‘Stalin’s Favourite’

Here at Book Events for Children, whilst featuring a lot of events for younger children, we also feel it’s important not to forget teenagers and older children. That’s why I eagerly went to The Carriageworks in Leeds on a rainy January night to see Theatre Unlimited’s new play Stalin’s Favourite.

Theatre Unlimited is a touring theatre company, set up in 1998, with a strong educational focus. In 2010 they created ‘Living History’, with the aim of enriching the understanding of history for GCSE History students. The first two plays in the scheme (Not About Heroes and Defying Hitler) were very well received, with Defying Hitler described by The Sunday Telegraph as “compelling theatre, immaculately performed.” For their 2012 tour, they have revived Defying Hitler and introduced a new play Stalin’s Favourite. 

Rupert Wickham’s solo performance in Stalin’s Favourite is adapted from Orlando Figes’ book The Whisperers. The central character, Konstantin Simonov, is a writer and poet, whose poem ‘Wait For Me’ (published during the Second World War), captures the mood of the nation in wartime Russia. He is raised to prominence by Stalin, enjoying the trappings of wealth and privilege, although his rise to fame comes at a significant personal cost. Through fear of the brutality of the regime, Simonov silently accepts the treatment of his contemporaries; behaviour that haunts him in his later years.

The production is aimed at children aged fourteen and above but appeals to a much wider audience, as illustrated by the mixed audience at The Carriageworks. The production has just started a UK tour, which will conclude in London in March.

Please click on the link for more details about Theatre Unlimited

For information about future productions at The Carriageworks in Leeds, please visit

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