Emma’s role in York epic Blood + Chocolate

Actress Emma Tugman.
Actress Emma Tugman.

By Graham Chalmers

One of York’s most exciting theatrical projects of the decade will feature a member of staff from Harrogate Theatre.

Emma Tugman, actress and theatre administrator, is taking a major role in Blood + Chocolate - a citywide adventure through the streets of York.

Featuring a cast of 200 plus nearly 600 community volunteers, the show explores the inspiring stories of the workers and owners of York’s chocolate factories during the First World War alongside those of the young men involved in the terrible conflict.

Emma said: “ I’m really excited to be part of it and to have the opportunity to work with Slung Low and Pilot Theatre. The vision and ideas around staging this production are fantastic and the script is characterful and poignant.”

Written by Olivier Award Winning writer Mike Kenny (The Railway Children, York Mystery Plays 2012), this exciting promenade production is directed by Alan Lane, artistic director of Slung Low, one of three dynamic theatre companies behind this ambitious and visually stunning extravaganza.

Lane’s cast will be led by the quartet of professionals, Richard Standing, Luke Adamson, Lisa Howard and Jo Mousley.

Emma will feature prominently among the hundreds of amateurs as Nurse with scenes set in a field hospital at the height of the war.

She said: “There’s quite a bit of choreography for all the nurses, which is a little challenging, but it should paint a vivid story picture of a hospital ward.”

The story of Blood + Chocolate was inspired by true events during the First World War.

During the Christmas of 1914 the Lord Mayor of York sent out a chocolate tin, designed and made at the Rowntree’s factory, to every soldier from York who fought at the front.

As news came of the young men who would never return home the women of the city stepped into the jobs at the factories and the landscape of the city changed forever as its people struggled to reconcile beliefs of conscientious objection against family loyalties.

Bringing the city of York alive, the epic production will give audiences a unique experience as they follow the story through the city’s streets as well as listen in via headphones to the characters’ intimate conversations.

Co-presented by Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal, Blood + Chocolate will have its world premiere in the City of York on October 3.

For tickets, call York Theatre Royal Box Office on 01904 623568 or visit www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk