Soldier On playwright Jonathan Lewis knows all about the transition from soldier to actor. After being invalided out of the army, he turned to acting – even winning a coveted role in hit ITV series Soldier Soldier.
Now his new play, which looks at PTSD and the healing power of the arts, is embarking on a nationwide tour. Soldier On is performed by members of The Soldiers’ Arts Academy, adding an extra layer of art imitating life.
Bringing the play to The Soldiers’ Arts Academy was a natural choice. A company of ex-soldiers becoming a company of actors by rehearsing this uplifting, humorous play about a company of veterans and actors.
Now more than ever we need to support the thousands of people who’ve served and returned
According to The Soldiers’ Arts Academy, the veterans find something akin to the humour, conviviality and support network they once experienced as soldiers in the theatre troupe.
“Now more than ever we need to support the thousands of people who’ve served and returned,” says Lewis. “To validate and affirm them, in a world that seems to be turning upside down.
“We have more of an understanding of the existence of PTSD than we ever did. So how do we get better at moving beyond knowing and acknowledging to creating opportunities for veterans to process these complex emotions in a positive and life enhancing way?