Drama: Stanley at the Beaufort War Hospital

Sandham Beaufort Hospital

Following the huge success of this production in 2017 we are delighted to welcome back "Stanley at the Beaufort War Hospital". This fabulous production experiences our paintings through Mary Ingoldby's play about the life of Stanley and the others at the Beaufort Hospital in Bristol during the First World War.

Taking place 6.15-7.30pm on Friday 15 and Saturday 16 June, the play follows the narrative of the our paintings. The characters are based on real people drawn from Mary's research. It shows the relief of the sick and wounded delivered from the front line, the Beaufort concert hall and the every day rituals of hospital life. Your visit supports us directly but also our work to introduce Sandham to a wider audience. Tickets are £15 each and will need to be booked by calling 0344 249 1895.

Stanley at the Beaufort War Hospital all started by Mary's visit to Sandham Memorial Chapel a long time ago - so long in fact that the key was collected from the village post office.  That visit was as to so many something that remained in her mind.  Mary describes the wonderful pictures which overwhelmed and enchanted her.  

Beaufort Hospital - during First World War
Sandham Beaufort Hospital play
Beaufort Hospital - during First World War

Years later Mary living in Bristol realised that the old asylum on the hill was the original Beaufort War Hospital.  A visit to the Glenside Museum (the old chapel of the hosptial) drew Mary in for at least four years of work researching the staff and patients so as to build a picture of life at the hospital.

Patients and Staff at Beaufort Hosptial during First World War
Sandham, Beaufort Hospital, Play
Patients and Staff at Beaufort Hosptial during First World War

The completed work produced an archive, a website and an exhibition but Mary felt that there was more to be said and she began to write a play about the hospital. She drew on her research, family memoirs and stories, Stanley Spencer’s letters and notebooks; Ken Pople’s biography of Stanley Spencer amongst others.  Mary sent the play to the Bristol Old Vic and was delighted to be selected as one of the Open Session writers for 2017. 

Beaufort Hospital Ward 13a during First World War
Sandham Beaufort Hospital
Beaufort Hospital Ward 13a during First World War

The play follows the narrative of our paintings, which lend themselves to patterns and movement, the cast of eight actors play different roles and work as a chorus. The play is an imagining of what might have been. The characters include the resentful Miss Dunn who was demoted to the laundry; the larger than life Sergeant Major Kench who manages to appear in nearly every picture postcard; the relief of the sick and wounded delivered from the front line; the Beaufort concert hall, the every day rituals of "doing" which was so important to Stanley and enabled him to get through this terrible experience.

Beaufort Hospital Laundry during First World War
Sandham Beaufort Hosptial
Beaufort Hospital Laundry during First World War

 

Click here for Stanley at the Beaufort Hospital (PDF / 0.1328125MB) download for the full article about Mary's research and the play.