The Man with the Gold - Newark debut for riveting play on Lawrence of Arabia

Jan Woolf, author of The Man with the Gold

A new play on Lawrence of Arabia which was 'dug out of the deserts of Jordan' according to its writer is set for a debut at the National Civil War Centre in Newark.

The Man with the Gold has been written by Jan Woolf, who joined archaeologists in the Middle East on a pioneering project to discover the true story behind the man and his exploits. 

Currently an acclaimed exhibition is being staged at the museum called Shifting Sands, showcasing their finds together with other objects linked to Lawrence who shot to fame after helping a Bedouin army rise up against the Ottoman Turks 100 years ago.

Jan Woolf's play - which has earned rave reviews after performances in London and Oxford - is based on her experiences and will be read script in hand by professional actors under the direction of David Erdos at 2pm on Saturday 28 January.

She explained:

“I was planning to write a book, but while scraping away at the top soil, helping the archaeologists I had the idea of portraying Lawrence as a multi-layered series of characters revealing different facets of his personality. He was an incredibly complex man who had a major impact on world events, a friend of the powerful, but who both sought and turned his back on celebrity, joining the ranks of the RAF at Cranwell. He led an extraordinary life.”

Fittingly the play is set in a museum where ghosts and passions are unwittingly summoned as archaeological relics are unpacked.  Comic moments combine with the drama of betrayal, love and loss as Lawrence appears in different guises to 'kill' off his celebrity status, revealing the scars of warfare, violation and betrayal.  Mysterious and live Oud music accompanies the action.  

"It's an inspired play which keeps you engaged even if you know very little about Lawrence.  We are thrilled it is being performed here in Newark at the same time as the exhibition," added Kevin Winter, Assistant Curator at the National Civil War Centre and member of the TE Lawrence Society.

The play is included in the normal admission price and runs to 110 minutes including an interval. The exhibition is open daily 10am to 4pm and entry to the museum is £8 adults, £7 concessions and £3.50 children. A season ticket is just £16 and English Heritage members admitted at half price.

The National Civil War Centre is a £5.4m flagship project by Newark and Sherwood District Council, supported by £3.5m from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It is the only UK museum telling the complete story of the British Civil Wars – the most deadly in our entire history.  Other galleries portray stage temporary exhibitions including Shifting Sands, devoted to Lawrence and the Great Arab Revolt.

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