Marking 100 years since the end of the first world war we bring you a poignant and moving performance from a young, acclaimed, performance poet, Toby Thompson.
In 2015 Toby was commissioned by director Jesse Jones (National Theatre, Bristol Old Vic) who was in residence at Royal & Derngate Theatre in Northampton, to write and perform this commemorative work in the centenary year of the Battle of Aubers Ridge.
Aubers Ridge was one of the most disastrous British military engagements of the First World War. The men of Northampton suffered terrible and disproportionate losses: the Northamptonshire Regiment was heavily involved and badly hit. No single regiment suffered more losses on the those two days in May 1915 when the British counted 11,000 casualties overall for no material strategic gain. The story of Aubers Ridge epitomises the essence of ‘lest we forget’.
Working first with local historian Geoff Granger, Toby immersed himself in the true life stories of the people of Northampton, and the resulting work takes us deeper and deeper into the world of the men , women and families who were affected. Over five passages in the poem, through their journey from the sunny and optimistic spring of 1914 to its fateful outcome, we come to know them, love them and respect them, before we have no choice but to mourn those who perished, and pity those who were left behind.
Director Jesse Jones created a production that is both moving and gripping in equal measure, incorporating specially created soundscape and visuals by Toby’s long-time collaborator Buster Grey-Jung.
Just a few of the great reviews
Beautiful, inspiring wordsmithery…
Toby Thompson is a writer and performer of thoughts and feelings. Not just his own, but somehow yours too. His poetry displays his delight in life’s uncertainties and absurdities and his uniquely rhythmic and musical style is lyrical, beguiling, playful and poignant.
“…one of the most inspired, powerful poets I’ve heard in years. …talent and passion that put a lot of older writers to shame. Who knows what primal wellspring he’s pulling all this inspiration from, but anyway, world – take notice.”
Dizraeli. Champion Poet, Rapper, Dizraeli & The Small Gods.
“…easily one of the most gifted young wordsmiths I have ever had the pleasure to encounter.”
Akala. Rapper & founder of the Hip Hop Shakespeare Company
“Toby Thompson is the future.”