Live Theatre in Hebden Bridge
about human shields in Iraq, by journalist, peace campaigner and human shield, Karl Dallas

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Into the War Zone by Karl Dallas,
performed by The Writers Company
(On Tour) 

Described by Telegraph and Argus commentator Emma Clayton, as "powerful, brutal, sometimes funny and always honest", touring actors par excellénce The Writers Company deliver a taste of danger and intrigue to picturesque Hebden Bridge, when they present the highly-acclaimed tragicomedy, Into The War Zone by Karl Dallas, about the Iraq War, on August the 17th, 8.00pm.

While millions of people worldwide joined the anti-war protests to make our concerns known, a small number of people went one stage further - they became what were popularly known as "human shields". Travelling in a double decker bus and two London cabs, a small number of concerned citizens (ranging from a 19-year-old factory worker to a 60-year-old former diplomat), travelled day and night across land and sea, with the sole intention of helping to save countless civilian lives, including women, children, and sick and elderly people, from the hazardous conflict set to ingulf the oil-rich Gulf-region.

A genuine "man for all seasons", astute songwriter, journalist, musician, radio presenter, and playwright Karl Dallas, presents us with a unique insight of what it was like to visit a faraway land in the name of global peace. As well as his first-class journalistic prowess, Karl was once a seal trainer with Billy Smart's Circus, and was said to be the inspiration of the film „Free Willy‰, when he released the seals to the sea after many years of exploitation, but his first love, is the theatre, and it's sheer versitility, to convey real life human stories that would otherwise, remain untold.

Inspired by personal experiences, Karl set the stage alight with this moving tale of humaniarian peace-seekers, further establishing his distinctive writing credentials.  Into The War Zone is about to begin its national tour, beginning in the green and pleasant landscape of Hebden Bridge, at the Trades Club, an atmospheric venue near the railway station. Easily accessible by train, the outstanding beauty of the Calder Valley exists in marked contrast to the wartorn Iraq visited by five hundred intrepid citizens, trying desperately to prevent a second Gulf War.

They might not have influenced global governements to change their minds, however war prevention wasn't their sole concern. It is a crime under international law to harm infrastructure critical to civilian well-being, but nevertheless, the American army targeted many such sites in the 1991 war, causing untold sufferering and death for millions of Iraqi civilians (half of whom were children). Strategically relocating themselves to locations such as water purifying stations, power plants, food silos, and oil refineries, undoubtedly saved countless civilian lives.

This doesn't mean the "shields" were anything like "superhuman". They were ordinary people like me and you. Amidst the chaos and the uncertainties of pre-war Iraq, Karl's witty tragicomedy delves deep beneath the soundbites and the spin, to explore the human weaknesses of humanitarian observers.

The frenzied lull of confusion and angst...... this was the calm, before the storm.

8.00pm Wednesday the August 17th 2005, Hebden Bridge Trades Club, Holme Street, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX7 8EE. Entrance, £5

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