabeth Hall, Exmouth, 7.30pm

Saturday, February, 20: Octagon Theatre, Okehampton, 8pm

Saturday, February 21: Exeter Phoenix Theatre, Exeter, 7pm