The Last Song of Oliver Sipple – a new play telling the true story of an unknown gay hero is coming to the London stage.
In 1975, Oliver Sipple grabbed the arm of Sara Jane Moore as she fired at President Gerald Ford. His heroic act spared a nation the trauma of another presidential assassination but after being outed in the press, Sipple was not celebrated for his actions.
Instead, he found his privacy invaded and a rift opened with his family, who had been unaware of his sexuality.
The Last Song of Oliver Sipple premieres at the King’s Head in Islington on July 13 and 14 as part of the Playmill festival of new writing. It is written by OFFIE nominated playwright David Hendon, directed by Peter Taylor and stars Jackson Pentland as Sipple.
David Hendon said “This is an incredible story but hardly anyone is aware of it and, 30 years after Oliver Sipple’s death, we wanted to bring him to the much wider attention he deserves, the play examines the nature of heroism, the right to privacy and how a single random incident can change a life forever. We are very excited it has been chosen by the King’s Head for the festival and look forward to introducing audiences to Oliver and his remarkable story.”
Sipple, a former US marine who fought in the Vietnam war, was a close friend of celebrated LGBT activist Harvey Milk. The play examines the key events of his life before and after the assassination attempt until his death in 1989.
Pentland said: “I’m really excited to have the opportunity to play Oliver Sipple and to bring this important story to life. I think audiences will find many of the themes and issues discussed very relevant to today.”
The Last Song of Oliver Sipple is at The King’s Head Theatre 13th – 14th July 2019.