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Companies join up to tour cross-dressing war play

Published: 14 September 2018

Rural touring companies New Perspectives and Pentabus, who have 90 years’ experience of theatre-making between them, have joined forces for the first time to explore unexpected stories that emerge from war.

They will take to village halls around the country Irish playwright Deirdre Kinahan’s Crossings, which is inspired by real-life occurrences of cross-dressing in the military and conversations with Bosnian and Baltic communities.

Shifting between 1919 and 2019, the play looks at solace across the century: those who have found refuge in the English countryside from more recent conflicts in Sarajevo and those who turned to women’s clothing to escape the bravado and brutality of military life in the trenches of World War I.

New Perspectives artistic director Jack McNamara said, “Pentabus and New Perspectives have had strong affinities for decades, and a partnership between us feels long overdue. We’re thrilled finally to be collaborating with this exceptional playwright to explore an alternative take on the legacy of World War I.

“It’s a story that challenges the masculine stereotype of the returning veteran while also reminding us of war’s persistent presence in the modern day.”

Sophie Motley, Pentabus artistic director, added, “I’m really thrilled that we’re working in collaboration with New Perspectives. Rural touring is the mainstay of our work. We’re looking forward to sharing Deirdre Kinahan’s delicate, touching, gently challenging piece of work with village hall audiences all over the country.”

The cast comprises Victoria Brazier and Will O’Connell. Sophie Motley directs. Designer is Sarah Jane Sheils and sound designer is Helen Skiera.

The tour starts at Bromfield Village Hall, Shropshire on Wednesday 10 and Thursday 11 October. It visits other Shropshire venues and also stops off in Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Northamptonshire, Herefordshire, Derbyshire, Rutland, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Devon and Dorset until 24 November.

A list of dates is available at the Pentabus web site.

Steve Orme