Compelling play set in 1930s Europe opens in Sheffield this month

Dare Devil Rides To Jarama, a compelling world premiere based on the experiences of The International Brigades during the Spanish Civil War, shows in Sheffield this month as part of its UK tour.

Daredevil rides to Jarama
Daredevil rides to Jarama

Marking the 80th anniversary of the Spanish Civil War, Dare Devil Rides To Jarama hones in on the contrasting lives of Clem Beckett, a Lancashire blacksmith and star of the speedway track, and Christopher Caudwell, a renowned writer, poet and philosopher.

They were killed together at Jarama in February 1937.

With stirring song, poetry and compelling movement and dance, the production captures the raw emotions of the time, with musical direction from acclaimed folk singer John Kirkpatrick.

This play has particular resonance in our current climate as it examines how economic pressures in the 1930s contributed to a rise of intolerance throughout Europe.

Looking at the powerful political and economic forces that engulfed 1930s Europe, Dare Devil Rides to Jarama examines why hordes of ordinary people made the extraordinary choice to leave family and jobs to fight in a brutal war far from home.

When Spaniards rose up to resist General Franco’s military rebellion in 1939 it touched millions of people worldwide. Their heroic struggle alerted the rest of the world to the threat of fascism.

The play commemorates and celebrates the contribution and sacrifice of the Volunteer International Brigades, including 2,500 from Britain and Ireland.

Dare Devil Rides To Jarama aims to bring the full story of the compelling dispute to life in a powerful and thought-provoking new play that follows Townsend Productions’ critically-acclaimed United We Stand, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists and We Will Be Free.

Director Louise Townsend said: “This project is a tremendous opportunity to tell this very extraordinary story of exceptional people.

“The challenge is twofold, to do justice to their achievements and to reflect the dense, turbulent political and historical times.”

Writer Neil Gore added: “The play is an exciting and evocative piece about the incredible contribution made by the volunteers who made up the International Brigades to fight the forces of fascism and to uphold the power of democracy.

“It is also an important examination of the fascinating and life of Clem Beckett who achieved so much in a short time as a top speedway rider and on the Wall of Death around Europe.”

Dare Devil Rides To Jarama will be performed in Jarama in 2017. But you can see it in the Lantern Theatre, Sheffield, November 14-29.