MHM‘s round-up of the best military history events, exhibitions, and lectures this February.
Beware of Pity
9-12 February 2017
Barbican Theatre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS
020 7638 8891
Based on Stefan Zweig’s 1939 novel of the same title, Simon McBurney’s production of Beware of Pity tells the story of one young officer’s descent into turmoil just before the outbreak of the First World War. The story is relayed by seven actors, whose alternating narration and dialogue creates a dramatically tense atmosphere in which the themes of love and betrayal are explored against the backdrop of a disintegrating Austro-Hungarian Empire. The production is in German. Featured image credit: Gianmarco Bresadola
Pioneers to Professionals: women and the Royal Navy
Opens 18 February 2017
The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Victory Gate, HM Naval Base, Portsmouth, PO1 3LJ
023 9283 9766
Marking the centenary of the formation of the Women’s Royal Naval Service (WRNS) in 1917, this exhibition will explore the role of women in the Royal Navy from the Age of Sail to the world wars and beyond. Thousands of women have served in the Navy over the past few centuries, though their work has often been overlooked. The exhibition will also detail the efforts of female Naval personnel today.
Revolution: Russian art, 1917-1932
11 February-17 April 2017
Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD
020 7300 8090
The first exhibition of its kind, Revolution: Russian art, 1917-1932 will explore the artistic landscape of post-Revolutionary Russia. Russian art flourished in a variety of mediums during this 15-year period, until Stalin’s clampdown in 1932. The exhibition will include works of art, photography, sculpture, and filmmaking, exploring the ideals and realities of the Revolution and its aftermath.
LGBT Lives in the British Armed Forces and Merchant Navy
18 February 2017
IWM London, Lambeth Road, London, SE1 6HZ
020 7416 5000
FREE (ticket required)
How do you begin researching LGBT history in the military when it has been so well hidden? Join Dr Emma Vickers between 1pm and 5pm on Saturday 18 February to explore how we can research LGBT history during a time when homosexuality was still illegal in the Armed Forces. There will be a Q&A discussion with veterans who identity as LGBT.
Conscientious Objectors of the First World War
Until 5 February 2017
National Portrait Gallery, St Martin’s Place, London, WC2H 0HE
020 7306 0055
Marking a century since the introduction of conscription in March 1916, this small photographic display is in its last few weeks. Although the Military Service Act required all married men aged 18-41 to fight on behalf of their country, some 16,000 British men refused to go to war on moral and religious grounds. Called cowards and traitors, they suffered abuse as a result of their decision not to fight. Many worked in non-combatant roles crucial to the war effort, but those who refused all service were imprisoned.
Revamping the Vamp: Mata Hari myths and realities
20 February 2017
Royal Marsden Education and Conference Centre, Stewart’s Grove, London, SW3 6JJ
020 7730 0717
Mata Hari was executed for espionage after a secret trial during the First World War; she was accused of trading sex for secrets and was held responsible for the deaths of 50,000 Allied men. Dr Julie Wheelwright will talk about her research into Mata Hari, revealing how she was used as a scapegoat for the French at a time when losses on the Western Front were high. Dr Wheelwright will also explore the fantasies that grew up around Mata Hari and will shed light on the history of women in the intelligence services.
2-22 February 2017
0333 666 3366
Antic Disposition’s critically acclaimed First World War adaption of Shakespeare’s Henry V celebrates the historical relationship between France and Britain from the Hundred Years War to the Entente Cordiale. This modern reimagining is set in a French military hospital in 1915 (500 years after the Battle of Agincourt), where wounded French and British soldiers decide to stage a production of Henry V. The production’s cathedral tour includes performances at eight of the UK’s most beautiful cathedrals, including Ripon, Lincoln, Peterborough, Ely, and Norwich, as well as Beverley and Southwell Minsters. The tour will begin and end at Southwark Cathedral in London.