Dear England

Pic: Joseph Fiennes as Gareth Southgate and Dear England cast at the National Theatre. Photo by Marc Brenner

The Dons Trust showed “Dear England” in the Viticult Lounge at Plough Lane on Monday March 11 at 7pm.

This is the film of the National Theatre’s play about Gareth Southgate’s team in the run-up to the semifinals at the 2018 World Cup, the 2020 European Championship final at Wembley Stadium, and the quarterfinal of the 2022 World Cup.

We showed it at the invitation of  the National Theatre who were keen to reach out to football clubs with a strong community focus to bring this amazingly funny, moving and memorable film of a multi award nominated play to a wider audience during its cinema release.

The story of England, and penalties, and rebuilding trust between the fans and the dressing room under Southgate is a brilliant football play, beautifully staged, with drama, memorable football action and comedy.

The film also has messages of optimism despite loss, human vulnerability, mental health, xenophobia and racism, and it was nothing short of fantastic.

It’s the run up to the Euros, and Southgate’s England are centre stage again.

We welcomed over 60 people to the event, and were very pleased with the response to the play afterwards.

The following day, after the Gillingham match, one of  the players featured in the play, Bukayo Saka, scored a penalty in the Arsenal v’s Porto game which was being shown in the Viticult lounge after the match. It was surreal to watch the drama of Champions League penalties on the same screen as we had watched the drama of Dear England the night before!

We got a lot of feedback on the event and will use it to inform and guide us on what other activities we can run that involve the community in our stadium on non-match days. If you missed the screening you can still see Dear England at some cinemas