Last night we saw the second of our three First World War Concerts Never Such Innocence with actor Christopher Kent and ROSL prizewinner Gamal Khamis. This show is touring the UK and we were happy to have the opportunity to present it to our ROSL members so close to the centenary of armistice. 

Never Such Innocence started life as a conversation between Christopher Kent and Gamal Khamis about 20th century poetry and music and what emerged was not just an anthology of material but something with a distinct narrative shape. This mirrored the experience of the First World War itself, moving from initial optimism, through a growing realisation of what was happening at the front, through horror and despair to an inner contemplation of the loss and deep-seated grief which spread across Europe in the face of the appalling human cost of the war.

Creating a link to the performers was additional material handed down through Christopher’s family about his great uncle Percy O’Key, who had served as a young private soldier in the war. To create a link to the music, Christopher and Gamal felt instinctively that there would be a kind of resonance between words and music, with each playing off the other and reflecting parallel emotional worlds. What started out as a simple poetry and music recital gradually became a meditation on the nature of the extraordinary creativity of writers and composers in response to the horrific events surrounding them.

Since its premiere in November 2016 Never Such Innocence has been performed to widespread acclaim in theatres, concert venues and at festivals around the UK, including a sold out West End performance in March 2018, and a feature on BBC Radio 3 in May 2018. There are still several chances to catch this around the UK, click here to find out dates and locations.

ROSL's remembrance activities reach their conclusion on Thursday 8 November with a memorial service at 3pm followed by a concert by the London Military Band at 6.30pm. We look forward to seeing you there.


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