Wigan writer combats PTSD in new show

David Chriscole and Sean Chriscole of Devilish Accord Productions
David Chriscole and Sean Chriscole of Devilish Accord Productions

A Wigan playwright has given a voice to veterans silenty battling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.


“Citadel” a single-act play written by Highfield software engineer David Chriscole, will debut in Salford next week.

The 54-year-old writer has tapped into his own army background to approach the subject of PTSD, shining a light on the issue - which was not spoken about when he served during the 80s.

Opening at The King’s Arms in Salford on Tuesday, September 11, “Citadel” explores the day-to-day experiences of William, a former British serviceman and veteran of Afghanistan, who is tortured by intrusive memories of a fateful day on patrol and faces symptoms of combat PTSD in a contemporary drama of friendship, grief and hope.

David himself served in the Army during the 1980s as a member of the Royal Pioneers.

The part-time playwright says “fell into” the theatrical world thanks to a close-relationship with his nephew, actor and producer Sean Chriscole.

The pair have since formed their own company, Devilish Accord Productions, which is producing Citadel.

“I enrolled in a playwriting course run by Studio Salford to learn more about how to write for the stage,” he said. “I hit a problem with the story I was building, and was contemplating it during Remembrance weekend in 2016.

“As I thought about my own military life and the friends I had left behind, I suddenly became aware of a solution for my play, and something I needed to express.”

As a teen, David enrolled in the army and was posted outside Belfast in Northern Ireland during the midst of the region’s political and religious strife.

Despite not experiencing PTSD himself, David suffered from depression during the autumn of 2014, just before he became involved in theatre himself.

“Although my own issue was very mild by comparison to PTSD, I recognise how all- encompassing a mental health problem can be,” said the playwright. “The isolation and loneliness coupled with confusion and fear is devastating.

“I realised that these elements were something I needed to express in my play.I’ve seen a great deal of Independent (Fringe) Theatre over the last few years, and depictions of mental health issues are commonly highly charged, traumatic and deeply emotional.

“I wanted to tell a story that was more about how the sufferer copes in the aftermath of the turmoil. How do they see the world they live in? How do they
interact with people during their long recovery? How do others perceive the sufferer?”

Tickets are available for September 12 to 15. All performances start at 7.30pm and will last an hour. To book visit www.kingsarmssalford.com/whats-on