New play on life of Vera Brittain

Buxton-born Vera Brittain and her haunting autobiography is the subject of a new play to be performed at the Pavilion Arts Centre in March by actress Rohan McCullough.

Having battled her way to Somerville College in the face of parental opposition, Brittain abandoned her studies at the outbreak of the First World War to serve as a volunteer nurse witnessing the horrors of trench warfare.

In 1918, with all the closest to her dead, she returned to Oxford and later devoted her energies to the causes of pacifism and feminism, writing and lecturing world-wide.

In 1933 she published Testament of Youth. This haunting autobiography conveyed to an entire generation the essence of their common experience of war.

It was a best-seller in both Britain and America.

Rohan McCullough’s performance has been well received, even gaining endorsement by Vera Brittain’s daughter, the politician and academic Baroness Shirley Williams.

“She has a sensitive understanding of my mother’s writing, and sometimes seems almost to become the young nurse who wrote the diary. I strongly commend her presentation,” said Shirley.

Due to the popularity of tickets the performance has been moved from the Arts Centre Studio to the main auditorium, to enable more people to attend the show.

The performance takes place at Buxton’s Pavilion Arts Centre on Sunday March 3 at 7.30pm. Tickets for Testament of Youth, priced £10 with discounts available, can be purchased from the Box Office on 0845 127 2190 or online at