A screening of The Nervous State to a room full of school pupils
Video, 13 mins

A History from Within

New Approaches to the Teaching of the History of Appeasement in the Classroom

The Knowledge Exchange project ‘New Approaches to Teaching the History of Appeasement in the Classroom’, led by Prof. Julie V. Gottlieb, has brought together historians, writers, actors, with high school history teachers and their students. At the centre of the project is playwright-director Nicola Baldwin’s dramatic adaptation of F.L. Lucas’s Journal Under the Terror, 1938, as the play “The Nervous State”, in collaboration with Gottlieb.

On 19 April, 2023, we held a schools event for 80 pupils from four schools. This included a live read-through of Baldwin’s play, followed by three immersive, hands-on exercises (journal writing, documents analysis, and a scene study) to facilitate historical empathy. On 7 June, 2023, we held a Teachers’ Conference, and different presenters approached the study of appeasement from the perspectives of scholarship, study, sources, and stage.

The project and Kitty Turner’s film have been generously funded by the Max Batley Legacy and the University of Sheffield QR Policy Fund.




The Performance

  • Written and Directed by Nicola Baldwin
  • Robin Simpson as Peter Lucas
  • Zoe Templeman-Young as Prudey Lucas
  • Laura Sophie Helbig as Gudrun/Narrator

The Film

Special thanks to

  • King Edward VII School, Sheffield
  • Chaucer School, Sheffield
  • Outwood Academy, Shafton
  • The Manchester Grammar School
  • Luke Hilton
  • Samantha Garwood
  • Hallam Roffey
  • Jamie Jenkins
  • Linda Billam
  • Kai Parmar
  • Edd Poole
  • Jade Burnett
  • Lily Abrams
  • Emily Calcraft
  • Andrew Wrenn
  • Grace Hickman
  • Cecilia Tricker-Walsh
  • Neil Fox
  • Manon McCoy
  • Kevin Harris

See also