Olivia Hirst and David Byrne’s The Incident Room focusses on the failed police operation to catch The Yorkshire Ripper, unpicking some of the mythologies surrounding the case which was often cast as a battle between two men: the killer, and George Oldfield, the detective leading the investigation. The Incident Room suggests another narrative, one in which misogyny and sexism blinded the men in charge so they were unable to see the evidence in front of their eyes. The piece is very good at capturing the grey, baggy jumper washed out greyness of 1970s Britain and the way feminism had yet to make any impact on the workings of the police. I saw it in Edinburgh last summer where it was good, but I have confidence this should be bolder still by now with some of the clunkiness ironed out to create a complex and contemporary shock of a show.
A forensic examination of the five-year police hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper. It’s 1975. In Leeds, the Millgarth Incident Room is the epicentre of the biggest manhunt in British police history. We follow Sergeant Megan Winterburn as she joins hundreds of officers working around the clock to find the man known as the Yorkshire Ripper. With public pressure mounting, the investigation resorts to increasingly audacious attempts to catch one of Britain’s most notorious serial killers. Following our award-winning productions of Secret Life of Humans and Down & Out in Paris and London, we go behind the scenes and investigate the case that broke the British police force. It is co-production with The Pleasance and Greenwich Theatre, and is supported by Arts Council England.