The Fields of War

Brian Johnstone & Chrys Salt in collaboration

A mixed-media performance centred on original poetry evoking war and the losses of war to mark the centenary of the First World War and to mourn the various wars of the later 20th century.

'A reflective and often intense outpouring of experience.' Dundee University Review of the Arts
'Evocative and poignantly powerful work' 

Scottish Writers Centre
'...made fresh those expressions of outrage, humanity and hope’  Edinburgh Writers Club

Two award-winning poets, Brian Johnstone & Chrys Salt MBE combine to present a live event commemorating the wars of the past 100 years: from Flanders to Iraq – from The Blitz to Bosnia. Centered on original war poems, from both a personal perspective and from a historical point of view, their broad sweep of contemporary poetry, with counterpointing prose, poetry-film and original music, ranges across the century from 1914 to the present day. The performance includes a poetry-film by Alastair Cook, with original music for solo cello by Rebecca Rowe, and a poem setting for tenor, harp and string quartet by Katherine Gillham featured in a poetry-film by Ken Smyth.

'We won the Second World War. We liberated Iraq and Afghanistan. Such groupings have no place in Johnstone and Salt’s performance. They construct their category. Its people are those betrayed by “duty”, its places the deserter’s hideout or bomb-blasted house. In these are found individual conflicts of emotions, and collective tensions between family, community, and nation. The Fields of War comprise a site for their expression. Whether long-buried, raw, or mediated by experience, Johnstone and Salt deliver these emotions alive.' Patrick Adamson, DURA (Dundee University Review of the Arts) Read the full review here.

Make a Booking

Performances last approximately one hour but, with advance warning, can be tailored to suit specific event or venue requirements. For enquiries about availability and costs for this inspiring double-bill email
Both Chrys Salt & Brian Johnstone are registered with the Scottish Book Trust and can be booked for events in Scotland funded via Live Literature Scotland.


The Bakehouse, Gatehouse-of-Fleet, Galloway: 29th March 2014
Scottish Writers' Centre, CCA, Glasgow: 27th May 2014
National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh: 8th July 2014
The Maltings, Berwick-upon-Tweed: 13th July 2014

Aberfeldy Festival, The Birks Cinema, Aberfeldy: 1st November 2014
Byre Theatre, St Andrews: 13th November 2015
Southside Fringe Festival, Glasgow: 23rd May 2017