J. M. Barrie World War One play tours Hatfield and London's West End

PUBLISHED: 14:45 10 October 2016 | UPDATED: 15:00 10 October 2016

A Well Remembered Voice will be performed at the Weston Auditorium on the University of Hertfordshire's de Havilland Campus in Hatfield

A Well Remembered Voice will be performed at the Weston Auditorium on the University of Hertfordshire's de Havilland Campus in Hatfield

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Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie is being honoured this month with his World War One play, A Well Remembered Voice, being performed in Hatfield using his original words.

About The Everyday Lives in War centre

• The Everyday Lives in War centre is one of five First World War engagement centres funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

• It is based at the University of Hertfordshire, in collaboration with the Universities of Essex, Northampton, Exeter, Lincoln and Central Lancashire. They are curious about the impact of war on everyday life between 1914 and 1918 and its longer-term effects.

• Visit https://everydaylivesinwar.herts.ac.uk/ for more information.

When written in 1918, A Well Remembered Voice was too controversial for the Government censor and Barrie was forced to change it.

This new production, which can be seen in Hatfield on Monday, October 17, restores Barrie’s original words and his message about the effects of the war on those left behind.

A Well Remembered Voice has been produced by the University of Hertfordshire’s Everyday Lives in War centre and Io Theatre Company.

Performed by actor-musicians, it combines live music and physical theatre, mixing elegiac folk song against militaristic music and the youthful vigour of the playing field.

Peter Pan creator J.M. BarriePeter Pan creator J.M. Barrie

It is directed by Delyth Jones with music by James Lark.

Cast members include Brendan Weakliam, Anne-Marie Piazza, Peter Mulligan and Wendy Carr.

A Well Remembered Voice was first produced in 1918 in aid of Countess Pamela Lytton of Knebworth’s hospital for wounded soldiers in London.

Despite being well-received at the time, it has never been performed since.

Peter Pan creator J.M. Barrie's World War One play A Well Remembered Voice is being performed in HatfieldPeter Pan creator J.M. Barrie's World War One play A Well Remembered Voice is being performed in Hatfield

The neglect of the play is surprising given James Barrie’s fame, not only as the creator of Peter Pan, but as one of the most successful and innovative dramatists of the early 20th century.

As a piece of war writing A Well Remembered Voice also responds powerfully to anxieties of the time, including the question of how best to mourn the dead.

Dr Andrew Maunder, historian at the University of Hertfordshire, said: “The play is important in several ways.

“It’s one of the first to capture the wartime craze for spiritualism and the attempts to contact lost soldiers.

“It’s a work written in 1918 near the end of the war when people were having to come to terms with the tremendous loss of life.

“But it’s also an upbeat play which encourages those left behind to go on living and live life to the full.”

A Well Remembered Voice can be seen at the University of Hertfordshire’s Weston Auditorium on Monday, October 17 at 7.30pm.

Full price tickets cost £10, and it is £7 concessions.

Call the box office on 01707 281127 or visit the UH Arts website at www.uharts.co.uk

It will then be performed at the Leicester Square Theatre in London’s West End on Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30, at 3pm.

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