NEWS: A Haunted Existence @ Alphabetti Theatre | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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When Geoffrey Patrick Williamson entered a compartment on an Exeter-to-Bristol train in the 1950s it would change the course of his life, and the lives of others, in unimaginable ways. After conversing with another man, he was accused of engaging in “improper approaches”. That man was a Railway Officer in plain clothes and Williamson was arrested at the next stop. What followed was an interrogation in which he revealed the names of the men he’d had sex with, creating a chain reaction of arrests, prison sentences, aversion therapy and suicide.

It’s a story that’s shocking in today’s society, but one that has also been much forgotten. This tragic tale is now being unearthed as part of a new production in which Williamson’s ordeal forms the centrepiece. A Haunted Existence, which comes to the Alphabetti Theatre from Tuesday 26th-Saturday 30th November, explores the shameful treatment of gay men before homosexuality was decriminalised. Playwright and actor Tom Marshman uses a multidisciplinary blend of technology, music and projections to interweave history and hearsay to explore the stigma and turmoil that surrounded Britain’s recent past. This delve into pre-decriminalisation history may leave you haunted, but also enlightened to the true stories of those such as Williamson.

A Haunted Existence is at Alphabetti Theatre, Newcastle from Tuesday 26th-Saturday 30th November

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