War stories come to life on stage

Just Regional
Aug 8, 2014 2 mins read

Pupils from Arden Grove Infant and Nursery School and students from Hellesdon High Sixth Form Centre were involved in a special performance at Norwich Theatre Royal on August 1 to commemorate the centenary of the First World War.

The project centred around the stories of six people who originated from, lived in or worked in Norfolk during the Great War.

The theatre, project artists and volunteers worked with six school groups, including one from each of the two local schools, in workshops, outings and classroom-based sessions to create short pieces about the lives of the casestudies as part of the To End All Wars performance.

The pieces encompassed drama, dance, music and poetry, and were linked together by live, on-stage narration by John Hurt.

Also interspersing the performances were recorded First World War poetry readings by actors Simon Callow and Geraldine James, Baroness Shirley Williams of Crosby, whose mother, Vera Brittain, wrote the iconic First World War memoir Testament of Youth, former head of the British Army General Lord Dannatt, Bishop of Norwich Right Revd Graham James, news correspondent Nina Nannar, Olympic boxer Anthony Ogogo and former Norwich City footballer Darren Eadie.

Arden Grove’s performance was an interpretation of the importance of the roles women took on during the war, following their studies of Olive Crosswell, a Land Army girl.

Meanwhile, the students from Hellesdon High Sixth Form Centre took war hero Robert Millington Knowles MC as their inspiration, using the many letters which he sent to his family during the war to create a piece that reflected his upbeat character while also demonstrating the horror of the situation he was in.

The learning side of the programme was delivered though a dedicated website where schools could find materials including fact files, historical documents, questions/activities and a toolkit to begin their own studies into local heroes.

Norwich Theatre Royal also worked closely with Norfolk Integrated Education Advisory Service (NIEAS) to ensure the learning programme was accessible to all schools and supported the New National Curriculum.

Pictures by Julia Holland – www.all-about-image.co.uk

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