Probably better reflections of public perceptions than reading the poets.
In association with Twisted Events Theatre Company, the University of Hertfordshire presents the first professional revival of the World War I plays ‘For My Country’ by Berte Thomas (1917) and ‘The Pacifist’ by John Brandon (1918).
These short plays, which have not been seen since they were first performed in London theatres during the First World War, will re-introduce the audience to a missing dimension of life on the Home Front.
The production is part of the project Staging World War I, run from the School of Humanities at the University of Hertfordshire. Led by Dr Andrew Maunder, the project will take forgotten World War I plays into schools and the local community.
Dr Andrew Maunder said: “We tend to forget that in 1914-18 more people went to the theatre than read poetry but it’s the poetry which has been remembered. The plays, though, give us a real sense of how the War was presented to people and the issues at stake. They’re powerful pieces of theatre designed to move an audience but also to scare them, exploiting fears about spies, traitors and the enemy within.”
Brought back to life as the centenary of the War approaches, the plays offer another perspective on the War to that of well-known poets such as Rupert Brooke, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen.