EIGHTY years, almost to the day, from the outbreak of World War Two, celebrated Dorset playwright Peter John Cooper and local actor Trisha Lewis are bringing their play, Eve of War, to the Shelley Theatre in Boscombe on Sunday, September 8 for a one-off performance.

Eve of War is an important play about peace and war veering between intense emotion and outright slapstick humour.

The play asks: Is it possible to break the cycle of war that passes from one generation to the next?

Playwright Peter says: “I first wrote this play 36 years ago and, sadly, it seems even more relevant now that it did then. Essentially it is a human story of a woman, already damaged by the effects of the Great War now confronted with telling her small charge about the horrors that are to come.

“Eve of War” is based on true stories that I gleaned from family members and others about what it was like to live with the dread of impending war through those golden days of the autumn of 1939. My Mother was a Nanny in the nursery of a great house and Eve of War draws a little on her experiences.”

It requires an actor of great fluency and range to bring out all the subtleties and nuances. Trisha’s performance in Eve of War has been described as “a tour de force” Trisha is best known to audiences for her portrayals of Joyce Grenfell and other notable characters.

Peter John Cooper and Trisha Lewis have worked together on a number of projects over the years.

The play starts in September 1939, the eve of World War 2. Little Arthur gazes from his nursery window trying to make sense of the mad world of the grown-ups beyond. Nanny Eve knows she cannot hide the truth from him.

She fortifies herself with a swig from her special medicine bottle that she keeps hidden under her pillow and reaches for her book of stories of the Empire to explain what is about to happen. In a dramatic climax we come to understand the secret that Nanny herself has kept hidden all these years.

* Tickets are available from the Shelley Theatre box office or online shelleytheatre.co.uk