Festival | 3—7 July 2012
2012 marked the centenary of the sinking of the Titanic — a liner with an enduring relationship to its home port of Liverpool.
From the headquarters of its owners, to the homes of its musicians, the memory of the Titanic is part of the memory of the city itself.
The Theatre in the Rough Festival 2012 presented a 5-day festival of live theatre, audio plays, live music, art, authors’ talks, and an historical exhibition, all created locally, to commemorate the anniversary.
Included below are a series of audio plays created especially for the event.
By Laura Kate Barrow
Saturday, May 4, 1912. Goodison Park. The Liverpool County Cup Final. Everton vs. Liverpool.
Both clubs donated their share of the gate receipts to the Titanic Disaster Fund. This yielded £287 (around £12,500 today), not including a collection which was also carried out at the ground.
Machines takes place amidst the sound and fury of this scene of city tribalism — yet, as some seats remain poignantly empty, and a collection tours the ground, the same voices remember those who have been lost to the sea.
Incidentally, the match itself finished 0—0, meaning that, under the regulations of the day, the Cup was shared.
SOULS OF THE SEA
By Jessica Frackelton
Pioneered for communication by the Italian Guglielmo Marconi, wireless telegraphy could almost be considered the mobile broadband of its day.
In an interesting link to Liverpool, both of Titanic‘s wireless operators — Jack Phillips and Harold Bride — trained at the Marconi School in Seaforth, as did Harold Cottam, the wireless operator aboard the Carpathia.
Wireless, though, was still in its infancy, with different ships’ signals competing, and sometimes jamming communication. Souls of the Sea takes inspiration from confused wireless communication flying across the Atlantic that dreadful night. Confusion did indeed reign — initial press reports the day after the disaster reported that all passengers on board Titanic were safe.
BEYOND THE HORIZON
By Simal Patel
Miss Katherine Gold of Southport was a stewardess on board the Titanic, and a serial companion of maritime calamity.
She had been aboard the Suevic when it ran aground off the Cornish coast in 1907, and was on the Olympic when it collided with HMS Hawke in 1911.
She had visited her uncle, Tom Wright, in Southport only two weeks prior to Titanicsinking, and this is the starting point of Simal Patel’s play.
Beyond the Horizon interrogates the balancing of adventure with risk, and the difference between a safe life and a banal one.
THE UNKNOWN HERO
By Nicola Heffernan
Born in Patten Street, Birkenhead, in 1878, Charles Joughin was Chief Baker aboard the Titanic.
The Unknown Hero charts his incredible journey. When the iceberg struck, Joughin organised his men to provide provisions for the lifeboats. He aided in the loading of women and children to safety.
He remained on deck, throwing overboard deckchairs to be used as floats. Fortified with a drop of liqueur, he was reputedly the last passenger off the ship. And that is only the beginning…
Nicola Heffernan’s play focuses on what defines heroism, and what a hero really looks like.
THE NIGHT I LAUGHED
By Alex Moran
The Night I Laughed touches upon the chaotic and conflicting reports of who was and wasn’t saved.
Even when the terrible truth became clear, accepting the intangibility of loss at sea was difficult for many relatives.
In this play, a mother struggles to find peace whilst her son remains invisibly gone.
ISMAY’S INNOCENT GUILT
By James Burcher
J. Bruce Ismay, President of the White Star Line, was the only male passenger native to Liverpool to survive the sinking of the Titanic.
This has become one of the most damning statistic of the whole Titanic story — that he survived whilst many women and children did not.
In this play, depicting the man in a confessional tone, we hear Ismay searching his conscience, as he interrogates his supposed guilt. Is he seeking absolution, or has he no need for salvation at all?
By Peter Harris
Whilst we know a great deal about many of the passengers and crew who perished, it is extremely difficult to imagine the sheer terror of drowning itself.
In Sinking, a husband and wife fall to the bottom of the ocean. Whilst one agonises about having lost sight of their daughter, the other prepares them for grim, inescapable fate.
Drowning can alternately swing between the chaotic, the hallucinatory, and the strangely calm. This piece looks at the stress of all these states.
Sarah Van Parys
Grant Ryan Lenton
Sarah Van Parys
Grant Ryan Lenton