Where were you on 11 September 2001, when you heard the news that two planes had flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York City?

All of us alive (and of sufficient age at that time) will remember.

9/11 is a date that has been forever seared into the world’s collective memory.

I recently went to see Come From Away, a musical that dares to deal with 9/11. And despite the sensitive subject matter, it is a ‘light through the cracks‘ story through and through.

Set in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001, when all air traffic was diverted away from the skies of the USA, it is based on the true story of what took place when 38 planes were ordered to land unexpectedly in the small town of Gander in Canada. Without warning, the town’s population doubled, absorbing nearly 7000 stranded travellers over the following five days.

Many of the passengers were bundled out of the planes, frightened, bewildered, confused, and desperate to get in contact with their families. Utterly unfazed, the locals swung into action, housing, feeding, clothing and taking care of their guests, who came from every corner of the world. And not one of them asked for payment. All they showed was kindness upon kindness.

I loved the clever choreography with the chairs on the stage – narrow rows, for example, conjuring up the interiors of planes or buses. I loved the cast, who each play multiple roles, becoming different characters by donning different headgear or coats. I loved the chorus, and the calibre of both lyrics and music alike.

More than anything, I loved the details of the stories that this musical tells. The woman whose son is a firefighter, missing at Ground Zero. The African passengers who think the Salvation Army are soldiers. The shy Englishman and the Texan woman who fall in love.

The terrorist attacks of 9/11 changed our world forever.

Wherever we were when we watched the Twin Towers burn and collapse, we all knew nothing would be the same again. It felt as though the world became darker in the aftermath. And that is why Come From Away is so brilliant – because it is a wonderful antidote to darkness.

Come From Away reminds us that we all have capacity to be instinctively kind towards complete strangers, especially in the midst of a crisis. It reminds us that there is immense power in community. And it reminds us that we all have more in common than we think.

Finally, it you’re tempted to book tickets, you might want to watch the trailer here:


Photo by Suhyeon Choi on Unsplash


1 Comment

  1. bettyboo76 Reply

    Jo, that sounds a great musical! I’m going to try and see if I can see it. Thanks for sharing xx

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