Journalist Wife of Tony Blair's Chief of Staff to Make Playwriting Debut

News   Journalist Wife of Tony Blair's Chief of Staff to Make Playwriting Debut
Sarah Helm, the journalist wife of Jonathan Powell, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair’s chief of staff at the time of the decision to go to war against Iraq, is making her playwriting debut with Loyalty, which will premiere at London’s Hampstead Theatre in July. 

Sarah Helm
Sarah Helm

Described in press materials as “a fictionalized memoir of what it was like to share a husband with the Prime Minister at key moments in the crisis,” the play will begin performances July 14, prior to an official opening July 20, for a run through Aug. 13. It will be helmed by Hampstead’s artistic director Edward Hall, and will star Maxine Peake.

Helm worked for many years for the Sunday Times before becoming a founder member of The Independent and winning Press Awards for foreign reporting and for coverage of official secrets stories. As a foreign correspondent, she worked in the Middle East and Washington and reported from Iraq. She is the author of "A Life in Secrets," a biography of the wartime secret agent, Vera Atkins.

Her play draws from her own experience. Rows over weapons of mass destruction break out at a children’s birthday party, and the audience eavesdrops as the couple listen in to the PM’s phone calls to George Bush. Shocking revelations about British intelligence finally emerge over a dinner at Number 10, raising disturbing new questions about how a country can be seduced into war.

Maxine Peake is currently starring in the BBC’s legal drama "Silk." Her many other stage credits include The Deep Blue Sea (West Yorkshire Playhouse) and Leaves of Glass (Soho Theatre), and she has also been seen on TV as Myra Hindley in "See No Evil: The Moors Murders," and lead roles in "Shameless," "Dinnerladies," "Early Doors," "Little Dorrit," "Red Riding" and "Criminal Justice."

To book tickets, contact the box ofice on 020 7722 9301, or visit

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