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War poets story at Palace

Posted onPosted on 30th Oct
War poets story at Palace

Marking the centenary of the beginning of the First World War, Stephen MacDonald’s story about the poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, will be performed at Mansfield Palace Theatre on 20 November.

This beautifully written play chronicles the unique and deepening friendship that developed between Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, from their first meeting in 1917 at the Craiglockhart War hospital where both were being treated for ‘war neurosis’, to their final meeting in August 1918, shortly before Owen’s return to active duty.

Seen through the eyes of the older Sassoon – who is remembering events from 14years previously – the play interweaves extracts from their real diaries, letters and poems and suggests that their intense friendship was key to unlocking Owen’s genius as a poet and liberating him as a man.
“I hadn’t actually read the play until I’d been told by my agent that I had an audition for Not About Heroes”, admits Ben Ashton, who plays Wilfred Owen.

“I confess I didn’t know much about Wilfred Owen or Siegfried Sassoon either. I read the play and straight away I was gripped. It’s an intimate play about two people and their relationship. When I read it I wanted to find out more about them straight away.”

On a lighter note, he tells us that one of the biggest challenges of the role is living with a moustache for four months!

“I had to grow one for a previous tour and got so much stick for it from friends and family, and even from strangers walking down the street. Back in the First World War it was common place for a man of my age to sport a moustache, but that trend seems to have waned,” he laughs.

Ben’s opposite number, James Howard, who is playing Siegfried Sassoon tells us “there is something very special about performing this piece 100 years on from the start of the First World War, and the power of the story is something which I hope audiences will be very moved by.”

“The sheer quantity of lines is very daunting”, he continues, “and with only one other actor on stage, there is a huge pressure to create a relationship that holds an audience enthralled for two hours. The power of the script and the incredible flashes of poetry which appear throughout should be enough to help bring the story to life.”

Please Note: Age suitability 13yrs+ due to nature of content
Not About Heroes is at Mansfield Palace Theatre on Thursday 20 November at 7.30pm. Tickets are £13.33 Full / £12.30 Concs. (Prices include 2.5% Booking Fee.) To book, call the Box Office on 01623 633133 or book online at