Jesse Owens and flag Brundage Leni and Christine Christine fencing Jesse Owens running photographs by Neil McNab
1936 - A play about the Olympics
written by Tom McNab
directed by Jenny Lee
designed by Kevin Jenkins
lighting by Howard Hudson
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1936 - a play about the olympics


Lilian Baylis Studio at Sadlers Wells Theatre,
Tuesday to Sunday 18th July - 5th August 2012 at 7.45pm.
(matinees Thursday and Saturday 3pm, 4pm show Sunday).
To book call the ticket office on 0844 412 4300
or book online at the website of Sadlers Wells Theatre


A thrilling take on the events that led to the Olympics in Berlin in 1936.

The stakes were high, the game played out on the world stage.
In 1933 Hitler's position in Germany was precarious. Hosting the Games would provide valuable propaganda for the Nazis and strengthen his hold on power. But the German Jews were under threat, America was uneasy, the International Olympic Committee desperately out of touch.
Hitler's treatment of Jewish athletes was clearly unacceptable. Should there be a boycott - would it destroy the Olympic movement, who would lose their positions, who would gain? It all rested on a few influential men...

It was a battle of ethics versus greed.

Then there were the athletes, among them Jesse Owens - would they sacrifice Olympic success for an ideal?

The extraordinary power politics prior to The Second World War are played out by a nine actor cast, portraying the people whose decisions could have changed history.

The play is followed by a discussion led by Olympic coach and best-selling author Tom McNab with eminent sports personalities on the panel.

The following video extract is from the play in its first incarnation as a staged radio play in 2008 at the New Wimbledon Studio. (You will need the Apple Quicktime player).

1936 was first staged as a full length play in 2010, at the Arcola Theatre, London as well as touring to venues in the South East.

'A multi-faceted piece of drama.. outstanding debut.. the acting is universally impressive' McNab's piece consistently makes us think outside the timeframe of what he depicts. We are prompted to consider the many instances in which the Olympics have taken on a political dimension, from the civil rights 'Black Power' salute on the podium of Mexico 1968 to the human rights protests outside the Beijing Bird's Nest.
Jeremy Malies, Plays International

Reviews: What's on stage **** / Financial Times *** / Londonist


Please download the full list of Cast and Production team from the 2010 production.

 A Resource Pack is available for schools and educational organisations: please download the resume and the full pack.