Cassidy Little, a former Marine medic who lost his right leg below the knee during his second tour of Afghanistan in 2011, played the main character of Charlie F in the Legion’s first production.
“Bravo 22 came at a time when I desperately needed something other than my injury to focus on.”
“Creativity can play a huge role in recovery.”Cassidy Little
As a result of his performance, he went on to do a paid internship with the British Forces Broadcasting Service and now hosts his own show on Forces TV. He was also the winner of a dance talent show called The People’s Strictly for Comic Relief.
“I think creativity can play a huge role in recovery,” he says. “Performing arts help you stop focusing on your injury and start developing new passions. You find out what you’re capable of – being in a play in the West End proves you’re actually capable of a lot.
Maurillia Simpson performs during the production of The Two Worlds of Charlie F.
“I saw the confidence boost it gave the other guys too – you have to trust each other when you’re about to get on stage in front of lots of people.”
One of those ‘other guys’ was Lyndon Chatting-Walters, a former combat engineer in 23 Engineer Regiment who was wounded in Afghanistan in an IED explosion in 2008. “I’d never done anything like Bravo 22 before and I was pretty nervous, but it was a case of getting myself in the firing line and seeing what happened,” he explains. “Sharing my story with so many people was really powerful.”
“Taking part in Bravo 22 was a massive confidence boost.”Lyndon Chatting-Walters
Lyndon went on to do the Legion-funded Battle Back course after taking part in the production, and is now a climbing and mountaineering instructor at the centre in Lilleshall.
“Taking part in Bravo 22 was a massive confidence boost – like many of the others, I’d been stuck at home, feeling forgotten about… then suddenly, I was in the limelight, meeting all these amazing people.”
Miriam Cooper and Lyndon Chatting-Walters (right) on stage in the production at the London’s West End.
Veterans don’t only take the stage, as former Logistic Supply Specialist Kevin Smith found. “My anxiety meant I couldn’t handle an acting role, so Alice [Driver, the producer] suggested I get involved with the marketing side. The first video I edited was a YouTube clip with Ray Winstone – the project’s ambassador – which was really exciting.”
“It felt like a wave washing away my anxiety.”Kevin Smith
Kevin had been in the Army for 14 years before he was hit by a forklift truck in 2007, shattering his hip.
“My standout memory was the final night when the producer pushed us all on stage to join the cast for the curtain call.
"To be among thousands of people all clapping was overwhelming, it felt like a wave washing away my anxiety. I didn’t have an attack for eight months after that.”
Bravo 22 Company's latest project is Wor Stories, a co-production by Newcastle Theatre Royal and The Drive Project, with performances from 7-10 December.