New writing at the Devonshire Park Theatre continues this season with the latest play from Siobhán Nicholas entitled White Feather Boxer; this world premiere from Take the Space will be performed on May 27/28.
Set in Bethnal Green this is a story about boxing, bravest of sports, and the courage of conscientious objectors of WW1. It’s April 1967: the heavyweight boxing champion of the world, Muhammad Ali, defies the US Military by refusing to fight in Vietnam. Meanwhile in a shabby flat, an elderly boxing trainer, hears the news and recalls his own dilemmas of WW1, when conscription sent pacifists to prison or the firing squad; when he, at the peak of his boxing career and prowess, made a choice. Writer Siobhán Nicholas explains: “I wanted to explore – and honour – the psyche of the boxer and also capture the culture of the ring; I had a hunch that focusing on a retired boxer who has a very personal association with conscientious objection could allow me to come close to defining the qualities of bravery and duty.” The white feather became a symbol of cowardice for any man who didn’t sign up to join the war effort. Now 100 years on from this first momentous shift in war policy Siobhán Nicholas points a spotlight on this important issue of conscription, contentious objectors and cruelty. Take the Space’s previous productions include: Stella, Sam & I and Hanging Hooke. Performances at 7.45pm, and Saturday 2.30pm matinee, tickets £13.50; book on 01323 412000 or www.eastbournetheatres.co.uk