New play celebrates the life of remarkable Washington woman who advised Winston Churchill

Gertrude Bell
Gertrude Bell
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A new play is celebrating the life of local heroine Gertrude Bell - with a string of North East dates.

The Desert Queen, produced by Hands On NE, celebrates the achievements of the remarkable Washington woman, born in 1868, who went on to become an explorer, travel writer, archeologist and diplomat.

As well as becoming the first woman to gain a first class degree in modern history from Oxford University. Gertrude’s expertise in politics was so invaluable that she was called in to help Winston Churchill as the future of the Middle East was discussed.

During the First World War, where the Gallipoli Campaign ran from 1915-16, her experiences of Mesopotamia saw her assist British intelligence and at the end of the war she focused on the future of the country, playing a part in Iraq’s kingmaking.

Her love of archeology kept her in the country, where she was honorary director of its antiquities and founded the Iraq Museum in Bagdad.

Performances of the play which celebrates the pioneer take place on the following dates:

•Arts Centre Washington on July 26 at 7.30pm. Tel 0191 561 3455

•The Lit. & Phil, Newcastle, on July 27 at 7.30pm and July 28 at 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Tel. 0191 232 0192

•The Winter Gardens, Sunderland, on July 30 at 7.30pm. Tel. 0191 561 2323

•The Little Theatre, Cleadon, on July 31 at 7.30pm. Tel. 0191 447 0493

•Fulwell Library, Station Road, on August 1 at 7.30pm. Tel. 0191 549 6567

•The Exchange, North Shields, on August 3-4 at 7.30pm. Tel. 0191 258 4111

•City Theatre, Fowler’s Yard, Durham, on August 5 at 7.30pm.

•The Customs House, South Shields, on August 6 at 7.30pm. Tel. 0191 454 1234