It's Pompey's war! - New play to his threatre

Police outside student accommodation in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth on Friday Picture Ben Fishwick

Man arrested in Portsmouth explosives probe at Stanhope Road student block is released by police

An innovative new play will tell the true story of Pompey players who went to war after winning the FA Cup.

The New Theatre Royal has teamed up with Portsmouth Football Club to dramatise the real events which followed the club's famous 1939 victory - as the squad went off to fight in the Second World War.

The free performance, called The Missing Years, will feature real memories and its creators want it to be interactive, using multiple locations inside the theatre. Amber Dodd is managing and co-writing the project, and said she hopes the play will be something that can bring the community together.

'It is an amazing story,' she said. 'We want to rediscover the lost history of Pompey's cup-winning squad, and reveal what happened to them afterwards.

'Portsmouth's captain, Jimmy Guthrie, lifted the FA cup in 1939 only for it to remain hidden as bombs fell around the city. So this play will not just be about the team, but also how Portsmouth changed during those years.'

The Blues still have the record for holding the FA Cup for the longest period in history, because following their 1939 triumph, the competition was not played again until after the war.

The cup was famously displayed behind the bar at the Bird in Hand pub, in Lovedean, to protect it from the Blitz.

As the second of the New Theatre Royal's Living Memories projects, the play will include real accounts of people alive during the period.

Amber added: 'We are going to use all local actors and writers, and we are encouraging people from Portsmouth to send us their experiences and memories from the period.

'There will also be a living memories wall in the theatre, which will be added to as the production goes along.'

Pompey's education manager Clare Martin said: 'We are helping the theatre by reaching out to the community to collect memories and stories, and we have already had lots of people contact us. It will be a truly unique play when it's finished.'

To share your experiences, contact Amber Dodd at

The play will be performed twice on Monday March 7, at 2pm and 7pm, and booking is essential.

Call the New Theatre Royal on (023) 9264 9000.