IT’S a Matter of Life and Death for the youngsters of Forest Forge Youth Theatre in a production being staged from tomorrow.

A Matter of Life and Death tells the story of Peter, a Second World War airman, who jumps from his burning plane to certain death. Although Peter miraculously survives the fall, his future survival is not set in stone and, as the play unfolds, a heavenly court proceeds to decide his fate.

Although a lot of people are familiar with the classic 1946 film starring David Niven, this adaptation for the stage by Kneehigh Theatre, first performed at the National Theatre in 2007, features a remarkable twist – there are two possible endings, one in which Peter lives, the other in which he dies. Both are rehearsed and it is the flip of a coin, live on stage, at the most pivotal moment in the play that seals Peter’s fate, a reminder to us about the fine line between life and death.

Rehearsals involved the cast researching their families’ wartime history.

Director Lucy Phillips said: “It’s been an emotional rehearsal process. Some of the cast have uncovered family stories they’d never heard before and it’s adding a layer of heartfelt reality to their performances.”

The play will be performed by a cast of 30 16-21-year-olds, many of whom have grown up in the youth theatre.

The company is open to all young people aged six to 21.

A Matter of Life and Death will be performed at the Crow Lane theatre from January 15-18.

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