A Haunted Existence: Show & Archive Workshops

In 2019, BID’s Tom Marshman presented a new show, ‘A Haunted Existence’, featuring original archive research, and lead workshops in schools and with community groups as part of his tour. The show blends creative technology, music and projection as he retraced the forgotten true story of a young local man arrested for gross indecency. The show was supported by Arts Council England, and the workshops and educational resources supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Learn more about Tom and historian Jeanie Sinclair’s work on the project here.

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.

This show toured in 2019 with educational workshops funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Click here to download the educational resources pack, which gives an insight into the historical basis of the work. 

Lead image by Paul Samuel White.