Flare Path (2018)

“I was very moved by the play,” said Prime Minister Winston Churchill. “It’s a masterpiece of understatement.

But we are rather good at that, aren’t we?”

Jun 30th to Jul 7th 2018

Written by Terence Rattigan

Directed by Richard Warren

Lincolnshire, 1941. Home to RAF bomber squadrons, flying high-risk nightly sorties, deep into German territory. At this stage of World War II, the survival rate for bomber crew members was 50%. But what was the toll on the people they left on the ground, night after night: crew mates, wives, lovers, friends? The people who lived under the flight path, counting the crews out into the night sky, and anxiously waiting to count them back in as dawn broke?


Flare Path is a moving tribute to the heroism of the young bomber crews who flew hazardous overnight missions during World War 2 - and the bravery of the loved ones who waited for them to return each morning. Based on his own experiences as a young Flight Lieutenant, Rattigan's classic ensemble drama deftly wraps the wartime tensions around a poignant love triangle that pits patriotic duty against personal desire.


This production marks the centenary of the founding of the Royal Air Force in 1918. It has particular local relevance because during the war, Baginton Airport was used as a Polish bomber base, and part of the local churchyard is devoted to Polish airmen who lost their lives flying from there.


We are proud to dedicate this production to Geoff Bennett, the founder of the Criterion Theatre and who from 1941 served as RAF air crew member and navigator throughout the war.


There will be smoking on stage under The Smoke-free (Exemptions and Vehicles) Regulations 2007.