Comments from young people involved:
A debate on the nature of censorship in art was enhanced by a special customised performance by Trio Lit of the show they had performed for LitFest a couple of weeks earlier.
“I thought that it was a really nice little event last night and I would certainly like to continue working to raise the profile of these kind of events. “ said teacher Thomas Stubbs of a collaboration between Headingley LitFest, the Leeds Salon and Ralph Thoresby school.
“Just a quick note to say the debate and performance all went off as planned -- in the end we did the entertainment while the judges were out of the room, making the decision, so the audience had that nice element of suspense to add a spark to their attention. They seemed to really enjoy Censored! and even became an enthusiastic crowd shouting at the end (Weavers Out!)… He (the teacher who organised it) was brilliant -- a great good thing all round, for positive input and unflagging energy!” Jane Oakshott, one third of Trio Lit.
“Though having a teacher on each side meant that there was too little of the pupils really – though they both did well and showed their potential as debaters, and the teachers were also able to set a good example of debating. But it should also still add to the knowledge and experience of those who took part and those in the audience towards the future – and I hope you’ll take part again in the qualifying rounds for next year’s Festival school debating competition.” Paul Thomas, Leeds Salon organiser
A quote and a poem from Censored! performance:
Atrocities, by Siegfried Sassoon
? Did Sassoon’s publisher reject this version in 1917 because it was not up to Sassoon’s usual standard, or because he thought the content was subversive for wartime?
Original version, written 1917
You bragged how once your men in savage mood
Butchered some Saxon prisoners. That was good.
I trust you felt no pity when they stood
Patient and cowed and scared as prisoners should.
How did you kill them? Speak and don't be shy.
You know I love to hear how Germans die.
Downstairs in dugouts "Kamarad" they cry
And squeal like stoats when bombs begin to fly.
I'm proud of you. Perhaps you'll feel as brave
Alone in no-man's-land where none can save
Or shield you from the horror of the night.
There's blood upon your hands - go out and fight.
I hope those Huns will haunt you with their screams
And make you gulp their blood in ghoulish dreams.
You're good at murder. Tell me, can you fight?
Revised version, pub 1983 in The War Poems ed.Rupert Hart-Davies
You told me, in your drunken-boasting mood,
How once you butchered prisoners. That was good!
I'm sure you felt no pity while they stood
Patient and cowed and scared, as prisoners should.
How did you do them in? Come, don't be shy:
You know I love to hear how Germans die,
Downstairs in dug-outs. "Camerad!" they cry;
Then squeal like stoats when bombs begin to fly.
And you? I know your record. You went sick
When orders looked unwholesome: then, with trick
And lie, you wangled home. And here you are,
Still talking big and boozing in a bar.