Last week in Westminster a group of people were listening keenly to the words being spoken, giving their undivided attention to the drama unfolding before them, and when they got the chance, asking incisive, intelligent questions.
No, this wasn’t in the House of Commons (alas), but in the hall of Harris Westminster Sixth Form College – located in a former Ministry of Justice building a stone’s throw from Parliament – where the first performance in 2019 was taking place of This Evil Thing, my play about Britain’s WW1 conscientious objectors. Continue reading
Simon Richardson photographer
Six months after the end of the First World War, British C.O.s were still in prison – but some began to be released in April 1919. One hundred years later a number of performances of THIS EVIL THING will take place to mark this.
This will include one in London on March 20th and two on Easter Sunday in Bristol. Organised by the group Remembering The Real World War 1 these Bristol performances will take place in the atmospheric crypt of the medieval church, St. John On The Wall. See the performance diary for more details…
Sunday 4th November.
Performing smack-bang in the centre of London – at the charming off-West End venue Jermyn Street Theatre, a stone’s throw from Piccadilly Circus. Amazingly, not only do I manage to park the van nearby but being a Sunday I have found a free slot. Free parking? In central London?
For eight hours? Result!
Nov 6th 2018
I’m on the road again and this time I’ve been given a brand new red Citroen van by the hire company, which unlike my previous vans has central locking (rather useful when loading and unloading crates and all my other paraphernalia.)
Three Quaker Meeting Houses in the north of England are my destination in the first week of this significant November 2018 tour, but it’s rain and tedious first gear traffic all the way up the M6 to arrive a tad wearily at Kendal in Cumbria for the first performance.
A most significant month – 100 years since the ending of ‘the war to end all wars’- (hmm, what went wrong there?) – and a month that sees me setting out on the road all round the UK with my play THIS EVIL THING: as far north as Aberdeen and as far south as Brighton. Two London performances are taking place on November 4th and 7th – all details can be found on the Performance Dates page of this website – thank you!
The moment I leave the inevitable Friday afternoon crawl in 1st gear up most of the M1, and head east on the A46, I feel myself breathe more easily. The roads are still busy but at least I can get up into 2nd and even, at times, 3rd gear. But then, as I reach the A158 beyond Lincoln I start to feel positively light-hearted. When I turn off this road, however, onto the B1399 and find myself in country lanes winding through verdant fields bathed in glorious early evening sunshine, a wave of calm seems to flood my whole being. Continue reading
I was in Tavistock Square, London, yesterday August 6th, at the very moving ceremony to remember those who died in Hiroshima 73 years ago as a result of the first Atomic bomb. This Thursday, August 9th, I hope to be in Battersea Park to witness the floating lanterns released into the Thames in memory of those who died at Nagasaki, also 73 years ago. I have been working on and off for quite some time now on the second part of my trilogy (THIS EVIL THING being the first part) – which focuses on three individuals in particular who were involved in the tragic events in 1945 – a scientist, a soldier and a survivor. I feel very stirred by this piece of work and it seems appropriate that I have completed the latest draft of this play this very week. I hope it will see the light of day in 2019 or 2020 latest when it will be performed by myself and a female Japanese performer (yet to be cast!). The photo posted here I saw at Tate Modern a couple of years ago – in Elton John’s collection, I think – and it feels very evocative.
July 12th 2018
It’s all very well putting on your website that in a year or two’s time you plan, all things being well, to walk the whole of the Western Front, all 475 plus miles of it, as part of your ‘peace initiative’ – and to tie in with the end of the ‘100 years since the First World War’ commemorations.
Should I stop the play?’ I ask myself.
A small child is crying right down near the front, and as the characters in the play get ever more impassioned, so the child is getting ever more upset.
Did the message not get through? I suggested to all venues that the play with its serious and strong themes is really only suitable for 14 and upwards. I saw the father bringing the child in at the start, along with its not much older siblings and thought, oh dear, this could be tricky.