Kneehigh Theatre returns to Berkeley Rep with a production set on the southwest English coast in the run-up to the D-Day landings, 946: The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips. Artistic director of Kneehigh, Emma Rice adapted the story with its author Michael Morpurgo. It explores life in a small town as it’s disrupted and changed forever by war.

There’s more information about the production at the Berkeley Rep website.

Kneehigh has a tradition of presenting shows that intermix drama, music, and dancing – and in this production, one of the main characters, a cat that goes missing, is actually a puppet. Emma Rice says Michael Morpurgo’s books (which also included Warhorse) present a challenge: “Well he always writes about animals, and it’s very hard to get a cat to perform on stage, financially, as well as… cats do what they want, so puppets are a very good solution to that. Any excuse really to have a cat on stage is very pleasurable to me. And we’ve got a dog, and we’ve got some sheep and some chickens. And it’s lovely, you know, it really paints that picture of the rural community so delightfully.” During World War II, as children from London were being evacuated to the relative safety of the countryside, the townspeople of Slapton had to leave their homes so the allies could practice for D-Day. “It’s about the American GIs that came over towards the end of the war to help us win the war,” Rice explains. “These young American men came to England and were posted in very rural communities. And on this one day there was a big tragedy – I’m not going to go into it, because it would be a spoiler. But it’s a fact that was hidden by the British government until very very recently.”