Brighton Festival – alongside commissioning partners 14-18 NOW and Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove – has today announced a major new commission, Dr Blighty, inspired by the untold story of the hundreds of thousands of men who traveled from India to fight for the Allies in the First World War.
Created by performance company Nutkhut and brought together by a creative team that includes designer Tom Piper (Tower of London poppies), the ambitious, large-scale, immersive outdoor experience is the latest event revealed for the 50th edition of the festival in May 2016.
More than a million men travelled from India to fight for the Allies during the First World War, their collective experiences constituting one of military history’s great untold stories. Between 1914 and 1916, over 2000 Indian soldiers wounded on the Western Front would be brought to a temporary hospital housed in Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Estate.
This major new collaboration, Dr Blighty, recalls this episode in Brighton’s wartime history, bringing the experiences of the soldiers – and the locals who came to care for them – movingly back to life via an immersive walk-through installation across the Royal Pavilion Estate. Animated by actors and enhanced by immersive installations, enthralling video projections, ambient soundscapes and theatrical interludes, inspired by letters the soldiers sent back home, the event will seek to capture the essence of the hospital and those who recuperated here.
The hospital installation will be complemented by a series of related performances and participatory outreach activities, drawing parallels with contemporary events while bringing this moving episode in Brighton’s history back to life. For four nights, a spectacular after-dark production will incorporate video projections on the Royal Pavilion, evoking memories of a very distant home for the soldier convalescents. In addition, the Philharmonia Orchestra will perform in a special ticketed concert at Brighton Dome with some of India’s leading contemporary musicians, marrying Western and Eastern classical music traditions.
Full programme details, and times of performances will be announced on 17 February 2016.
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