‘Autumn Crocus’ by The Playhouse Theatre at The Playhouse Theatre, Changi POW Camp (Oct 1944)

Autumn Crocus

“In Changi we slept in a courtyard at the end of which stood a huge building forty feet high which was a stage with a wide proscenium: a courtyard whose space was mostly taken up by seats in the open air made out of coco-nut trees split down their centre and placed flat side upwards. This courtyard was Changi’s theatre – the Playhouse, as it was called.”
“Ronald Searle,& other artists, designed and carried out the sets – décor, I believe, is the word – for many of the Playhouse shows, which ranged from Coward to pantomime and which in quality and production could easily have taken their place in any of London’s West End theatres.”
“Daltry had been a major in an artillery unit. He was well equipped to produce Changi’s entertainment, having in the days before the war run the Westminster Theatre in London. He swooped, therefore, on long crutches upon the Playhouse and, to the astonishment of all, opened its season with Autumn Crocus – a gentle love story which the near – destroyed souls of Thailand and the aerodrome – scorched workers of Changi found thoroughly delightful. Having started his career in Singapore’s sterile gaol by staging a story of love in the cool heights of a mountain, the outrageous Daltry settled down to months of exhilarating production”
Source: The Naked Island by Russell Braddon; 1955 edition Pan Books Ltd, Pg 255, 256, 263