The Last Song of Oliver Sipple - King's Head Theatre

London theatre news: Wednesday 5 June 2019

LGBTQ+ - London Fringe - Shows

A new play telling the true story of an unknown gay hero will play as part of the King's Head Theatre's Playmill festival of new writing this July.
The Last Song of Oliver Sipple at the King's Head Theatre

Image courtesy King's Head Theatre

In 1975, Oliver Sipple grabbed the arm of Sara Jane Moore as she fired at President Gerald Ford.

His heroic act spared a nation the trauma of another presidential assassination but after being outed in the press, Mr Sipple was not celebrated for his actions.

Instead, he found his privacy invaded and a rift opened with his family, who had been unaware of his sexuality.

The Last Song of Oliver Sipple premieres at the King's Head in Islington on July 13 and 14 as part of the Playmill festival of new writing.

It is written by OFFIE nominated playwright David Hendon, directed by Peter Taylor and stars Jackson Pentland as Sipple.

Mr Hendon said ...

"This is an incredible story but hardly anyone is aware of it and, 30 years after Oliver Sipple's death, we wanted to bring him to the much wider attention he deserves".

The play examines the nature of heroism, the right to privacy and how a single random incident can change a life forever.

We are very excited it has been chosen by the King's Head for the festival and look forward to introducing audiences to Oliver and his remarkable story."

Oliver Sipple, a former US marine who fought in the Vietnam war, was a close friend of celebrated LGBT activist Harvey Milk.

The play examines the key events of his life before and after the assassination attempt until his death in 1989.

Jackson Pentland said ...

"I'm really excited to have the opportunity to play Oliver Sipple and to bring this important story to life.

I think audiences will find many of the themes and issues discussed very relevant to today."

Jackson Pentland in The Last Song of Oliver Sipple at the King's Head Theatre

Jackson Pentland stars as Oliver Sipple

Show listing information


He saved the life of the President …

Then his country turned against him.

This is the true story of Oliver Sipple, a US marine decorated for his service in Vietnam, who in 1975 intervened as a would-be assassin pulled a gun on President Gerald Ford.

He was hailed as a hero and invited to the White House but, after he was outed as gay in the press, the invitation was revoked.

Oliver had never come out to his family but was now a public figure, hounded by the media and his private life was no longer his own.

30 years after his death, The Last Song of Oliver Sipple tells the story of an American hero tortured by prejudice, media intrusion and the rift created within his own family.


Jackson Pentland as Oliver Sipple


Author: David Hendon
Director: Peter Taylor


King's Head Theatre
115 Upper Street
N1 1QN


From: Saturday 13 July 2019

Closed: Sunday 14 July 2019


Standard: £12


Show website
ActDrop full listing for The Last Song of Oliver Sipple

About London theatre news from ActDrop

We cover all kinds of news stories about theatre in the London area including items about West End, Fringe, Off West End and other venues, as well as new shows coming to the capital, theatre events like scratch nights, theatre festivals and other interesting theatre news that can't be so easily classified!

We'd love to hear from you if you have a news story we can share with theatre-goers.

Just use this form to contact us.

If you are a producer, PR agent or a representative of a theatre company, we have a special page just for you.

And thanks for visiting ActDrop!


Buy tickets for Back to the Future at the Adelphi Theatre