A new play inspired by the imprisonment of Irish volunteers after the 1916 Easter Rising is to run at the Bread and Roses Theatre, Clapham, from July 10-11.
Traitors, Cads and Cowards tells the story of three men who are locked up for different reasons but are all considered ‘traitors to the King’.
It is based around Judge John Sankey’s desire to absolve the British government’s actions during the Rising by getting Irish volunteers to disown their commandants.
He hoped to achieve this by holding and interrogating those who had supported the rebels, in the military wing of Wandsworth Prison.
The incarcerated volunteers were often joined by those who refused to accept conscription – introduced in England in January 1916 – and army deserters.
The play follows Liam, a willing participant in the Rising, Alfred, a British army deserter and veteran of the trenches at Verdun, and Henry, a conscientious objector.
Set against the backdrop of the crushed rebellion in Dublin and on the eve of the Somme offensive, the three protagonists seek to find a common cause with each other.
It is written by award-winning playwright Martin McNamara, who penned the critically acclaimed Your Ever Loving – a play based on the prison letters of the Guildford Four’s Paul Hill.
It features a variety of songs from the time, including a live performance of ‘Oro se do bheatha baile’ by Will Finn.
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