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BLOG: The King's Speech - By Lisa Wakely

The King's Speech at Frinton Summer Theatre 2023 By Lisa Wakley

"It's fairly well-known that I had wanted to write something about King George VI ever since "Bertie" became my boyhood hero for handling his stammer a great deal better than I was handling mine." David Seidler, the writer of The King's Speech, once admitted.

Twelve years ago, we were transported to a significant time in Britain when King George VI overcame his stutter to lead the country through WW2 with a historic speech. The film, directed by Tom Hooper and written by David Seidler, follows the story of Prince Albert and his unexpected ascension to the throne as King George VI in 1936.

However, struggling to communicate effectively due to his speech impediment, Bertie hires Lionel Logue, an Australian actor and speech therapist, to help him overcome his stammer. An unexpected friendship develops between the two men as Lionel uses unusual methods to teach Bertie to speak confidently and find his voice as a leader.

George VI's story held a lifelong importance for David Seidler, the British-born screenwriter of The King's Speech, who had taken inspiration from the King's struggle during his own childhood difficulty with a stammer. Seidler researched the script in the early 1970s after contacting Lionel Logue's surviving son, who agreed to provide access to his father's notes. The request was declined by the Queen Mother, who asked that the work be postponed until after she died in 2002. While it is a hugely captivating film, especially because it is a true story, it also has a lot of practical purposes as a guide to public speaking, and there are many lessons to learn from the challenges that King George VI overcame during his journey to becoming an effective public speaker. The main hurdles of the film are King George VI's struggle to learn to trust his own voice. Throughout the film, he learns to become comfortable in his own skin and accept his faults, which helps him to overcome his stutter.

It certainly wasn't surprising to learn that the film was a critical success and won four Oscars and seven BAFTA awards for Seidler and his team. The film's success encouraged producers to bring the story to the stage as initially intended. The play made its world premiere in February 2012 in London's West End. Although it is faithful to the original film, the stage adaptation allows striking sets, intimacy, and the commanding presence of the actors to create an emotional theatrical experience.

It may be a play with a proud title, but it summons universal themes most of us can relate to - the panic of embarrassment, the obstacles faced with family and the true value of having someone believe in you when you don't believe in yourself. The feeling is precious and gifts us with the confidence that we so often need. During the film, one of the main reasons that Bertie developed his stammer and fear of public speaking was because his previous public speaking failures caused him to lose confidence in himself and resulted in him giving poor speeches because of it. Perhaps it is a reminder that running away from our problems will only make things worse, not better.

Director of the stage play, Alison Reid, shared her inspiration for taking on this project.

I'm interested in the play because of the extraordinary parallels with the modern-day monarchy and politics - with American girlfriends/wives, coronations, abdications and scandals, fighting extreme right-wing politics and keeping a united Europe in the face of war. The sacrificing of people to keep the power of the 'family' together. But mostly because of the relationships - unhappy brothers, the underdog coming good, the humanity of a person thrust into a job that they are neither expecting nor prepared for. Overcoming personal issues of self-worth, the deep trauma of a speech disorder, psychological therapy, and finally discovering the power of true friendships no matter who you are or what social status you have.

The King's Speech at Frinton Summer Theatre 2023

Frinton Summer Theatre look forward to welcoming this heart-warming production to their stage.

Don't miss out before it sells out! Tickets are on sale now and can be booked here:

The Kings Speech

The McGrigor Hall, Frinton Summer Theatre - 11th July - 15th July

Tues - Sat 7:30pm | Sat 2:30pm

Frinton Summer Theatre Contributor, Lisa Wakely, Writer. Lisa Wakely is a talented writer and performer from Essex. Her passion for writing and teaching performing arts is matched only by her adventurous spirit, which includes heart-pumping activities like skydiving and wing walking - all for raising money for charity. She's a true force to be reckoned with. Her boundless energy and unwavering determination are nothing short of awe-inspiring.

Like the sound of The King's Speech? Book Folk at Frinton Summer Theatre 2023
Frinton Summer Theatre 2023

If you like the sound of The King's Speech, you may also be interested in our Oliver Award Nominated production of Folk, a new play with songs inspired by a true story.

The songs that unite two grieving sisters are collected and 'tidied up' by Cecil Sharp in this historical drama. Join us for this charming evening of music and love. Tickets are on sale now!

The McGrigor Hall Ticket Prices

Evenings £20-25 | Matinees £18-23

Season Discount - Get 10% off when you book a ticket for each show at The McGrigor Hall.

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