Once In…Never Out!
Written/Performed by June Ballinger
January 20, 2018 - 7:30 pm
Joseph R. Curry Academic Center - Theatre Room
What is the cost of keeping a secret for 50 years?
A day after Nancy Annan died in 2013, her daughter June Ballinger discovered a cache of letters, photos, and a personal diary at the bottom of a closet. June decided to tell the story her mother never shared.
Once In...Never Out! reveals the true story of Nancy’s service as a female code breaker at Bletchley Park, England, during WWII. The play traces the impact of this extraordinary experience throughout Nancy’s life. It captures her pride, strength of character, and allegiance to duty that made her feel (like many women of her era) that “these were the best days of our lives.”
Nancy was part of the elite team that developed Colossus, the world’s first electronic computer. Colossus decrypted some of the most significant signals in war intelligence. Like all Bletchley recruits, Nancy signed the Official Secrets Act that bound her to absolute secrecy concerning her war-work. She kept the secret from everyone, including her husband and children, for nearly 50 years.
For Nancy, her wartime service at Bletchley is tempered by tragedy in her personal life. Subsequent to her service, as a mother raising two children in 1950s suburban America, she confronted the era’s stifling limits on women’s roles, without ever being able to reveal her past.
June Ballinger portrays Nancy through the various decades of life, as well as the three men she loved, and even herself as the persistent inquirer.
“[Ballinger] slips in and out of characters like a DuPont nylon stocking – graceful and smooth.” — Jacquelyn Claire – NY Theatre Guide
"The only feminist play I know of that is persuasive” — Emmy award winning screenwriter and playwright William Mastrosimone
Once In...Never Out! runs 70 minutes and is followed by a 15-minute talk-back with the audience.