News: Return to Bletchley Park and crack the code with Parabolic Theatre

Following the critically acclaimed Crisis? What Crisis?, trailblazing immersive theatre company Parabolic Theatre has joined forces with Mechanical Thought to co-produce a remount of their hugely successful Illicit Signals Bletchley which premiered at the COLAB Factory ahead of the pandemic. Audiences work alongside famous figures from the Government Code and Cipher School at Bletchley Park to crack ENIGMA, while uncomfortable secrets closer to home threaten to be revealed. Starring Christopher Styles, Beth Jay, Sandy Murray, Gabrielle Burns, Amelia Stephenson, Timothy Styles, and Jaya Baldwin, Illicit Signals Bletchley combines historical drama with rewarding codebreaking to create a fun, stimulating evening

Step back in time to 1940s Bletchley Park, a world of espionage, code-breaking and secrets. It was here that men and women, both young and old, cracked German codes and unveiled war-winning secrets, but these men and women kept secrets of their own, both from each other and the public.

Follow in the footsteps of real-life cryptologists as Bletchley Park goes through its most pivotal moment. Crack codes and decipher messages to uncover their private lives and make the tough decision of whether to keep their secrets or spill the beans.

Director Christopher Styles commented: “when we think about the bravery, courage, determination, sacrifice and strength of will that was displayed during the second world war we often think of the soldiers who fought during the war, Illicit Signals Bletchley was my way to show how all those characteristics were also shown by many non-combatants as well. This show looks at the real lives of those who worked at Bletchley Park and will let the audience experience some of what they did for themselves from breaking enigma to keeping state secrets and all the stresses that came with this.

The show will run at Parabolic Theatre’s newly launched immersive venue CRYPT and will be part of the opening season of Make Do and Mend. CRYPT is an atmospheric and mysterious underground space that will host some of the best immersive shows from across the country.

This innovative new venue is dedicated to immersive and interactive theatre in the heart of Bethnal Green . The opening season will include a collection of wartime-inspired immersive pieces, Including The British Resistance Museum from Parabolic Theatre, Illicit Signals Bletchley from Mechanical Thought, Line of Fire from Cross-Stitch Theatre and Hidden Figures: WW2 from Partygeek. Further exciting shows from Parabolic Theatre as well as from companies that were to be at VAULT Festival will be announced in due course.

As Parabolic Theatre rebuilds after one of its most difficult and destructive periods in living memory, this season of work about beautiful things being made from limited resources sets a tone of hope triumphing in adversity.

Illicit Signals Bletchley runs from 2 – 28 May. To book tickets visit

Photo credit: Zoe Flint

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