A theatre company in Boston in the US and an arts centre in Letchworth Garden City, Hertfordshire, have been brought together – thanks to a Cable article about the East End artist and poet Isaac Rosenberg.
Cable reader Susan Werbe in Boston saw the article about Rosenberg, who is regarded as one of the finest of the Great War poets, and contacted us to say how interesting she had found it. She was creating a theatre piece to mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War and was planning to include material from Rosenberg, who was killed on the Somme on April 1, 1918.
Cable editor David Walker was also chairman of the trustees of the Letchworth Arts Centre, which was planning its own First World War commemoration event, and brought Susan into contact with Maria Iredale, the Centre’s chief executive, to see whether the two activities could be tied in.
Susan visited Letchworth, while Maria subsequently won a prestigious Churchill Travelling Fellowship that enabled her to go to Boston, among other US cities, and meet the theatre group. And finally, in June, the hauntingly powerful multi-media production of Messengers of a Bitter Truth, for which Susan was executive producer, was performed in Letchworth by the Boston-based TC Squared theatre company.
The piece makes stunning use of the spoken word, music, movement and images – among them paintings by David Bomberg, who, like Rosenberg was one of the so-called Whitechapel Boys group of artists and writers. The performance includes one of Rosenberg’s letters to his patron Sir Edward Marsh.
While in Letchworth the theatre group also worked with students of the town’s Da Vinci School, which specialises in creative enterprise, staging joint performances with Da Vinci students.
It may not seem the most obvious of links for JEECS to have been involved in but it was well worthwhile and a great success.