Preview: Danelaw at the Old Red Lion Theatre

Danelaw The Old Red Lion Theatre
Danelaw The Old Red Lion Theatre

Peter Hamilton (The Poetry of Exile, Bridlington) returns to the Old Red Lion Theatre with a new adaptation of his groundbreaking play Danelaw, combining his trademark absurdist writing style with a fierce political and social breakdown of the far/alt-right.

Originally staged in 2005 at the White Bear Theatre, this updated version has adapted to the times, when the idea of a splintering white-supremacist state in East Anglia seems closer to possibility than ever before.

An aristocratic civil servant working for MI6 is tracking down trouble-makers of the far right, and poses as an embittered racist in order to lure a group of disaffected, working-class, white men into a plot to set up the Danelaw, a white-supremacist state in East Anglia. As this ludicrous plan unfolds, it engulfs both civil servant and his prey in unforeseen violence and chaos.

Danelaw is loosely inspired by the true story of an attempt by the neo-Nazi group Combat 18 to establish a white-supremacist homeland in East Anglia in the 1990s, with Chelmsford as the capital. This ambitious project failed to materialise, however, when the leaders of the group were involved in a gruesome murder committed on waste ground in Harlow over an internal party dispute.

Hamilton is once again joined by director Ken McClymont, former artistic director of the Old Red Lion, whose recent credits include A Small House at the Edge of the World (Museum of Comedy, 2018) and Bottalack O’Clock (Old Red Lion, 2016). Peter Hamilton is the Leeds-born writer known for Basildon (White Bear Theatre, 2009) and Bridlington (Rosemary Branch Theatre, 2015). Hamilton’s writing spans decades and has previously explored themes of disillusion and mental illness in Switchboard (1997) and The Reappearance of Christ in the East End (2005). Previous credits also include The Poetry of Exile (2017), Playground (2015) and Skara Brae (2007).

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