Theatre

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Brothers in Arms: Sexuality, Men and Intimacies in the Great War

Directed by Martin Berry
With Dr Max Biddulph, Associate Professor, School of Education

Weaving between family history, war poetry and other archival documents this performance-lecture event will explore the concept of ‘romantic friendships’ amongst the soldiers of the Great War.

Timed to reflect the recent centenary of the armistice, the event will also mark in 2019, the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of the late Martin Taylor’s moving anthology of war poetry ‘Lads: Love Poetry of the Trenches’. This ground-breaking collection revealed with great poignancy the depth of regard that fighting men held for each other. Although Taylor cautions us to not jump to too many conclusions, the audience is invited to consider their experience of the performance in terms of the boundary between platonic friendship and homo-erotic desire.

In the prologue, the context and social climate of Edwardian times is considered in relation to nineteenth century legislation and the trial of Oscar Wilde. The performance will then follow Taylor’s trajectory, exploring ‘The Call’, ‘Somewhere in France, ‘The Greater Love’ and ‘Aftermath’, showcasing a number of key poetic works.

In the epilogue, the legacy of the conflict will be considered both in terms of the consequences of soldiers returning home and the embryonic gay rights movement in Germany.

90 minutes, no interval
Suitable for all (with parental guidance)

Presented as part of LGBT History Month