Play to come to Whittingham Asylum site.

A play about life during the First World War in Whittingham Asylum will premiere on the old asylum site.

Whittingham 1918 is based on research into papers on Whittingham Asylum, held at Lancashire Archives.

The play is the latest in a series of events that form Whittingham Lives, a project exploring the 150-year history of the Asylum.

It examines the effect the First World War had on asylum life throughout Britain, with particular focus on the impact at Whittingham.

Performances of the play are free and the opening night will take place on Wednesday 24 October.

It will then move onto St Peter’s Art Centre, UCLan on Thursday 25, Friday 26 and Saturday 27 October.

All performances start at 7.30pm, and tickets can be obtained by searching ‘Whittingham 1918’ on Eventbrite.

In its day Whittingham Asylum was one of the largest and leading asylums in Europe, and catered for over 3,000 patients.

The asylum fed, housed and gave people meaningful work to do, but when the First World War came along, it had to deal with nearly 1,000 shell-shocked soldiers.

Writer, Eric Northey said: “War always has many victims, some far away from the battlefield, whose lives are changed forever.

“This included women, who had to keep the hospital going whilst the men were at the front, as well as feed their families when food was short.

“They were the key members of the National Asylum Workers Union (NAWU) who fought successfully, despite the war, for better wages and conditions for mental hospitals and their patients.

“It is these hidden dramatic stories, we are trying to tell.”

The play has been created in partnership with Lancashire Archives, the University of Central Lancashire and UNISON.

To get involved with the Whittingham Lives project, email contact@whittinghamlives.org.uk or visit the Whittingham Lives website.

Maria Jacovou

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