The Good Scout
theSpace at Surgeons Hall (Grand Theatre)
2nd – 24th August (not 13th)
20.20 (80 mins)
Inspired by the amazing true story from the 1930s, when Lord Baden-Powell and Joachim von Ribbentrop, Hitler’s London ambassador, instigated exchange visits between British boy scouts and Hitler Youth, in expectation that they would influence one another.
In Bassington, England, the local troop play host to a cycling party of Hitlerjugend – but are the German boys cyclists or ‘spyclists’? For Will and Jacob, two Rover Scouts on the cusp of manhood, it is a visit that will change their lives forever. As war looms, a heart-wrenching, darkly humorous drama about espionage, a scout’s honour and forbidden love unfolds.
This timely story, exploring a secret corner of British pre-war history, comes as fascism is again on the rise in Europe. In 1937, Hitler Youth were invited to various parts of the UK with their bicycles and cameras. MI5, alarmed by Baden-Powell’s reverence of Hitler, had them watched.
In Tamworth, Staffordshire, the half-German scoutmaster saw himself as a local Commandant and was eventually imprisoned as a threat to the nation. Glenn Chandler came across the story of the Hitler Youth visits by chance and thought it too good to pass up. This is the first ever play based on this astonishing historical record. The grandmother of one of our young German actors was in the Hitler Youth and he has drawn on many of her experiences for his role.
It is the latest Edfringe show from Boys of the Empire Productions, Sandel (2013) Lord Dismiss Us (2017) and Kids Play (2018) which won the Broadway Baby Bobby Award for Best Play on the Fringe. It is written and directed by Glenn Chandler, the creator of Taggart.