Page extent: 72
ISBN: 9781783190805
Binding: PaperBack

Operation Crucible

Kieran Knowles


“Sheffield’s on fire, it glows orange, like hell, like a furnace, like steel. The streets which were familiar are now just bricks, mortar and flame. My childhood, my home… just a pile of stone.”

A story of four ordinary men in extraordinary times...

On the 12 December 1940, more than six hundred people lost their lives in over seven hours of continuous bombing by Germany's Luftwaffe. Their objective? Wiping Sheffield’s world famous steel works - the heartland of Britain’s munitions manufacturing - clean off the map. The ruthless attack left Sheffield in ruins – destroying families, shattering a way of life, and changing the city forever.

At 11.44pm on the night of the raid, a single 500kg bomb reduced the Marples Hotel, which stood proudly in Fitzalan Square, from seven storeys to just fifteen feet of rubble. Only one of the ten compartments in the hotel’s cellars withstood the blast. Within it, trapped, were four men. This is their story, from beginning to end...

Additional Information

ISBN13 9781783190805
Binding PaperBack
Page Extent 72


'Kieran Knowles has fashioned a remarkable first play... while showing that steelwork depends on a carefully synchronised collaboration, Knowles also individualises the men... While celebrating the men’s courage, Knowles also shows how, in the crisis of enforced incarceration, their solidarity breaks down... Although created from research, this is a play that vividly evokes both the terrors of wartime bombing and Sheffield’s capacity for survival.' Michael Billington, Guardian

‘Sheffield to the core… it’s a rare play that chooses to show Sheffield at its industrial peak… and Knowles’s close observance of the steel-making process is enough to make even riveting seem a riveting prospect.’ The Guardian

‘There’s a gorgeously poetic quality to Knowles’ dialogue… [he] has structured his story in a non-linear way, so we learn about the men’s back stories in between seeing them trapped underground… You’re drawn so closely into their world, that when the bombs hit, the effect is harrowing… the characters are so well drawn that the final moments are like a punch.’ The Stage

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