Written by Dudley William

Thurs 4th October - Sat 6th October & Tues 8th October - Sat 13th October 1984

Directed by Tony Kellaway

The struggles and triumphs of aviation pioneer, Amy Johnson, this play unravels her private life and shows her to be a fanatical but insecure and frail woman.

AuthorDudley William

Dudley William

Dudley William works in the wine trade but has acted professionally. He won RADA's Ronson award for the most promising student. He started to write in his spare time and last year a play of his which was set against the background of the Brixton riots was given a rehearsed reading at the Half Moon Theatre in London's East End.


Amy Johnson was the first female pilot to fly alone from Britain to Australia, a feat which she achieved at the age of 26. Her flying career began in 1928 and other triumphs included becoming the first female ground engineer licensed by the Air Ministry, and being awarded the C.B.E. for her flying achievements. Amy Johnson's daredevil flying exploits made her an icon of her age.

This play, written by Bench Theatre playwriting competition winner, Dudley William portrays Amy's struggles, triumphs and flying exploits as the Northern lass from Hull, tried to fit in with the sophisticated celebrity life-style of the 30s. Following the relationship she had with her Family, friends and her mechanic, this play charts Amy's public and private life and the the conflict she often felt between the two.

The Bench Production

Johnnie poster image

This play received its premiere at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.


AmyJo German
JackPete Woodward
BoyfriendChris Shaw
FatherSam Merry
MotherRuth Prior
BillDavid Brown
JimBill Radmall


Director Tony Kellaway
Stage Manager Jude Salmon
Lighting Peter Holding
Sound David Brown
Costumes Jane Hart
Set Peter Holding
Posters Jane Hart
Front of House Veronica Haste


The NewsJon Purgavie

Havant group's brave project

It takes a brave theatre company from the South to tackle a play about a Northern lass called Amy Johnson who captured the world's imagination with her flying exploits. It would have been all too easy for Havant's Bench Theatre to reply on the weary cliches of cloth caps and black puddings to show how the eldest daughter of a fish trader from Hull was doomed to fail in the world of high living in the sophisticated South. But the play never fell in to that trap and the company passed the test of staging the premiere of Johnnie, which was a winner of the Writers' Festival play competition, with flying colours.

It was Jo German's portrayal of Amy as a fanatical but insecure and frail woman whose quest for fame was sparked off by a broken love affair, which held the play together. Pete Woodward, who played Amy's best friend and mechanic, Jack, was superb as the hard-working mechanic and voice of reason in Amy's mixed-up world of high living and hard drinking.

The News 5th October 1984

Production Photographs