At a time when another film about Alan Turing and the wartime activities at Bletchley Park is about to be released, the story of this unsung British hero can be enjoyed on stage at the Chester Little Theatre in Hugh Whitmore’s biographical play, Breaking the Code, from Saturday, November 15 to Saturday, November 22.
Breaking the Code is not only about the breaking of the German Enigma code; it is also about breaking the social code of the time: the illegal practice of homosexuality.
Turing - gay, naïve and trusting - broke this code by being open about his sexuality, which eventually brought him a charge of ‘gross indecency’.
Because it was illegal in Britain in the 1950s, gay people were often the victims of blackmail. With all the knowledge that Turing held, including information about American ciphers, and with the Cold War at its height, he became a ‘security risk’.
From then on he attracted close observation by the Secret Service. How invasive and oppressive this became, we will never know for sure but it may go some way to account for his premature death.
Whitemore’s compassionate play is based on the biography Alan Turing: the Enigma by Andrew Hodges, a fellow mathematician at Oxford University.
Hodges shows that Turing played a crucial role in helping Britain and the Allies win the Second World War and that without his contribution, it could have gone on for several more years.
Turing was awarded the OBE and was a member of the Royal Society. After the war, his work at Manchester University laid the foundations of the modern-day computer.
Tickets are £8.50 and £7 concessions. To book tickets, go to www.chestertheatreclub.co.uk for online and telephone bookings.