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Plague Over England archiveIn Autumn 1953, Sir John Gielgud, then at the height of his fame as an actor, was arrested in a Chelsea public lavatory. He pleaded guilty the following morning to the charge of persistently importuning men for immoral purposes. Poised to appear in the West End in a play he was directing and recently knighted, his conviction caused a national sensation - breaking the great taboo of public discussion of homosexuality. More than just a dramatisation of a scandalous event in one actor's life, this controversial new play shows how Gielgud's arrest played a small but distinct part in the battle to make homosexuality legal. It captures the spirit of Britain in the early 1950s when judges, politicians and the national press were describing homosexuality as a cancer, an epidemic and a threat to national life. It casts light on the political and social anxieties of the period and the witch-hunting of men who had sex with men. Framed by scenes of contemporary celebration at a civil partnership ceremony and ranging from close encounters in Hyde Park to a Gentlemen's gay club in Piccadilly, from Scotland Yard where pretty policeman were taught how to seduce men in lavatories to the Home Secretary's office in Whitehall, Plague over England offers an extraordinary insight into the dramatic changes in social attitudes to gay life in the last fifty years. Performance length 2 hours.


Jasper Britton, David Burt, Simon Dutton, Steve Hansell, Nichola McAuliffe, Leon Ockenden, John Warnaby, Timothy Watson, Robin Whiting


Author: Nicholas de Jongh
Producer(s): Chantelle Staynings, Neil McPherson (for the Finborough Theatre)
Director: Tamara Harvey
Design: Alex Marker
Lighting: James Farncombe
Costume: Penn O'Gara
Sound: Colin Pink

Plague Over England

Plague Over England (Play) production archive for QTIX code T348165487. Details of all Plague Over England archived productions can be found under the QTIX code: S029913626

Archive Listings

27 Feb 08
22 Mar 08
Inner London, Greater London
Performance Details => Venue archive


No UKTW or User reviews available.
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CORONAVIRUS: All venues in the UK were shut down on March 16, 2020, and the restrictions were finally lifted on July 19, 2021. It is important to mention that the UK Theatre Web archive listings (iUKTDb) from March 2020 to July 2021 might not be accurate due to the lack of information regarding rescheduled and cancelled shows.

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