Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England, The Secret Listener followed two intertwining strands, the story of Olive Myler, who lived in rural North Devon and played the violin and the autobiographical story of a violin my father was given in the 1950’s. The performance is my search into the stories of both my father’s violin and Olive Myler and takes us on a journey from Vienna to the south west of England.
Just before the war a solitary woman lived in a rural hamlet in North Devon, she never went out and had her groceries delivered. People say she had been a violinist in the Vienna Philharmonic orchestra and also worked for MI6 in some capacity. The Secret Listener performance is based on multiple source materials including the story of Olive Myler in the 2005 book Jews in North Devon during the Second World War by Helen Fry. To research Olive’s story I followed a trail through many books, museums, archives and online resources, these sources included
Adams, AJ  Knowle in the Wars, Braunton Museum: N. Devon
Dunlop, Tessa  The Bletchley Girls, Hodder & Stoughton: London
Fry, Edmund David  The Life and Tines of a Knowle Boy, Braunton Museum: N. Devon
Fry, Helen  Jews in North Devon During the Second World War, Halsgrove: Devon
Fry, Helen  Spymaster: The Secret Life of Kendrick, Marranos: London
Hinsley, FH & Alan Stripp  Code Breakers, University Press: Oxford
MacDonogh, Giles  1938 HItler’s Gamble, ebook
Newman, Richard  Alma Rosé: Vienna to Auschwitz, Amadeus Press: Portland
Pidgeon, Geoffrey  The Secret Wireless War: the story of MI6 Communications 1939-1945, Arundel: Richmond
A short film to accompany Odette’s story – created by Ed Jobling working with Forkbeard and Actiontrack
We gathered people’s hidden wartime stories.
Here is an example: The story of Odette Sansom aka Odette Hallowes recorded by Ed Jobling in conversation with Nancy Powell-Brace, owner of Odette’s Tearoom Wellington.