GCHQ inspired me
THE discovery of a body found inside a bag in Pimlico inspired Stroud playwright Dawn King to write her spy thriller Ciphers.
This provocative play about murder, double agents and the opaqueness of the human soul comes to the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham tonight for its six-night run.
Performed by Out of Joint theatre, Ciphers opens with a young woman found dead and follows her sister Kerry's quest to discover the truth.
Expect many shocking twists and turns as Kerry stumbles into a world of secrets and subterfuge that makes her question who her sister really was.
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Dawn was first inspired to write Ciphers by the death of Gareth Williams, the GCHQ employee who was found dead locked inside a bag in a Pimlico flat in August 2010.
His inquest concluded he most likely had been poisoned, or suffocated.
But Scotland Yard investigators subsequently revealed that the codebreaker, pictured inset, may have climbed into the bag himself, rather than foul play being involved.
"I was fascinated with the story – it stayed with me because it was so odd," said Dawn.
"There were a lot of strange stories about Gareth Williams and about a real family who had lost somebody.
"I was interested in the idea of the secret service and MI5.
"You can't get inside GCHQ for obvious reasons so the research mainly consisted of reading a lot of different sources and newspaper articles.
"The audience can expect the play to be like a puzzle and they will be able to pull the story together and be constantly guessing what's waiting around the corner."
Dawn moved to London 11 years ago after university to work in film development.
She attended a series of workshops and came to the realisation that she wanted to become a playwright.
"It was a long journey with a lot of difficulties," she said.
Francesca Goddard, marketing officer at the Everyman Theatre, said: "We're really looking forward to the return of Out of Joint to the Everyman with this dark thriller written by Dawn.
"This new play is full of secrets, twists and turns and will have you on the edge of your seat."
Tickets cost £13-£28 from 01242 572573 or online at www.everymantheatre.org.uk. Performances start at 7.45pm from tonight, with 2pm matinees on Thursday and Saturday.