A Soldier and a Maker

A play on the life and work of Gloucestershire-born Ivor Gurney at the Cheltenham Music Festival

Iain Burnside’s play A Soldier and a Maker will be staged in the Parabola Arts Centre, Cheltenham as part of the Cheltenham Music Festival on 13 & 14 July 2012.

Born in Gloucester, Ivor Gurney is best known as a composer and poet. He preferred the term ‘maker’, but he was many things besides, ranging from a WWI soldier in his youth to, in the last 15 years of his life, an inmate of the Dartford Asylum.

It was while recording a disc of songs by Gurney with mezzo soprano Susan Bickley that the idea of a musical play came to Iain’s mind. In A Soldier and a Maker, he combines Gurney’s songs, poetry and letters as well as new material in exploring what he calls ‘a life full of cross references and contradictions’.

First presented earlier this year in the Barbican Pit, A Soldier and a Maker is ‘a compelling blend of music-theatre and drama-documentary’ (Opera magazine, July 2012). The cast includes 18 performers from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where Iain is Research Associate.

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