A Haunted Existence

Dates and Times

Wed 2 - Fri 4 Oct 2019 at 9pm

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Ticket information

£12/£10 (concession)

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Featured in our Autumn 2019 programme. Browse the full season here

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Presented by Tom Marshman

In the early 1950s, 17-year-old Geoffrey Patrick Williamson was on the Exeter to Bristol train when he got into a conversation with another man, also travelling in his train compartment, who accused Geoffrey of making ‘improper approaches’. The other man was a Railway Officer in plain clothes. Geoffrey was arrested at the next stop, Taunton. When questioned, Williamson revealed the names of men he had had sex with, so beginning a domino effect of arrests, prison sentences, aversion therapy and suicide. 

A Haunted Existence  weaves together history and hearsay to highlight turmoil, stigma and heartbreak and tell the story of Britain’s very recent, shameful past. 

The show deals specifically with the persecution of gay men in the 1950s when sex between consenting male adults was illegal. Referencing a true story that resulted in overdose and suicide, imprisonment, aversion therapy, the details of which may be traumatic for some. There are moments of loud music throughout. 


Supported by Arts Council England 

“London will recall a ‘spate of homophobic arrests that rocked a village'” Click here to check out Tom Marshman’s interview with the Brighton and Hove Independent about Geoffrey Patrick Williamson & the story behind A Haunted Existence. 


“It is a work of exquisite, tender beauty. A unique evening at the theatre.” – ★★★★ Spy in the Stalls

“This is the irreverent, fearlessly truthful, revolutionary reaction of Geoffrey Patrick Williamson… Haunting & hilarious.” – ★★★★ Reviews Hub

“An ambitious and historically vital multimedia play that deals with the micro and macro effects of being a gay man in 1954 and beyond” – ★★★★ Everything Theatre

“It tugs at the heartstrings and makes you chuckle in equal measure as the performance explores how men would either succumb to or overcome their suffering.” ★★★★ Bristol Post

“A necessary effort to unearth and exhume stories that are still excluded from our straight-laced textbooks” – A Younger Theatre

Thoroughly researched account of the lives of gay men in post-war Britain” – The Stage

“Messages from the other side: Tom Marshman’s solo show summons the spirits of men persecuted for being gay in 1950s Britain.” – Exeunt

About the artist

Toms shows are hand crafted, intimate, naughty, humorous, highbrow, low brow, sensory, stomach churning, conversational, sentimental and physically demanding. Tom has outrageous costumes and smart suits, a poetic voice and brutally honest language. His shows are low camp, moving, fragile and memorable. Made to engage, seduce and entertain. 

www.tommarshman.com | @tommymarshman | hauntedexistence tom.marshman | tommymarshmanperforms 

Image credit (c) Tom Marshman 

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