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Athletics Coach Presents 1936 at the Arcola

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Tom McNab, internationally renowned sports coach and novelist will be presenting 1936, his play about the Berlin Olympics, at the Arcola Studio in East London from 6 to 24 April.

McNab first made his name in the world of sport as coach to the British Olympic bobsleigh team and the silver-medal winning England squad in 1992’s Rugby World Cup. His 1982 novel Flanagan’s Run has been translated into 15 languages and he was technical director on the Oscar-winning film Chariots of Fire.

1936 will be directed by Jenny Lee, artistic director of Attic Theatre Company, the company producing the show. It tells the story of the tensions in the Nazi party and amongst members of the International Olympic Committee in the lead-up to a Games fraught with controversy. The Nazis, convinced of the superiority of the Aryan race, allowed only Aryan sportsmen and women to compete for Germany and Hitler privately expressed his anger and embarrassment at the success of the black American athlete Jessie Owens, who won four gold medals at the Games. President Franklin J Roosevelt famously did not send Owens a congratulatory telegram following his medal wins, or invite him to the White House on his return to the USA.

The cast of nine will include Jim Creighton (seen most recently in Trevor Nunn’s Chichester production of Cyrano de Bergerac), David Baron (who appeared in Afterlife at the National Theatre in 2008) and Rolan Bell (Theo in EastEnders).


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