John Bassett as Mad Jack Churchill and Howard Blackburn

EXETER FRINGE: Spaniel in the Works dramatise the remarkable lives of sporting adventurers from

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John Bassett as Mad Jack Churchill and Howard Blackburn

Gloucestershire-based theatre company, Spaniel in the Works are bringing two special sport-based performances to the Exeter Fringe Festival.

Mad Jack and the Severn Bore looks at the life of Colonel Jack Churchill, commando, longbowman, champion bagpipe player, but who is best known as the first man to surf the Severn Bore. Known as “Mad Jack” he led his men into battle carrying a claybeg sword saying: “Any man who goes into battle without his sword is not properly dressed.”

The Fearless Navigator looks at the remarkable life of Howard Blackburn who, in 1899, sailed single handed across the Atlantic from Gloucester, Massachusetts to Gloucester, England despite having lost his fingers 15 years before through frostbite. The performance tells of Blackburn’s life, adventures and the hardships he endured.

“The performances are looking at two remarkable men, who both carried out amazing feats, overcoming different kinds of adversity” said writer and actor John Bassett.

“For Jack Churchill these include escaping from concentration camps, playing the bagpipes at the top of Vesuvius and surfing the Severn Bore. For Howard Blackburn it is the loss of his fingers and how he overcame this disability to achieve something which had only been managed by five other people.”

The performances are part of a series of events created by the company for the Olympics entitled Forgotten Sporting Heroes of Gloucestershire. They have been created by Spaniel in the Works in partnership with Gloucestershire Archives and the Museum in the Park, Stroud and are supported by the Arts Council.

• Both performances take place at the City Gate Hotel, Exeter.
Mad Jack and The Severn Bore can be seen on Monday, June 27 at 6pm, Tuesday 28th June 28 4pm and Wednesday, June 29 at 6pm.
The Fearless Navigator can be seen on Monday, June 27 at 4pm, Tuesday, June 28 at 6pm and Wednesday, June 29 at 8pm. Tickets for performances are £ 5 and are available from the box office on 01392 667080

Follow the Exeter Fringe on Twitter @exeterfringe

Gate House Hotel, Exeter

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