Why did we choose to do a piece on WWI, you might ask? Well the obvious answer might be that this year is the start of the centenary commemoration for WWI. Another answer is that we are University of Lincoln students and Lincolnshire is renowned for its involvement in the war with the first tanks being built just down the road from the campus and its prominence in aircraft and aerial combat. The final answer we could give is that we hear a lot about trench warfare and the soldiers on the front line during the war but we rarely hear about those on the Home Front, doing their bit for the war; especially women.
As we have journeyed through the past few months, we have encountered many more projects that are taking place in the near future for the centenary of WWI. This includes events at museums and archives, such as the Lincolnshire Life Museum and also performances in the local area as well as a National scale. For example The Second Minute was recently performed at The Terry O’Toole Theatre which a few of the birds went to see. It is a play written by Andy Barrett who has taken letters from archives of the Sherwood Foresters regiment during WWI, which resonates strongly with our own performance as he uses the soldiers’ real words You can hear all about The Second Minute from Louise, the link is below.
As well as other projects taking place on a local scale, with ‘Sincerely Yours’ we have tried to connect to the audience on a personal level. Not only with the letters of Harry Butt and Billy Lounds, but with our own relatives. Lauren Simpson, Emily, Louise and Charlotte have all found information, stories and artefacts that have been included throughout the process and some in the final performance. After our work in progress we were told that the personal side of our performance should be acknowledged even more in order for the audience to connect with the piece. In order to do this we made sure that the audience knew that some of the voices, words and footage were from our relatives, we also connected through with with our programmes for the show. Each programme had a letter from one of us from the process of the piece, any letter dated between January and May, we also styled the programme in a postcard to symbolise the silk postcards many families received from soldiers during the war.
Also on a personal and local scale, many of the letters we use in the performance are from soldiers Harry Butt and Billy Lounds who were local boys who went to France leaving their sweethearts behind. Whilst reading the letters there were references to places in Lincoln like Barclay’s Bank, the Arboretum and the Cathedral. Places that we have walked past or visited over the past three years, sometimes everyday. One letter that I strongly connected to was Billy’s letter from the 27th May 1917, where he talks of the cathedral. I’ve often visited the cathedral to get away from work, stress, to think or just because I wanted to go. So to read his letter and to have him speak of the cathedral in such a way, it makes you admire what is around you, especially when you think of where he was at the time of writing it.
Link to blog posts:
.Nottingham Playhouse (2014) The Second Minute. [online] Nottingham: Nottingham Playhouse. Available from: http://www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk/whats-on/other/the-second-minute/. [Accessed on 25th May 2014]
.Pullen, R. (2014) Our Florence, the girl who just wanted to do her bit for the war. The Lincolnshire Echo, 3rd April, 10.
Pullen, R. (2014) The Tank- Made in Lincoln. The Lincolnshire Echo. 3rd April, 8.
.The Lincolnshire Echo (2014) Women at War. 3rd April, 28.
.The Lincolnshire Echo (2014) Aviation- The Beginning. 3rd April. 18.