A War of Two Halves turns the clock back a century

Football can often can be described as a war – and the clock turns back a century for a show at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

The year is 1914. Edinburgh’s Heart of Midlothian Football Club have won 19 of 21 matches and stand on the brink of becoming Scottish league champions. In a remarkable show of comradeship and courage, 13 of their players volunteer to serve together in McCrae’s Battalion destined to fight in France.

This is their story; an evocative and dramatic journey through Tynecastle Park led by the players/soldiers in a unique site-specific performance. Follow The Hearts from the football fields of Gorgie, to the battlefields of the Somme.

Following its debut at the Edinburgh Fringe 2018, and a second staging in the lead-up to Armistice Day in November 2018, A War Of Two Halves returns to play at Tynecastle Park for the Edinburgh Fringe 2019.

Written by Paul Beeson and Tim Barrow, and featuring a cast of young Scottish actors, A War of Two Halves is directed by Bruce Strachan, artistic director of Nonsense Room Productions.

All Edinburgh Theatre awarded the August production five stars, citing its ‘devastating emotion’ and stating ‘the sincerity, emotional directness, and beautiful staging of A War Of Two Halves deserves to transcend sporting allegiances.’

Fringe audiences called it ‘a moving story, brilliantly performed’ and ‘poignant yet funny’ and ‘a Fringe must’, stating ‘the superb acting made you feel the emotions these young players were going through’ and ‘5 stars. If you are a football fan, interested in history, or just have a heart, don’t miss A War Of Two Halves.’

Director Bruce Strachan said: ‘We are greatly honoured to be returning to Tynecastle Park with the remarkable story of “the bravest team” that is absolutely synonymous with Edinburgh and Heart of Midlothian Football Club.

‘Hearts fans will know of McCrae’s Battalion – here is another chance to really understand their story. For a wider audience, the opportunity to see a behind-the-scenes view of a football stadium in a dramatic retelling of historical events will be a truly unique theatre experience.’

Lianne Parry, head of heritage at Hearts, is looking forward to welcoming audiences to their stadium, the historic Tynecastle Park.

She said: ‘We are delighted to welcome back A War of Two Halves to Tynecastle Park this August, following the incredible success of the show last year.

‘Supporters, players and staff all saw the show take on particular poignancy as it comes to life in the very ground the team left in 1914, with action taking place throughout the stadium. Sensitively told and beautifully arranged, this is a unique performance that everyone should have the chance to experience.’

A War of Two Halves plays at Tynecastle Park from Wednesday 7 August to Monday 26 August, with numerous shows each day (not Sat 10). The production is suitable for ages 12 and upwards. Fans of all football clubs are welcome.

For tickets contact https://www.heartsfc.co.uk/events/awoth