Monday, 7 May 2012

1936: A Play about the Olympics

ATTIC Theatre Company presents 1936: A Play about the Olympics

Former Olympic Coach Tom McNab’s portrait of the 1936 Berlin Olympics

Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadler’s Wells 18th July – 05th August, 2012

PRESS PERFORMANCE: Friday 20 July 7.45pm

World-class athletics coach and award-winning writer Tom McNab depicts the lead-up to one of the most controversial sporting events in history. 1936 conjures up the conversations and conflicts leading up to the Berlin Olympics, as seen through the eyes of American journalist William Shirer. Juxtaposing scenes between Hitler and Goebbels with the discussions taking place in the International Olympic Committee and the American Amateur Athletics Union, the play reveals the political and cultural tensions surrounding the event and highlights the stories of the athletes involved, with Jesse Owens at the centre.

The Berlin Games were the first time that the Olympics were used as a powerful political tool for propaganda. In spite of Hitler’s treatment of the Jews and Jewish athletes, and lengthy debates amongst influential figures surrounding the Games, no boycott took place. Could the cancellation of the Games have changed world history? 1936 is a pertinent reminder of the political dimension of the Olympics, from the Civil Rights ‘Black Power’ salute of 1968, to the murders at Munich in 1972 and the human rights protests outside the Beijing Bird’s Nest, as the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games begin.
Every performance of the play is followed by short film excerpts from Leni Riefenstahl’s Olympia (1936) and a discussion chaired by Tom McNab with a panel drawn from cast members, historians and ex-Olympians such as Peter Radford and Geoff Capes.

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