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The Land of Might-Have-Been
25 Jul - 30 Jul 2023
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Buxton International Festival and Norwich Theatre launch a ground-breaking new co-production for 2023, ‘The Land of Might-Have-Been’. This bold new musical is built around the songs of Ivor Novello and is loosely based on incidents in the life of Buxton’s pioneering feminist and pacifist Vera Brittain and the intriguing lives, loves and motivations of those closest to her.
The story follows Vera and her soon-to-be fiancé Roland, and Vera’s brother Edward and their close friend Bobbie over a long hot summer in Buxton in 1914. They all have their own ideas about their glittering futures but are faced with the prejudice and conventions of their time.
Vera is determined not to become a traditional young married woman but wants to attend Oxford University and live an independent life. Her brother, Edward, dreams of becoming a musician and composer but must hide his secret love for Bobbie from his family and society. Roland wants to attend Oxford University and be an acclaimed poet, and Bobbie, forced to follow in his father’s footsteps, would rather search for a new way of life that would include Edward.
The war in Europe shatters all their hopes and dreams when Vera’s friends are killed in the battlefields, and she embarks on a life-long campaign for peace and equality. The musical’s epilogue sees Vera’s daughter, Baroness (Shirley) Williams, reflecting on her mother’s influential life.
Ticket prices: £10 - £38.50
Gold Friends, Supporters and Corporates – 21 Nov
Friends and Best Friends – 24 Nov
General – 28 Nov
Friends pre-June 22 – £2 OFF Bands A-D
Friends from June 22 – 5% OFF
Best & Gold Friends – 10% OFF
“This is such an extraordinary story of love, hope, resilience and the rebellious spirit of young people. It throws new light on stories we thought we knew and also brings together the parallel but separate lives of Ivor Novello, the most successful British musical theatre composer of the early 20th century and Vera Brittain, the author of the most powerful memoir of that time, Testament of Youth. Both young people were caught up in the tangles of forbidden love, war and terrible loss. It’s fitting and very poignant to be telling Vera’s story through Ivor’s beautiful songs.”
Book and Lyrics Author
“This is a story of resilience, hope and the promise of youth, themes which are still hugely relevant today. In a fairer world, what might have been for these inspirational characters? We are delighted to be working with Buxton International Festival to bring this beautiful story to the stage.”
Chief Executive and Creative Director of Norwich Theatre