Comedy show explores life behind the barbed wire

Spend a night in an internment camp with university production

Date posted

5 June 2018


Theatregoers are being invited to enjoy an evening of fun and laughter - by going back in time to a First World War internment camp.

Edinburgh Napier University is staging a music and comedy show based on an old programme found at Hawick Museum in the Scottish Borders.

Stobs, near Hawick, was the site of an internment camp for German nationals and PoWs. It is the world’s best preserved First World War camp and an archaeological site of global significance, and humour played a surprisingly big role in the lives of the men held there.

A Night at Stobs recreates an evening of light music and theatre as it would have been performed by internees at the camp in January 1917, featuring English language versions of the plays By Ourselves by Ludwig Fulda and The Broken Jug by Heinrich Von Kleist. The show, to be staged this month in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Hawick, will feature an all-male cast, with female roles filled through cross-dressing.

Dr Anne Schwan, Associate Professor in English at Edinburgh Napier, said: “This will be a lively show which will invite the audience to find out about life behind the barbed wire in an accessible and light-hearted way.

“Scenes from the two German plays, performed in English, will be framed by music and historical information based on personal letters and other sources. It promises to be an informative and entertaining evening.”

The production sees Edinburgh Napier joining forces with New Celts Productions, in collaboration with Birmingham’s Aston University.

The shows, staged by university music and acting students, are part of a £100,000 project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, to raise awareness of life in the WWI internment camps of Britain and the Commonwealth. The year-long initiative will see a new exhibition, online resources and the development of education packs for school pupils and people in prisons, and an Internment Information and Research Centre will also be created at Hawick.

The performances will take place at:

Edinburgh Napier Studio Theatre: 7:30pm Monday 18th June, Chalmers Church, Morningside Road, Edinburgh, EH104BT- tickets

Cottiers Theatre, 7:30pm Tuesday 19th June, 93-95 Hyndland St, Glasgow G11 5PU - tickets 

Heart of Hawick Theatre, 7:30pm Friday 22nd June, 2 Kirkstile, Hawick TD9 0AE - tickets

The image shows a scene from Die Frankfurter, by kind permission of Mr Jake Coltman, an example of a play staged at Stobs Camp during the First World War with a stage, a decorated set, costumes and female roles played by men.

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