The American GIs who made a new England

Nylons, Hershey bars, jitterbugging and Swing Bands in the local village hall all feature in a show coming to the Hat Factory in Luton on Tuesday May 17.

Tuesday, 3rd May 2016, 12:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd May 2016, 1:44 pm
Somewhere in England tells the story of the effect American GIs had on East Anglia
Somewhere in England tells the story of the effect American GIs had on East Anglia

Polly Wiseman’s new wartime theatre production Somewhere in England tells the moving story of what happened when thousands of American GIs arrived in rural East Anglia during the Second World War.

In May 1942, the first Eighth US Army Air Force aeroplanes arrived in East Anglia. With them came thousands of black and white American GIs who, in some places, outnumbered the local population by 50 to 1.

This unique moment in history, often referred to as ‘the friendly invasion’, had a huge impact on social and cultural life in the Eastern region.

It is also a tale of segregation and of rural communities turned upside down - children being forced to grow up before their time, friendships forged and then blown apart, and outsiders learning to live among the locals.

Somewhere in England is part of the Heritage Lottery Funded Eighth in The East project, a programme of activities using theatre, archaeology, photography, oral testimony and documentation to highlight this period in East Anglia’s history.

Somewhere in England is presented by Eastern Angles, the regional touring theatre company for East Anglia.

The show starts at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £10 or £8 for concessions.

Call 01582 878100 or visit to book or for more information.