When a nation is called to war, two young tin miners choose separate paths; while one friend faces the front line, another faces internment at Dartmoor prison and accusations of cowardice. Meanwhile Castle Drogo stands deserted and incomplete as the stone masons down their tools and head for the front line…
‘Road to Nowhere’ was a new drama devised by MED Theatre’s Young Company and explored the impact the First World War had on Dartmoor and its communities, forming part of MED Theatre’s 18 month Dartmoor in World War One project. Following a trip to Dartmoor Prison Museum the Young Company unearthed a wealth of research about the imprisonment of Conscientious Objectors during the war, who were made to carry out humiliating tasks such as building a road ‘from nowhere to nowhere’. This became a central theme in the play, as well as the role of the local suffragette movement and the halting of the building of Castle Drogo when the stone masons left for the front line.
Workshops and training sessions contributed to the development of the piece, including a digital media workshop with Blind Ditch and a physical theatre workshop with Clive Mendus from Complicite. Techniques from both of these workshops were included in the final performances. ‘Road to Nowhere’ was performed first at Moretonhampstead Parish Hall, then as a site-specific performance at Castle Drogo in November 2013. The live performance was also preceded by a short film, ‘Williamson and the Otters’, a responsive dance piece investigating Henry Williamson’s traumatic experience of the trenches and the creation of his seminal book ‘Tarka the Otter’.
Publicity photographs by Jenny Steer