Theatre uses First World War cruiser for play based on telegraphist's diaries

HMS Caroline is the last surviving vessel from the 1916 Battle of Jutland

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A First World War ship is being converted into a theatre to relive the experiences of a teenage sailor who served aboard 100 years ago.

HMS Caroline, the last surviving vessel from the 1916 Battle of Jutland, will stage the specially-commissioned play for one night only this month.

Drama company the Belvoir Players is putting on the production, based on the diaries of ship telegraphist William Crick.

The Caroline is now permanently moored in Belfast after being transformed into a floating museum in a multi-million pound restoration project.

William Crick served on the 120-metre light cruiser during the First World War. Joining the crew as a 16-year-old in 1915, he documented his experiences in diaries.

Jamie Wilson, general manager of the HMS Caroline, said the adaptation of the ship to a working theatre was a sign of the vessel's versatility.

"HMS Caroline was built in 1914 and saw action in the 1916 Battle of Jutland and is now one of Belfast's key cultural and legacy attractions," he said.

"Making use of the ship for cultural events is a natural fit because there are so many spaces of varying size on board.

"The Belvoir Players are making full and imaginative use of these spaces and the audiences will witness the highs and lows of life at sea, the sorrow following Jutland and the camaraderie of men living together amidst the uncertainty of war."

Weighing 3,750 tons, HMS Caroline, built on Merseyside in 1914, was part of the screening force which sailed out ahead of the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet during the Battle of Jutland to establish the position of the German battleships.

Both sides suffered heavy casualties in the clash off the coast of Denmark. It was the most significant engagement between battleships during the First World War. Britain and Germany both claimed victory.

There will be four performances of the play on Saturday November 11. For more information log on to www.hmscaroline.co.uk