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The Most Effective Drum

Written by Julie Nicholson

04 Nov 2015 to 14 Nov 2015
Cotham Parish Church, Bristol

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'Puts an achingly human face on the tragedies of war . . truly poetic and beautiful . .'
Bristol Evening Post

The Most Effective Drum is a theatrical presentation of poetry inspired by people's experiences of war throughout the world and throughout time. Representing the voices of victims, perpetrators, observers and survivors of war, The Most Effective Drum uses verse from Ancient Greece to the present day, along with original music, movement and art, to create a unique experience blending poetry and theatre.

The production employs a variety of dramatic styles to portray the ugliness of war and the beauty of the human condition and its capacity for compassion - the subjects of war poets past and present.

Combining theatre, poetry, a choir and a live musical score, these hauntingly beautiful poems offer an alternative artistic context for communal reflection on war. The production will tie-in with remembrance and the 1914-18 commemorations.

'As soon as War is declared it will be impossible to hold the poets back. Rhyme is still the most effective drum.'

Devised and created by Julie Nicholson.

Show photos


Alan Coveney
Ben Crispin
Marc Geoffrey
Nicky Goldie
Hannah Lee

Piano & Organ - Robert Flory
Violin - Elizabeth Westcott

Most Effective Voices Choir
Philip Barker
Wendy Brandl
Sarah Brown
Philip Dixon
Anna Farthing
Mark Gonsalves
Silvia Hubackova
Zacharias Hubacek
John Laver
Eric Lewis
Lizzie Nicholson
Mal Sainsbury
Helen Self
Lorna Stubbs
Peggy Woodward


Director - Peter Clifford
Composer & Musical Director - Elizabeth Purnell
Designer - James Helps
Lighting Designer - Paul Lewis
Production & Stage Manager - Diana Favell
Technician - Josh Wakley
Marketing & Press - Alix Sherman
Graphic Design -

With thanks to - Steve Hennessey, Carrie Rhys-Davies, Edidh Hermann, David Martin, Greg North, Clarke Bros Scaffolding, The Revd Richard Holroyd, churchwardens and congregation of Cotham Church.


"The Most Effective Drum presents an alternative to how Poppy Day often plays out. It presents an opportunity to peacefully and meaningfully listen to the voices of war - soldiers, civilians and those left physically separate from the action but affected by it nonetheless - without hiding under this false veil of caring, as so much of the noise at the start of each November is . . When the political commentators have stopped blabbering, the columnists have stopped typing and the cannons have stopped booming, all we have is one moment of pure, static silence. It's a silence we should all find a way to listen to, and one this production steps into with grace."
 Rosemary Waugh, Exeunt Magazine


Stepping Out Theatre
13 Creedwell Orchard

Registered Charity (CIO) 1179310 (since July 2018), Formerly Charity 1117912 (since February 2007)

m. 07896 684097

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