If you thought that previous Child Laureate Michael Morpurgo's powerful War Horse story might have courted him more awards than any of his other 100+ books, you might be surprised to learn that Private Peaceful has racked-up considerably more literary awards than it's '80s counterpart since it was first published in 2003. Winner of the Blue Peter Book Award, as well as other accolades from Red House, Hampshire Book Awards and a California Young Reader Medal, Morpurgo's reflective and compassionate novel is all set to follow in the footsteps (or hoof marks) of the long-running stage puppetry-adaptation of the equine War Horse, with a short West End run later this year.
Again, as with the award-winning and absolutely-must-read War Horse, Morpurgo utilizes the horrors of the First World War as his source of inspiration and with telling effect after an emotional trip to the Belgian city of Ypres. Private Peaceful tells the story of a British soldier and trenchman, 'Tommo' (Peaceful). The book-cum-play relives the life of the young soldier facing the prospect of a court-martial by firing-squad. As he awaits his possible final calling, he contemplates his early school days in Devon, the death of his father, his loves and the many losses he witnesses during the war. Ultimately, Morpurgo's touching tale reveals just how pointless war is, particularly harrowing World War One and the sheer volume of young soldiers killed in battle or shot for desertion within their own ranks.
The Theatre Royal Haymarket in London's West End will present a limited two-week run for this new production, adapted and directed by Simon Reade. We have tickets now for shows running from 18th to 29th September, priced from £10 for Gallery seats up to £25 for Stalls and Royal Circles.