Paralympics success story is played out on stage

The Incredible Doctor Guttman to be staged at Chesterfield Pomegranate Theatre on November 4.
The Incredible Doctor Guttman to be staged at Chesterfield Pomegranate Theatre on November 4.
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Amazing feats by competitors in the Paralympic Games kept the nation hooked during the summer of sport.

But who was responsible for launching this sporting triumph nearly half a century ago?

Spectators will get the chance to find out when Chesterfield’s Pomegranate Theatre hosts The Incredible Doctor Guttman this Sunday, November 4.

The new play, written by Nicholas McInerny, tells the story behind Stoke Mandeville hospital getting ready to stage the first games for ex-service men and women in 1948 and the event’s pioneer Doctor Ludwig Guttmann.

One of Guttmann’s patients will be played by professional, international wheelchair-basketball player, turned actor, Andy Dear.

The play was the brainchild of producer Karen Simpson, who began working on the project three years ago when she was living in Oxford. She said: ‘When I first started to tell people about my idea for a new play based on Ludwig Guttmann, everyone I met outside of Stoke Mandeville said “ who?”

“Even though he lived in Oxford for most of his life it was really hard to get anyone to take the idea seriously but maybe I’m a little bit like Guttmann. I don’t like to give up on a good idea!’

Earlier this year, Karen who is an experienced theatre director and producer was successful in attracting funds from the National Lottery to develop the play with TV and theatre-writer Nicholas McInerny. Since then they have been working with staff from Stoke Mandeville, ex-patients and people who knew the man to try and capture what made him so special.

The Incredible Doctor Guttman will be staged at 8pm on November 4. 8pm. Tickets are £15 (adults) and £8.50 (child). Call 01246 345222 or visit chesterfieldtheatres.co.uk.