24 - 29 May 2016
In May 2016, over 50,000 people experienced Dr Blighty at Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Gardens. The projections spread far and wide on social media too, and were seen by over a million people online.
Created by award-winning arts company Nutkhut for Brighton Festival, which celebrated its 50th festival that year, Dr Blighty threw a spotlight on the Indians who travelled across the world to fight for the Allies during the First World War. More than one million men travelled from India to fight in World War One, and the collective experiences of these volunteer forces constitute one of the great untold stories in military history. The event successfully brought to life the experiences of the injured Indian soldiers sent to recuperate in Brighton and the locals who came to know and care for them.
Between 1914 and 1916, Brighton’s Royal Pavilion Estate was used as a hospital for Indian servicemen who had been wounded on the Western Front. The focus of Dr Blighty was an immersive walk-through installation in the gardens of the Royal Pavilion capturing the essence of the hospital, animated by actors and enhanced by a specially created soundtrack.
The hospital installation was complemented by a series of related performances and participatory outreach activities, drawing parallels with contemporary events while bringing back to life this moving episode in Brighton’s history. For four nights, a spectacular after-dark production incorporated video projections on the Royal Pavilion, evoking memories of a very distant home for the soldier convalescents. In addition, the Philharmonia Orchestra performed in a special ticketed concert at Brighton Dome with some of India’s leading contemporary musicians, marrying Western and Eastern classical music traditions.
— Clare Goodall (@TalksandTales) 24 May 2016
Co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW, Brighton Festival and Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
14-18 NOW and Brighton Festival light up Brighton Pavilion for Dr Blighty. Dr Blighty is a major outdoor event in the Royal Pavilion Garden inspired by the story of the thousands of Indian soldiers who were treated in the temporary military hospital housed in Brighton Pavilion. Photo by Tabatha Fireman / Getty Images for 14-18 NOW
As seen on What's On 2016 and other pages of 14-18 NOW.
Dates, Times & Locations
24 – 29 May 2016
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Ajay Chhabra Artistic Director
Shri Shriram Composer
Tom Piper & Amanda Stoodley Design
Sian Thomas Performance Director
Stephen Clark Writer
Phil Supple Lighting Designer
Novak Video & Animation
Ed Carter Sound Designer
Frank Wilson Creative Consultant
QED Video Projection Technical Delivery