The Last King of Devonport

‘It was inspirational to me, I only wish everyone in Devonport could have seen what I saw last night’

Community participant in ‘The Last King of Devonport’

Devonport in Plymouth was once a mighty dock town but was brought to its knees by the bombs of World War 2 and the subsequent planning stranglehold that held it back in the years that followed after.

The Devonport Guildhall had been its civic heart. Designed by the architect John Foulston in 1821, it was part of a plan that included an Egyptian house, a Hindu temple and a commemorative column to celebrate the then thriving area. In its position amongst the demolished remains of Ker Street, this grand neo-classical building spoke of past prosperous times whilst presiding over the regeneration developers bulldozers and cranes.

Inspired by the fighting spirit of the Devonport people, Hugh Janes, playwright and Jules Laville, choreographer, devised a highly theatrical re-telling of the changing fortunes of this community using a boxing match as a metaphor ‘The Bout of the Century – Rocky Devonport takes on the World’.

An immersive theatrical journey through the Guildhall, from its prison cells and old morgue, culminated in the splendour of the great hall where the finale was enacted in a real boxing ring. The piece revisited Devonport’s history, attempting to reconcile the past and move with hope and vigour into the future.

‘Totally unexpected, creative, original and superbly enacted.’

Audience member on ‘The Last King of Devonport’