During the Great War, Talbot House in Poperinge, Belgium, a few short miles behind the front line, became a haven for thousands of allied troops – a ‘home from home’ where they enjoyed some home comforts and remembered the men that they really were.
The house was named after Gilbert Talbot, brother of senior army chaplain Neville Talbot, who was killed in Belgium in July 1915.
Run by a diminutive chaplain named Tubby Clayton, Talbot House became known by its army signaller’s code of Toc H and ultimately would be the inspiration for the association with that name.
I wrote this play, which is about a subject very close to my heart, back in 2008 and have been adapting it little by little ever since as well as directing it and acting in it. We have performed it across the UK and Europe (we shall soon be celebrating its 100th performance). It is aimed at a family audience and is a feelgood and moving play that gives a brief taste of the history of the house and with the aid of poetry and music from the Great War, the atmosphere that was felt by the troops that visited it.
We also present a special ‘School’s’ version of the play around the country – aimed at secondary school pupils this is a perfect enhancement to any project on the First World War.
In 2016 we are delighted to be recording a radio adaptation of the play!