Actor Stanley Dawson (left), who played the role of General Archibald Wavell in Hands Up! For You the War Is Ended discusses a scene with artistic director Peter Cheeseman
I sent a note to the New Vic Theatre after publishing my initial post about their 1971 production of Hands Up! For You The War Is Ended.” I was interested in what had become of the interview tapes made during creation of the play.
A warm response came from Romy Cheesemen, who was married to creative director Peter Cheeseman. Since his death in 2010, she has been acting as honorary archivist of the Victoria Theatre Archive held at Staffordshire University’s Thompson Library (Special Collections).
She wrote, “Peter would be so gratified to know that his documentary work with local people still has resonance today. He always believed that people’s personal stories and experiences were important and that a theatre subsidised by its own community should find ways of valuing local people and celebrating their stories. Having lived through the war as a boy, Hands Up was Peter’s favourite of the 11 documentaries that his company created. For him it was an unforgettable experience meeting and talking with those ex-POWs and their families, and one that he valued all his life.”