Sarah Singleton chats to Peter Hynds about his latest hard hitting production

It is Berlin, in 1934, and Max and his lover Rudy are recovering from a night of debauchery with a trooper when two soldiers burst into the apartment and cut their guest’s throat.

This shocking death on the Night of the Long Knives is the beginning of a nightmare odyssey through Nazi Germany, in a new production of Martin Sherman’s play, Bent.

TS Theatre will be performing the hard-hitting play for one night only, at the Platform, Faringdon Road, Swindon, on January 27 2018.

Written in 1979, the play explores the persecution of gay men in Nazi Germany, and their incarceration in concentration camps, where they were labelled with a pink triangle.

TS Theatre has never shied away from challenging plays and dark topics – previous productions have included A Clockwork Orange and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. This latest offering sheds an uncompromising light on one of the darkest periods in human history.

But company producer Peter Hynds, who set up TS in 2011, explained that despite the horror, the play explored love and tenderness, as Max meets and falls in love with Horst.

“It’s just a heart-breaking love story,” he said. “Max goes to a camp, and they are not allowed to touch or look at each other so they have to use words. And lots of the characters are not nice to begin with – but they redeem themselves.”

As well as producing the play, Peter is playing the character of Max. The director is Jane Dale, another long-standing member, and the company has welcomed three new members as the play has a cast of eleven men. One is Olie Hunking, who plays the camp kapo.

“I haven’t done any acting since I was at school but when a friend said he was auditioning, despite being nervous, I jumped at the chance,” he said. “I’m really interested in this period of history and the play is a really powerful story. I’m very excited to be a part of it.”

James Tutt plays Horst. He did drama at university but has not done any acting for some years, and said he was drawn by the power of the play.

The performance will be played in period costume, including Nazi uniforms and the striped uniforms of the camp inmates. Rehearsals stated on Remembrance Sunday, which proved a reminder to the cast of the many who died and the continuing battles against tyranny.

Peter, 42, who moved to Swindon from London 14 years ago, has written several plays too. TS Theatre has an impressive track record. Their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2012, in which all the mechanicals were played by women while both Titania and Oberon were played by men, was played at the invitation of Royal Shakespeare Company. Their productions have also been staged in Swindon, Bristol and London.

The play is suitable for people aged 16 and over, due to strong language, sexual references and scenes of violence. Tickets are £10-£12, available from