The Prisoners’ Theatre

Being a prisoner of war when Napoleon was rampaging through Europe cannot have been much fun. But those held in Portchester Castle back in 1810 were a resourceful lot — particularly on the home entertainment front.

Poster advertising Roseliska at Portchester Castle
Poster for The prisoners’ Theatre by Southsea Shakespeare Actors

Many of the prisoners were sailors — this was just two years before the battle of Trafalgar.

They were already well used to making onboard life more bearable with added drama. Now, 212 years on, one of the prisoners’ plays has been translated for performance in the place where it was written.

In this melodrama, our heroine, Roseliska, suddenly faces peril and disaster. This is a play about romance, adventure, danger, and the ultimate triumph of right over wrong, resilience over adversity — but this revival is not a commentary on current UK politics! The play forms the second part of the show that starts with a twist on Victorian entertainment with hilarious ‘turns’ from the golden days of Music Hall: songs, sketches, and novelties.

A few tickets are still available for the production that runs from 19th to 23rd July 2022


This article first appeared as part of Bruno’s Blog and is listed on Medium as part of the Groupe Intellex series: Portchester, the place I call home.



David Brunnen - Editor, Groupe Intellex

David Brunnen writes on Governance (Communities, Sustainability & Digital Innovations} PLUS reflections on life in Portchester — the place that he calls home.