1917. After protesting against the continuance of the war, Siegfried Sassoon, a decorated war hero and celebrated poet is sent to Craiglockhart War Hospital to silence him. There he meets shell-shocked Lt Wilfred Owen and they begin a friendship that transforms them both and creates some of the greatest war poetry of the twentieth century. Returning to the front, Sassoon was shot in the head but survived. Owen went on to win the military cross, but was machine-gunned to death at the Sambre Canal, near Ors, seven days before the Armistice.
This Autumn, the multi-awarding winning Feelgood Theatre Production takes to the road with the drama that charts the extraordinary friendship of two men whose poetry became the voice of a lost (scarred) generation and a world changed forever. The national tour and West End run of Stephen MacDonald’s play NOT ABOUT HEROES opens today with a gala ceremony at Craiglockhart War Hospital where the two first met and runs here until 10th September before going on to tour other significant venues in the poets lives, including Owen’s home town of Shrewsbury and a performance by special invitation of the Mayor of Ors at The Wilfred Owen Memorial (The Foresters House) in France. Here, on the 31st October 1918 Wilfred spent his last few nights in a smoky cellar and wrote his last letter home. The show concludes in the West End at Trafalgar Studios just a stone’s throw from London’s Cenotaph.
Weaving together their poetry, letters, and autobiographical writings including Anthem for Doomed Youth and Mental Cases, the work celebrates the indomitable spirit of friendship and offers an insight into courage, love and humanity in the face of war.
Samuel Grey of the Wilfred Owen Association says, “I am delighted that Feelgood are touring a new production of this wonderful play; we couldn’t ask for a better company to do justice to Wilfred and Siegfried’s story. I urge people to see it, especially in the places that were special in the lives of Owen and Sassoon, as this adds a level of intimacy and reality.”
Caroline Clegg founder of Feelgood Theatre and acclaimed director says, “Not About Heroes is an exquisite play of love, courage and conflict. As a director I continue to grapple with the unfathomable questions of the First World War, a conflict that still reverberates deep in our psyche. Whilst this play can’t answer those questions it explores them with wit and dexterity – the poetry enables us to bear witness on a personal leveI that affects the head and heart.”