Greenwich Theatre Goes Into Battle

Staff Reporter (09 September, 2021)

The tale that exemplified the elitist culture of the British establishment and the privilege of the ruling class

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In Soft Wings announce that the world premiere of Hugh Salmon’s moving, effecting, and humorous debut play Into Battle, the true story of a bitter feud at Oxford University, will open at Greenwich Theatre on the 13th October. Carefully researched, Salmon tells the tale that exemplified the elitist culture of the British establishment and the privilege of the ruling class encapsulating the social conflict in Britain before WWI.

Winston Churchill said, ‘The greatest danger to the British people is not among the enormous fleets and armies of Europe. No. It is here in our midst, close at home, close at hand, in the unnatural gap between rich and poor’.

1910. Balliol College. Dangerous rifts are appearing between the ‘have’ and the ‘have-nots’. Of the fifty-three freshers who went up some four years earlier, eighteen had been to Eton.

In an increasingly personalised and bitter feud, will social influence and wealth prevail over those dedicated to improving the lives of the poor and hungry on the back streets of Oxford? And when facing a far greater adversary will vicious personal differences be put aside in the face of a common enemy?

Into Battle unearths a true story that has remained buried for over 100 years. A story that shows how the political and social divisions tearing Britain apart were reflected at Balliol College, Oxford through the bitter feud between Hon. Billy Grenfell, the future war poets Hon. Julian Grenfell and Patrick Shaw Stewart and those dedicated to the Balliol Boys Club founded by Keith Rae and England rugby international Ronald Poulton.

Hugh says “What compelled me to write ‘Into Battle’ was the human journey these remarkable people take from one point in their lives to another. And that the issues that divided them were not only reflected at a national level, against the background of one of the most divisive general elections in history in 1910, but that these issues still resonate over 100 years later: specifically, the inequality and unfairness that is still prevalent in today’s society and the divide this creates in communities large and small. How much has changed?”

”The more I researched the Balliol Feud, and the people involved, the more I realised that I was uncovering and piecing together a story that has been buried in history but that I could bring back to life for today’s audiences. These individual real-life characters are so wildly full, interesting, and engaging I wanted to share their journeys and let their voices be heard by a new generation. Whatever our differences, we can come together”

Into Battle will be directed by Ellie Jones (ART, Made in Dagenham, Jane Eyre the Musical)

Greenwich Theatre, Crooms Hill, London, SE10 8ES from 13th – 31st October.Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.30pm, Saturday matinee at 2.30pm, Sunday at 1pm and 5.30pm.

Book tickets at: 020 8858 7755  / www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk    

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