SELBY Abbey will play host this autumn to three performances of Not About Heroes, Stephen Macdonald’s play based on the meeting of First World War poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen at Craiglockhart War Hospital.
Sassoon was a decorated war hero hospitalised after protesting against the continuing war; Owen was a victim of shell shock and accused of cowardice. Returning to the front, Sassoon was shot in the head but survived.
Owen went on to win the military cross, die in the trenches seven days before Armistice Day and receive posthumous fame as England’s greatest war poet.
Presented by Feelgood Theatre Productions, Macdonald’s drama draws on poetry, letters and autobiographical writings in an uncompromising exploration of courage, humanity and an intense, transforming friendship forged through the power of words, overshadowed by an all-consuming war.
The play’s title comes from the words of Wilfred Owen, who wrote: “These poems are not about heroes; my subject is war, and the pity of war. Yet these elegies are to this generation in no sense consolatory. They may be to the next. All a poet can do today is warn.”
Not About Heroes will be performed at 7.30pm on September 30 and 1pm and 7.30pm on October 1, when the matinee will be followed by a free post-show talk. Tickets are available online at selbyheroes.org.uk or selbyabbey.org.uk
Feelgood Theatre are running a poetry competition, Whispers Of War, alongside their Not About Heroes tour.
You can find out more about both on August 4 at 2pm at Selby Library and Customer Services Centre at a poetry reading and question-and-answer session by Feelgood artistic director Caroline Clegg.
At 6.30pm, at Selby Abbey, First World War poetry and songs and another Clegg Q and A will be accompanied by the lighting of the Peace Light, which will remain lit until November 11 2018 as a focus for people’s prayers and hopes for peace. Both free events are open to all.