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Rothwell great grandmother to see play based on true story of tragic WW2 ship, which she almost boarded as a child evacuee in 1940

84 year old Rothwell resident, Audrey Brown was in the audience for the opening night of Lifeboat at West Yorkshire Playhouse, a play inspired by the true story of The City of Benares boat, which tragically sank in 1940.

Audrey, who is now 84, was due to travel on the ship, which was torpedoed on its voyage from Liverpool to Canada, tragically claiming the lives of dozens of child evacuees.

Audrey was seven years old when she and her older sister were set to make the voyage, however, in a twist of fate, a case of measles prevented the girls from their journey, ultimately saving their lives.

Audrey marked the moment as the Playhouse’s special guest, joining them in the audience for opening night. She will also be attending a performance at Blackburn Hall in Rothwell with her family as part of the production’s community tour.

Lifeboat, a West Yorkshire Playhouse and Catherine Wheels Theatre Company production, is the true story of two teenage girls who survived the wrecking of The City of Benares, which tours to community venues around Leeds.

West Yorkshire Playhouse’s Artistic Director James Brining said:

“We’re the theatre for the people of Leeds and Audrey’s experience highlights one of the reasons why this is such an important story for us to tell.

Our commitment to local communities around the city is deep and longstanding. By taking this production into local communities we’re able to share the truly inspirational tale directly with the people of our city: speaking to older members of the community for whom the Second World War is an actual memory; whilst also inspiring new stories amongst young people from both the Playhouse’s Youth Theatre and RJC Dance, who will be creating a companion piece to the show.

We are delighted to highlight Audrey’s story, and want to share this incredible tale of survival, friendship and courage with the people of Leeds.”

Lifeboat is in the Barber Studio from 2 – 13 May before touring to community venues in Middleton, Gipton, Armley, Burmantofts, Seacroft, Chapeltown, Hawksworth Wood and Rothwell.

Suitable for ages 8+

Click here to book tickets

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