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"This Evil Thing": WWI Conscientious Objector Play

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THIS EVIL THING is the compelling, inspiring and rarely told story of the men who said no to war; and the men and women who supported them; involving a dizzying journey from a chapel in Yorkshire to the House of Commons; from an English country garden to a quarry in Aberdeen; from a cell in Richmond Castle to a firing squad in France.

With military conscription still in force in many countries today, and prisoners of conscience still languishing in jails, the questions posed by THIS EVIL THING are as relevant and urgent as they were one hundred years ago.

Michael Mears – ‘The Fringe-First Award winning master of the one-man show’ (The List), portrays a gallery of characters from conscientious objectors to army generals, from Prime Ministers to world-famous mathematicians, with breath-taking physical and vocal dexterity, in a highly original piece of storytelling - using verbatim testimonies and interacting with an intricate soundscape. At its world premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016 it received four-star reviews and acclaim from audiences and press alike:

  • 'A moving and dynamic retelling of a hidden story' (The List)
  • 'An inspirational and disturbing work' - (Festmag)
  • ‘Magnificent storytelling’ - Amnesty International 

THIS EVIL THING explores the courage it took to be a pacifist in the First World War, one hundred years ago – following two men in particular : Bert Brocklesby, a young schoolteacher, and preacher at his local Methodist church; and Bertrand Russell - one of the greatest philosophers of his time. With the advent of military conscription in 1916, their worlds are turned upside down.

This performance is sponsored and underwritten by CrossRoads | Valley Brethren-Mennonite Heritage Center, Bridgewater Church of the Brethren, Community Mennonite Church, and Park View Mennonite Church, and our gracious host for the evening is Harrisonburg Mennonite Church. The event is free and open to the public.

1552 S High St, Harrisonburg, VA 22801

Earlier Event: March 4
Lenten Hymn Sing: Discipleship
Later Event: April 1
Easter Sunrise Service