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Freedom and Revolution: Being Human Festival 2020

Tuesday 17th November 2020 7.30-9.00pm.

Free online event streamed on YouTube:

Those wishing to have an email reminder can book below by 3pm Monday 16th November 2020 - or you can set the YouTube reminder directly on the page above

In 1807 French prisoners of war from Napoleon’s navy were held on ships in Portsmouth bay. One group of prisoners wrote and performed a historical drama tackling how enslaved people of African descent fought for their freedom on Haiti in 1793. This play is the starting point for a bold new project called Freedom and Revolution which is a collaboration between researchers from the University of Warwick, English Heritage's Shout out Loud project and the National Youth Theatre.

Portchester Castle

This free Being Human event will take place online via YouTube and will be a discussion between National Youth theatre staff and the academics whose research has enabled the amazing stories of the French and French-Caribbean prisoners of war who were held at Portchester to reach new audiences. It will offer an insight into the creative process of taking archival material as the basis for a powerful new work of theatre about freedom, race and gender.

The project addresses issues of enslavement and revolution in the haunting setting of Portchester Castle, drawing on the site's unexpected history to give space to the unheard voices from the past which demand creative expression.

Those attending the event may be interested to explore the exhibition in Portchester castle’s keep. The exhibition tells the remarkable stories of the thousands of free Black French prisoners of war from the Caribbean who were held at Portchester Castle during the French Revolution, and how they intertwine with those from mainland France held there during the Napoleonic wars. This is a unique – and largely forgotten - chapter in Franco-British history that’s been beautifully brought to life.

This one-off talk is an unmissable opportunity to join a discussion between researchers and National Youth Theatre playwright, director and sound artist. You’ll gain new insights into both the new research uncovered by Warwick researchers Professor Kate Astbury and Abigail Coppins and into the creative process of reconceptualising the prisoners of war's play with young participants from both the local community and the National Youth Theatre. There will also be plenty of opportunities to ask questions.

Booking is free - please register here if you'd like an email reminder

Freedom and Revolution is part of Shout Out Loud, English Heritage’s national youth engagement programme. Shout Out Loud is funded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund’s Kick The Dust programme. Freedom and Revolution is an additional Kick The Dust activity funded by DCMS through the Youth Accelerator Fund.

Being Human Festival logo

This event is part of the Being Human festival, the UK’s only national festival of the humanities, taking place
12–22 November. Led by the School of Advanced Study, University of London, in partnership with the Arts &
Humanities Research Council and the British Academy. For further information please see

Shout out loud logo

National Youth Theatre logo