The Fields of War

A Brian Johnstone & Chrys Salt collaboration
touring venues in Scotland since 2014


A multi-media performance centred on original poetry evoking war and the losses of war to mark the anniversaries of the First & Second World Wars and to commemorate the various wars of the later 20th and early 21st centuries.

'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 poetry-films by Alastair Cook, Steve Smart and Ken Smyth with original music for solo cello by Rebecca Rowe, poem settings by Katherine Gillham and an audio visual realisation of a poem performed by Trio Verso.

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, from Dundee University Review of the Arts. Read the full review here.


Scottish Poetry Library, Edinburgh: 7th September, 2019
Islay Book Festival, Bowmore: 29th September, 2018
Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, Sanquhar: 31st May 2018
Dumfries & Galloway Arts Festival, Whithorn: 30th May 2018
Southside Fringe Festival, Glasgow: 23rd May 2017
The Byre Theatre, St Andrews: 13th November 2015
The Birks Cinema, Aberfeldy Arts Festival: 1st November 2014
The Maltings Theatre, Berwick-upon-Tweed: 13th July 2014
Natinal Library of Scotland, Edinburgh: 8th July 2014
Scottish Writers Centre, CCA, Glasgow: 27th May 2014
The Bakehouse, Gatehouse of Fleet: 29th March 2014