Ever heard the expression reach for the stars? Back in 1934, that’s just what German rocket engineer Gerhard Zucker did with his radical new idea for delivering letters at high speed over long distances – rockets!
The true story of Zucker’s dramatic attempts to send two rockets full of letters on a 1600 metre flight path between the isles of Harris and Scarp has become the stuff of legend on the islands, as stories have been passed down through the generations.
It is those stories that form the basis for an immersive new family theatre show, suitable for anyone aged six years and over, which is coming to Falkirk Town Hall.
Writer and director Lewis Hetherington said: “It’s a family show; I really like the idea that a young girl might go with her grandad and they will both get something very different from it.”
The show uses drama, music and movement to tell the incredible story of the ill -fated experiments, with Hetherington sharing credits with designer Ailie Cohen, composer MJ McCarthy and movement director Kane Husbands.
It isn’t giving the game away to say that the experiments ended in failure – on both occasions the rockets went up in flames and Zucker’s vision for the future of communication exploded into thousands of pieces.
But Lewis is keen to explore it from the point of the view of those living on the islands at the time. So the drama centres around a mother and daughter and looks at how the excitement opens the daughter’s eyes to a new world.
Lewis said: “I’ve spent a lot of time in Harris and often heard this crazy story. But it struck me as something bigger than that.
“For Gerhard, it was his life’s work. He really believed in it.
“It’s easy now to shrug it off but at the time it was hugely important. It was mentioned in Parliament and funded by the Post Office. It was exciting for people to feel they were at the centre of change.”
Rocket Post will be delivered at Falkirk Town Hall on Tuesday, October 17 at 6.30 pm.
The production is supported by a family workshop on Sunday October 15 from 10.30am-noon, which is free to ticket holders.
To book a space contact firstname.lastname@example.org. For details visit www.nationaltheatrescotland.com.