Poet Laureate’s play receives acclaim
A play set in the First World War that has received critical acclaim from audiences who have seen it, is once again about to tread the boards in the week prior to the 100th anniversary of the Armistice in November 1918.
A special presentation of “Two Mothers of Distant Sons” will be performed by the Belmont Rep at Lightwoods Park and House, Adkins Lane, Bearwood, Smethwick, B67 5DP, on Tuesday November 7 at 7pm. The radio-style play was written by Wednesbury Poet Laureate Brendan Hawthorne, and Brendan has been reminding us about its content:
“The play is semi-biographical and is based on the life of Corporal Billy Bolt. Written in poetic form it contains original songs throughout the performance, and the cast gives voice to Billy and Tommy, two young signalmen from the South Staffs Regiment, as they set off for Ypres, leaving behind their mothers, fathers and loved ones to air their feelings and tell the stories of their brave boys through letters and telegrams. “This play highlights the horrors, victories and emotions encountered when set against the backdrop of the Black Country and of Ypres during the Great War. Original war diaries and documentation are used to give realism to the activities of front line service and employs local and family stories to give the play a grounding in local views held at the time. There are sound effects and lighting as well as original artefacts on display and within the scenery.
“The story covers a period in 1915, before looking at the immediate aftermath of the ceasefireand ensuing peace initiatives by means of providing a conclusion. A unique question and answer session follows the performance which gives the opportunity for members of the audience to freely ask the actors and their characters about the play, its content, concept and realisation, etc.
“Corporal Billy Bolt was my great uncle, a chap I never knew personally but a person I have grown to know a lot during the writing and presenting of this play. It is primarily aimed at adults, though we welcome youngsters over 14 years of age to accompany their parents or guardians. I’m sure researchers and those interested in local stories from the Black Country will find “Two Mothers of Distant Sons” a rich source of material and very much of local significance. I might add the script contains no abusive language. Together with the play we have an accompanying exhibition of First World War artefacts and facsimiles for people to look at.”
Tickets are priced at £7.50 and £6.50 concessions and are available in advance by contacting 0121 569 4740 or email lightwoods_house@ sandwell.gov.uk.the venue is fully accessible by wheelchair and interval refreshments will be available to purchase at the event.
There is also a free writing workshop “Words on War/war of Words” at Lightwoods on a drop in basis on November 7 hosted by Brendan Hawthorne from 10.30am 3.30pm (lunch 12-1). You will be able to work with Brendan on creating poems and short stories relating to the war, inspired by an exhibition of First World artefacts. The session is aimed at both beginners and experienced writers alike, and if you are interested you can register for the session at the time of booking tickets for the play.
British soldiers on the march