by Rachel Harper
B Wondering what these buttons mean? Read about How Multiplay Drama Works.
Cast: 14-21f 0-6m (all-female cast possible)
Performance fee: £70 per performance (plus VAT where applicable)
An upbeat and empowering wartime tale about teamwork, collaboration and beating the odds.
It’s 1943, World War II rages on, and the men are gone. It’s left to the ‘women in the workmen’s boots’ to pick up the pieces in the factory. They’re being relied upon to build the planes that could win the war, and they take the responsibility seriously.
On this particular day, they’re attempting to build a Wellington bomber in record-breaking time: under twenty-four hours. As temperatures rise and prejudices bubble up, will they be able to pull together in time?
Wellington 24 was first performed by the students at Lady Eleanor Holles School in Hampton, as part of the Write the Girl project.
Music: Wellington 24 includes performances of three songs from the period, sung by the cast. The sheet music for these songs is included at the back of the full script at no additional charge.
Content guidance: This play contains some violent language.
About the author
Rachel Harper is a writer and actor born and raised in Wrexham, North Wales. Rachel’s debut full-length play, the darkly comic Rattled, ran at the Old Red Lion, London, in 2019 earning her an OFFIE nomination. Since then, she has gone on to write original comedy for BBC Wales, has several comedy dramas commissioned to pilot with various independents, and has written many episodes of the BBC medical drama Casualty.
Interview with Rachel Harper
Wellington 24 was first performed as part of the Write the Girl scheme, a partnership between schools and theatre professionals to support playwrights in developing the meaningful stories for young women. What drew you to propose and write this story?
I was working with a cohort of young women and I wanted something that emboldened and empowered them, so a show about women taking over men’s work and challenging gender norms felt right. The show is also based on the experiences of my dear Nan who was one of the women working on the bomber in twenty-four hours. Her story was fascinating and every anecdote, joke and journey is drawn straight from the truth of her experiences. I felt her story was one that deserved telling!
This play is set in a bomber factory in 1940s wartime Britain. How do you think young people will connect with these stories?
I think at a time where we are not only seeing the rise of women in every workplace, but also the unity of women working together to make a better future for our young girls growing up in this world, the themes of the play are still very much relatable.
What role do the songs play in Wellington 24?
The songs for me are a major part of the bond and unity created by these women. The women function as one, supporting one another for the most part; they are a chorus of voices working together to boost morale and show the world what they can do. Bonding all of that together with music felt natural.
Do you have any advice for actors performing the play, or for directors staging it?
Be as brave as you can, have as much fun as you want, and enjoy yourself off stage as much as you do on stage. Be creative, inventive and bold and do what feels right with the text.