Edinburgh Festival play looks at combat stress after Afghanistan and World War I

A new play examining post-traumatic stress in soldiers is being premiered at the Edinburgh Festival this year. Presented by the Handheld Arts company, Paper Tom tells the story of a WW1 veteran and a modern-day soldier returning home from Afghanistan.

The historical legacy of shellshock in combat soldiers is compared with the contemporary condition of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. The play considers how much has changed for veterans returning home to their friends, loved ones and life on civvy street.

In August 2010 Handheld Arts spent a week with the charity Talking2Minds, speaking with veterans from several conflicts that were suffering or had suffered from PTSD. Research and development has also been supported by Arts Council England and Theatre Venture.

The production has incorporated this intensive research into a contemporary physical performance combined with bold new writing and mixed media. Recent preview of the production earned Paper Tom a five-star review from Fringe Guru, calling it “An impressive and affecting piece of theatre” and an “extraordinary and memorable piece of storytelling”.

Paper Tom is being performed at the Hill Street Theatre in Edinburgh, 5-29 August 2011 (except Wednesdays). You can book tickets via the Edinburgh Festival website.