Ivor Gurney Drama AUTHOR, COMPOSER, SOLDIER-OF-A-SORT Will Have Short London Run

Following an acclaimed run at The Pleasance in Edinburgh over the summer, "Author, Composer, Soldier-of-a-sort" written and performed by Jan Carey will have a short run at The King's Head Theatre, Islington at 4pm on 10, 17, 24 February and 3 March.

In the early 2000s a full-length version of "Author, Composer, Soldier-of-a-sort" was performed at music festivals throughout the country and had sell out performances at the Purcell Room, South Bank. Celebrating the intriguing friendship between Ivor Gurney the greatest British poet/composer known the 'English Schubert' and Marion Scott, a champion of women musicians, the production featured two actors and two musicians, with live music from tenor and piano.

For the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I in 2018, Jan Carey has re-written the play as a solo performance telling the extraordinary, gritty, tragic and moving story of Ivor Gurney and Marion Scott; featuring Jan Carey as Marion Scott, directed by Michael McCaffery and illustrated by the recordings of Ian Partridge, tenor and Jennifer Partridge, piano. After the run at The Pleasance in Edinburgh, she performed it on Remembrance Sunday at the Stroud Book Festival, Gurney's own country, the inspiration for his work. The story is brought to life through the rich material of Ivor Gurney and Marion Scott's memories, poems and letters, interweaved with some of Gurney's most loved songs.

Marion Scott and Ivor Gurney met in 1911 and despite the difference in age and social position, they formed an enduring friendship. When Gurney began writing poetry during World War I, Scott encouraged him acting as his business manager and editor and after the war she continued to champion his music and poetry. In 1922 Gurney was committed to the City of London Mental Hospital suffering from severe bipolar disorder and Scott remained close to him, dealing with his doctors, making decisions about his care, taking him on day trips and providing financial support. On his death, as his legal representative, Scott had in her possession the vast quantities of his work which he had sent her over the years. Her passionate belief in his talent remained with her until the end of her life.

Marion Scott was a significant force in reshaping women's roles in classical music, and in promoting and championing the work of several generations of British composers and musicians. Her pioneering work as a music critic and musicologist encouraged other women to work in fields previously closed to them. It was to Scott that Gurney sent his music and poetry from the trenches with war raging around him and she was the instigator of their performance and of the publication of his first book of poetry in 1917 'Severn and Somme', born of his passion and inspiration - the Severn valley. Scott came from a wealthy intellectual family. Her American mother was born in St Petersburg and her father an eminent lawyer. She trained at the Royal College of Music as a violinist and as a writer and lecturer was held in high esteem by her fellow musicians. She was Founder and President of the Society of Women Musicians and one of the first women music critics. She was surrounded by a wide circle of colleagues and friends of all ages until her death.

Ivor Gurney was born into a relatively poor family. He was a pupil at Gloucester Cathedral School and won a composition scholarship to the Royal College of Music. In 1915 he volunteered and joined the 2nd/5th Gloucesters as a private soldier and was gassed in the Passchendaele offensive and sent home, spending a year in various hospitals where his mental condition began to deteriorate. In 1919 he returned to the Royal College of Music but in 1922, was sent to a mental hospital in Gloucester, and from there, was transferred to the City of London Mental Hospital where he died in 1937.

"Author, Composer, Soldier-of-a-Sort" is presented by Hint of Lime Productions. The company previously presented the 5-star reviewed Are There More of You? and award nominated Mrs Roosevelt Flies to London at The King's Head Theatre.

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