First staged at London's National Theatre in 1980, having been commissioned by Peter Hall, The Romans in Britain contrasts Julius Caesar's Roman invasion of Celtic Britain with the Saxon invasion of Roma-Celtic Britain, and finally Britain's involvement in Northern Ireland during The Troubles of the late twentieth century. As these scenes bleed into one ather, Brenton suggests what it might have been like for these people to meet. Three Roman soldiers sexually assault a young druid priest. A lone, wounded Saxon soldier stumbles into a field, a nightmare made real. An army intelligence officer begins to lose his mind in the Irish fields. Brenton's sinewy vernaculars summon a lost history of cultural collision and oppression, of fear and sorrow. This edition features an introduction by Philip Roberts, Emeritus Professor of Drama & Theatre Studies at the University of Leeds, and a foreword by director Sam West.
Howard Brenton is a British dramatist, noted for his controversial political plays of the 1970s and 80s. He became resident dramatist at the Royal Court in 1972, following on from David Hare. His plays include Revenge, Brassneck (a collaboration with David Hare), The Churchill Play, Epsom Downs, The Romans in Britain, Pravda (also a colloboration with Hare), Berlin Bertie, Paul, Never So Good, and In Extremis. He also wrote the TV programme Spooks and has translated many plays into English. In 2011 he won a Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Play for his Anne Boleyn.