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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

Author Nicholas de Jongh.

Archive listings for Plague Over England

Work type: Play.


Running time 2hours 30minsProducer Bill Kenwright. Producer Ambassador Theatre Group. Director Tamara Harvey. Design Alex Marker. Lighting James Farncombe. Costume Penn O'Gara. Sound Theo Holloway. Costume Trish Wilkinson. Music Alexander S. Bermange. Performer Michael Feast (John Gielgud). Performer David Burt. Performer Simon Dutton. Performer Celia Imrie (Dame Sybil Thorndike). Performer Hugh Ross. Performer John Warnaby. Performer Michael Brown. Performer Steven Hansell. Performer Sam Heughan. Performer Leon Ockenden.
12 Feb 09 to 2 May 09Duchess Theatre, West End :: V391
listing details L0368031866


Performance length 2 hours.Producer Chantelle Staynings. Producer Neil McPherson (for the Finborough Theatre). Director Tamara Harvey. Design Alex Marker. Lighting James Farncombe. Costume Penn O'Gara. Sound Colin Pink. Performer Jasper Britton. Performer David Burt. Performer Simon Dutton. Performer Steve Hansell. Performer Nichola McAuliffe. Performer Leon Ockenden. Performer John Warnaby. Performer Timothy Watson. Performer Robin Whiting.
27 Feb 08 to 22 Mar 08Finborough, Inner London :: V199
listing details L0304541287

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