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Farm Hall: A Theatrical Peek into Oppenheimer’s Hidden Fear

Julius D'Silva, Alan Cox in Farm Hall - Photo credit Alex Brenner

Dive into history’s whispers with “Farm Hall”, a riveting new play spotlighting a different side of the Oppenheimer narrative at the Cambridge Arts Theatre.


The Oppenheimer Chronicles Get a New Chapter

We’ve all heard about the American race to create the atomic bomb during World War II, beautifully captured in Christopher Nolan‘s “Oppenheimer”. But have you ever wondered about the shadows lurking behind this monumental quest? “Farm Hall”, penned by the talented Katherine Moar, takes us on that very journey, revealing Oppenheimer’s chilling dread – the possibility of Germans cracking the atomic code before the Americans.

A Mysterious Detainment in Cambridgeshire

Back in the summer of 1945, as Oppenheimer readied himself for the groundbreaking atomic bomb test in New Mexico, the British Secret Service was up to something secretive. They held captive six eminent German nuclear scientists, three of whom were Nobel laureates. Their unlikely hideout? The picturesque Farm Hall in Godmanchester.

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Life at Farm Hall

In this serene English setting, these scientists found themselves isolated, their only link to the world being some selectively shared newspaper pieces, the melodies from a somewhat functional piano, and the wit in Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit”. Yet, as time flowed, their focus slowly shifted from these distractions to the ongoing war and the ruins of their homeland.

Then, the calm shattered. News broke about the U.S. deploying an atomic bomb on Japan, shaking the scientists to their core.

David Yelland, Forbes Masson in Farm Hall - Photo credit Alex Brenner
David Yelland, Forbes Masson in Farm Hall – Photo credit Alex Brenner

The Ensemble Behind the Curtains

Playing these intriguing characters, we have Julius D’Silva portraying Kurt Diebner, Forbes Mason as Otto Hahn, Alan Cox channelling Werner Heisenberg, and Daniel Boyd stepping into the shoes of Carl Friedrich von Weizsäcke.

Behind “Farm Hall” is the scholarly mind of Katherine Moar. With history degrees from the University of Edinburgh and Darwin College, Cambridge, and a PhD from King’s College, London, this is her theatrical debut. The play’s essence was first unveiled at Ustinov Studio, Bath in September 2019, with its grand premiere lighting up London’s Jermyn Street Theatre in early 2023.

The director’s chair is graced by Stephen Unwin, renowned for his previous roles as the artistic leader at the English Touring Theatre and the Rose Theatre, Kingston.

Mark Your Calendars

Ready for this theatrical treat? Book your seats between Tuesday, September 12, and Saturday, September 23. Just a quick note: give Sunday 17 a miss. And for the afternoon enthusiasts, there are special 2.30pm shows on Thursdays and Saturdays.

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