A timely look at Oswald Mosley

THE alarming rise of the far right across Europe and the USA is sounding alarm bells for anyone whose memory – or knowledge of history – covers the run-up to the Second World War. A provocative new play, coming to Dorchester Corn Exchange on Thursday 7th March at 7.30pm explores the legacy of the notorious British fascist, Oswald Mosley.

It’s hard to imagine a more timely staging than DR Hill’s play Draining The Swamp. Performed by The Company, with David Hill in the lead, it brings to life Mosley’s career – his meteoric rise from rising Labour star in the 1920s to the development of the fascist movement and the so-called Black Shirts.

Oswald Mosley was considered to be the most able politician of the 1920s, a Labour Prime Minister in making. What caused the dramatic change of direction for this man, who went on to found the British Union of Fascists, renowned for street violence and antisemitism?

What lessons are there for today when nationalism is once more on the rise across the western world and politicians like Trump are able to attack democracy and stir violent protest? Draining the Swamp is a drama that explores these issues and challenges our approach to extremism.

The play covers aspects of Mosley’s career, including his marriage to Diana Mitford at Joseph Goebbels’s house in Berlin, the events leading up to the infamous Battle of Cable Street and the Mosleys’ detention in Holloway Prison during the war.

From the perspective of the 1960s, it sees Mosley pondering his legacy and the opportunities for future political leaders to communicate with and stir the masses.

The tour also includes a performance at Swindon Arts Centre on Friday 19th April.