Nap-poo, Too-dle-oo, Goodbye-ee…

Ten girls came together to produce a show
Nine poppy wreaths are laid in remembrance
Eight black tap shoes are all lined up in a row
Seven hours prep time before performance.
Six soldiers’ letters read out loud by the birds
Five World War One songs, sang with love and with pride
Four wooden brooms creating sounds and not words
Three dancing styles that we each took in our stride.
Two instruments played live on stage and in key
One great adventure these birds have given me.

Works Cited:
Birds Eye View Theatre (2014) 

Little Girl Don’t Cry I Must Say Goodbye..

Dear Reader,

This is my final blog post and I hope you have enjoyed following our performance.

Pearson, F (2014)

Pearson, F (2014)

I have loved the process and seeing it all come together as we had hoped. A fantastic piece that I am proud of and nine new friends that I could not have done it without.

Sincerely Yours

Charlotte

xx

‘It may be forever we part little girl, & it may be for only a while…’

Dear Reader,

I am just writing a few lines to sign off my blog and to thank you for following our process. It has not been an easy one at times but showing our work on Friday 23rd of May has made it all worth while. I did not realise quite how emotional it would be to perform ‘Sincerely Yours.’ I think this was due to the wonderful atmosphere which a live audience provided us.

Enclosed is a photograph of the final number from our performance taken by the lovely Frances Pearson during our dress rehearsal. I think I can speak for each of the birds when I say it was thoroughly enjoyable to put everything we had which was ‘homemade’ onto the stage, not only the scripts, but also the bunting and beautiful poetry too.

 

'Dress Rehearsal' Pearson, F (2014)

‘Dress Rehearsal’ Pearson, F (2014)

The cogs have been turning just as they did in the factory scene and perhaps this may not be the last you hear of Birds Eye View Theatre Company. After researching on the Arts Council England website, there is possibility for ‘Sincerely Yours’ to be revived during the centenary of World War One with a little help from funding sources such as the Hertiage and the Centenary project which has been launched this year!

For now however, I can leave university having experienced a new skill of helping to directing a piece of devised verbatim theatre, something that three years ago I would never of dreamed was possible. Most importantly, I know that I will be leaving the University of Lincoln having made 9 new special friendships. Our aim at at Birds Eye View Theatre was to create theatre which was honest, theatre that reflected what people may have experienced during the First World War. Having listened to the stories of Lauren’s, Charlotte’s and Louise’s Grandma’s I believe we have achieved a reflection which is unique and memorable.

I am now off to prepare for the last of this weeks theatre company shows all of which have offered variety and a range of talent at the LPAC. Tonight’s is called, ‘Take Me By The Tongue’ and will be performed by a company called Hand Me Down Theatre Company. Stay tuned from more from the birds! ‘Na-poo, toodle-oo, goodbye-ee’… for now.

Sincerely Yours,

Lauren Kirby
Birds Eye View Theatre

 

Works Cited:

Arts Council England (2013) [online] Available from http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/ [Accessed 29 May 2014].

Birds Eye View Theatre (2014) How To Make Bunting. [online video] Available from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_T4cLsjRjLA [Accessed 29 May 2014].

Heritage Lottery Fund (2014) [online] Available from http://www.hlf.org.uk/HowToApply/whatwefund/FirstWorldWar/Pages/FirstWorldWar.aspx#.U4c4UCitwWk [Accessed 29 May 2014].

Mooney, C. (2014) Dear War Girls. [blog entry] Available from http://birdseyeviewtheatre.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2014/05/29/dear-war-girls/ [Accessed 29 May 2014].

Pearson, F (2014) Dress Rehearsal Photography.

Pearson, L. (2014) Creating a backing track. [blog entry] Available from http://birdseyeviewtheatre.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2014/04/20/creating-a-backing-track/ [Accessed 29 May 2014].

Pearson, L. (2014) How to make bunting. [blog entry] Available from http://birdseyeviewtheatre.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2014/05/26/how-to-make-bunting/ [Accessed 29 May 2014].

 

A Day in the life of a Musical Director

Dear Reader,

This is the typical day in the life of a musical director…

7.00 am rise and shine

8.00 am plan todays session

11.00 am attend directors meeting

12.00 am run the music session

_72638769_72638768

This is a version by George Asaf and Felix Powell who originally composed the music.

Asaf’s version is composed for male voices, using a lower key. However, because we are a cast of all female actors, I thought it would be appropriate to make the song more feminine with the use of a higher vocal range and using mainly major chords for the guitar and ukulele opposed to minor chords.

Here’s the movement for pack up inspired by the factory movements.

3.00 pm its the end of the session and I always like to send them away motivated for the next session

The birds like to think of this as a Charlotteism, today I said they were all ‘SPECtacualar’

3.00pm get home

5.00pm tea time

11.00 pm bed

11.05 ZZZzzzzzzzz

Yours Sincerely

Charlotte

xx


Works Cited

BBC(2014) Photograph taken of the sheet music for Pack up Your Troubles[online] Available from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-25968407[Accessed on May 3 2014]

 

 

The Past, The Present and The Future

Dear Reader,

Beware this may end up being a slightly gushy post as I am feeling very proud of our company right now!

I will start with the past:

The rehearsal process has been one of collaboration and professionalism. Although, the show was led by its three directors, the company banded together to share ideas and form structures and transitions between scenes.

Pearson, F. (2014) Piecing Together Material

Pearson, F. (2014) Piecing Together Material

This style of collaboration is similar to the work of Tim Etchells and his company Forced Entertainment. We took on a fun developmental process consisting of play which allows you to try out numerous ideas, “leaving behind a trail of failed attempts and nonsense, and…slowly, very slowly, you accumulate a store of scenes and fragments that you love” (Etchells 2012, p. 36).

Now onto the present:

My present is consisting of post-show blues as you can tell by the date of this post. The show was 4 days ago and I miss it terribly.

Pearson, F. (2014) Heart Balloon

Pearson, F. (2014) Heart Balloon

However, I am very proud of how the performance went and this is reflected well in the audience feedback. If you haven’t already checked out our twitter page and have a read of some of the comments from our peers and the venue stage manager. The performance itself, I feel, was the best we have ever performed it.

Pearson, F. (2014) Beginning of the Show

Pearson, F. (2014) Beginning of the Show

Any finally, the future:

So, what is the future for Birds Eye View Theatre? Well, we are unfortunately losing a couple of the birds as they have travelling plans…lucky them! However, we are planning to keep in touch via letters and blogs. So I doubt this will be all you see of us! Throughout this process we have really found our identity and it would be such a shame to let this go as it is an identity that can be revived for many other events. For example, we are considering reforming in a few years’ time for events like the anniversary of women earning the right to vote. Feedback after the show, also suggested that we take the performance to schools. Whether it is teaching them about women’s role in the war or teaching them about dramatic tools such as, shadow work or verbatim, this performance can be utilized in an educational setting. So watch this space reader and supporter, but for now this is Lauren Simpson, actor and part of the marketing team signing off.

Pearson, F. (2014) Birds Signing Off

Pearson, F. (2014) Birds Signing Off

Sincerely Yours

xxx

 

Works Cited:

Etchells, T (2012) ‘In the Silences: A text with very many digressions and forty-three footnotes concerning the process of making performance’, Performance Research, 17, 1, pp. 33-37.

Pearson, F. (2014)

Send the Audience Away With a Smile

Dear Reader,

Send Me Away With A Smile.  Pearson, 2014

Send Me Away With A Smile. Pearson, 2014

As this is the finale song, I wanted to get as much energy into it as possible, this meant getting the girls up on their feet.
We came up with actions to help learning the lyrics and had lots of fun learning it.

I gave the girls options for the final song and this was by far everyone’s favourite, for two reasons. It was apt in our piece about saying goodbye but not wanting to. It is also the end of an era for all of the girls in the show because it’s the last song we will sing at university, so it holds great emotional ties for all the girls, I hope all of this emotion is conveyed.

Sincerely Yours

Charlotte

xxx

Tweaks and Tech: Ten Letters

Here is a sneak peak at our rehearsal in the auditorium the week before the show. As the scene involves shadow puppetry, backing tracking and dialogue from an actor so vocal projection in the auditorium is key.

After running the scene for the first time in the space, I decided it would be beneficial for three actors to speak the text from the front of the stage whilst the remaining actors created shadows behind the pyc.

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’10 Letters Scene’ Pearson, F. (2014).

The photograph above was taken during the dress rehearsal of our show. To access the script for the ‘Ten Letters Scene’  please click here.

Works Cited:

Cox, E. (2014)

Pearson, F (2014)

 

Till We Meet Again

So Sincerely Yours has finished, hopefully just for now. With another four years of remembrance of the First World War you never know what might happen.

poppy projection

Poppy Projection. Pearson, 2014

The performance day ran more smoothly than anticipated. As a tech team we faced complications with two of the projections, the poppy I had made could not be seen when projected onto the black floor, as opposed to the white cyclorama where projections were a lot clearer. The other projection was supposed to be on an armchair covered in a white sheet, reflective of the ‘attic stories’ we originally wanted the verbatim pieces to resemble, which got a different physical representation in the trunk in the Somewhere in France scene. The projection was an incremental progression of numbers to convey the many soldiers who would have died on the first day of the Battle of the Somme in the duration of our performance. Unfortunately the video could not be manipulated to be seen clearly on the sheet without some of the projection ‘bleeding’ onto the wall behind, which would have been seen in the dimmer sections of the performance. Both of these had to be cut unfortunately, but as they did not impact on the performance itself it was just the time making and rehearsing which had been lost. However, despite these minor setbacks we managed to do almost a full run as a cue-to-cue, as there were so many cues in each section of the show for which each person needed to practise. We also managed to finish early after a successful dress rehearsal so we had more time to prepare for the show in the evening.

Somewhere in France trunk. Pearson, 2014.

The show itself went by rapidly, and we all seemed to relax into it. As people say, time really flies when you’re having fun, which I think we all were. By the last song we were incredibly proud of what we had achieved, and I think the show really reflected how much we all enjoyed working together and how much confidence we had in each other. I found myself getting emotional during the Hand on Shoulder verbatim of my Grandma’s words, as if I was finally beginning to understand the significance of why two men wouldn’t say anything, and just put a hand on the other’s shoulder. The message of the show seemed to ring true with the audience, who gave us many lovely comments afterwards, including that the show was us playing ourselves, letting the stories speak for themselves and not trying to play the people in them. One comment that stuck with me was that it wasn’t strictly a ‘feminist’ drama, it was a show about equality, paying respects to and celebrating the lives both of the soldiers and the women who took up their jobs whilst they were at war.

So after the show has been and gone, what can I say an Assistant Stage Manager does?

In truth, a bit of everything. I don’t think I’ve ever been so busy on such a diverse number of tasks. I have assisted the Stage Manager and Production Manager with the technical elements of the show, helping to compile the lighting, sound and projection cue sheets, as well as setting up the stage with props and especially the cyc’. I have embroidered a postcard for the marketing team, created backing tracks for all the songs, to rehearse and perform with, and have sewn bunting and headbands for props and costume. I have made a bird gobo for the verbatim sections and a poppy projection for the finale song. I went to the archives as part of a team and we copied original letters to use in rehearsals as part of our research and I have helped Ellie to teach Ballroom dancing. I have tried to contribute in any way I can, using what skills I have and have eventually found my place within the company. I have loved every minute of it, in rehearsals taking direction, in production meetings assisting with the process and at home creating things for the performance, and I am humbled to have been a part of such an amazing group of women.

Send Me Away With A Smile.  Pearson, 2014

Send Me Away With A Smile. Pearson, 2014

Works Cited

Kirby, L. (2014) Devising ‘Somewhere in France’. [blog entry] Available from http://birdseyeviewtheatre.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2014/05/26/devising-somewhere-in-france/ [Accessed 27 May 2014].

Pearson, F. (2014) Send Me Away With A Smile.

Pearson, F. (2014) Somewhere in France trunk.

Pearson, L. (2014) Birds Eye View embroidered postcard progress. [blog entry] Available from http://birdseyeviewtheatre.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2014/04/07/birds-eye-view-embroidered-postcard-progress/ [Accessed 27 May 2014].

Pearson, L. (2014) Creating a backing track. [blog entry] Available from http://birdseyeviewtheatre.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2014/04/20/creating-a-backing-track/ [Accessed 27 May 2014].

Pearson, L. (2014) Get busy making a gobo. [blog entry] Available from http://birdseyeviewtheatre.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2014/05/02/get-busy-making-a-gobo/ [Accessed 27 May 2014].

Pearson, L. (2014) How to make bunting. [blog entry] Available from http://birdseyeviewtheatre.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2014/05/26/how-to-make-bunting/ [Accessed 27 May 2014].

Pearson, L. (2014) Poppy Projection.

Pearson, L. (2014) The Archives. [blog entry] Available from http://birdseyeviewtheatre.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/2014/02/22/the-archives/ [Accessed 27 May 2014].

Fin de siècle

The show has played, the dances have been danced, the songs sung, the stage lit and the stories told. The birds have performed their debut show Sincerely Yours and have found an identity as a collective.

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Pearson (2014)

On the day of the show the technical issues were resolved by the Tec Team and Birds came together to produce a show that was heart warming and exciting.

The audience of 149 embraced the warm and sincere nature of the company and the feedback has been appreciative. The Birds have achieved the creation of  ‘REAL theatre. Honest theatre. Truthful theatre’ (Birds Eye View, 2014) and along the way, put essence of themselves into the company’s foundations.

The show maybe over but the Producer’s job has not yet finished. As the end of an era dawns the final strings need to be collected and tied off. The finances have to be sorted and put to bed as, although this may not be the last of Birds Eye View Theatre, for now the Birds are taking a break.

Throughout this process there has been an array of ups, downs and difficulties that as a group we have overcome. We entered this process as single undergraduate students yet have emerged as a collective of women who are part of, what could be a professional theatre company. We have produced theatre that has entertained, taught and touched our audience.

The future of Birds Eye View Theatre is one that holds many possibilities. Although the Birds are flying the nest, Sincerely Yours has a national appeal for the next 4 years and 2018 marks the centenary of the end of World War 1 and women’s right to vote. The possibilities are endless so keep you eyes peeled.

For now though, this is the Producer/ Production Manager Signing off.

Sincerely Yours

Jess

Works Cited

Birds Eye View Theatre (2014) Manifesto. [online] Available from http://birdseyeviewtheatre.blogs.lincoln.ac.uk/sample-page/manifesto/ [Accessed 26 May 2014]

Pearson, Frances (2014)

‘A Guide to Creating Verbatim Theatre’

The video below is presented by Robin Belfield, a freelance Theatre maker and the director of Yellowtale Theatre Company. In 2013 Belfield held a theatre workshop at the National Theatre providing a guide to creating verbatim theatre. This video proved extremely useful when creating ‘Sincerely Yours’

Here is a short summary of the ethical rules for your own creating verbatim theatre…

1. Start with a topic: In our case, World War One and how it affected the women of the frontline.

2. Research, Research, Research!: Which included, finding appropriate letters from the archives, visiting the Lincolnshire Life Museum.

louise museum

‘Louise at the Lincolnshire Archives’ Coleridge, E. (2014).

3. Think about who is involved: Discussing and deciding whose stories we wanted to focus on – Grandparents of the company, residents from local care homes and soldiers Billy A. Haydon Lounds & Harry Butt.

archives charlotte

‘Lincolnshire Archive permission slips.’ Mooney, C. (2014)

4. Editing & Condensing!: Careful selection of interviews, footage condensed into one hour!

and the most important for our company ethos…

5. KEEPING THE TRUTH WHOLE!

Upon reflection, the initial process of creating verbatim is the same as our own, however, the rehearsal process differs. The most important rule to take into consideration is remembering to be accurate and sensitive with your material.

Read more about our own devising and learning process in one of my earlier posts, Grandma’s Verbatim

Works Cited:

Coleridge, E. (2014)

Lincolnshire County Council (2014) The Museum of Lincolnshire Life. [online] Lincolnshire. Available from http://www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/visiting/museums/museum-of-lincolnshire-life/ [Accessed 26 May 2014].

Mooney, C. (2014)

National Theatre (2013) A Guide to Creating Verbatim Theatre. [online video] Available from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-a0qNEhCly4 [Accessed 26 May 2014].

SHOW DAY

As a stage manager it is their duty to make sure everything is going smoothly throughout the day. This includes making sure that all the lights, sound and projections are all programmed and ready for the show later on that evening. I assigned jobs to the actors which were waiting patiently in the green room, such as ironing all the bed sheets and pillows cases which were used for the factory scene, and also the cyc and another bed sheet for the projections as it is vital that the audience are able to see the images clearly and also it looks neat and tidy.

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The only problem I faced whilst setting up was two of the projections. One being the video that was meant to have been projected onto a chair. There was something wrong with the format of the video which did not allow the file run through Qlab (a programme that we was using the run the lights, sound and other projections). We tried then to project it onto the wall but still did not work. Unfortunately, we had to cut the video because we realised that also there was too much for the audience to look at on stage and it seemed more of a distraction. The other projection that I was having trouble with was the floor projection of the poppy. The colours was not bright enough and also where it was situated as certain audience members would not be able to see it. But at least I tried the idea out and knew what to work on for next time.

The show in terms of tech, I felt as though it went really well. All the cues were pressed at the right time and there was not one person who was not lit during their time on stage. The music and sounds also worked which the actors responded well to. The live feed, I heard that some of the writing was not seen by parts of the audience so in order for this not to happen next time. Either zoom in more with the camcorder that we used or make sure the writing is written with a big bold pen and is written neatly. The projection on the cyc was also successful in terms of people seeing it and how the stage was lit so the lighting did not bleed into the video.

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 Overall, the show was really good fun to do. As a company we have been very supportive with one another in order for us to achieve our final piece. Because I have taken two roles within the company, stage manager and a performer. I have seen the process in two different ways. When I am in the rehearsal space I am a performer taking directions from our directors then when I am away from the rehearsal space I will be thinking about the previous rehearsal and how I could light a certain section that we have been working on. Or even if we work with a track, then I can start making a folder of all the resources so I can talk with the production team to see which is better to use for the show. It is hard work doing two different roles but I have experienced what it could be like working with a professional theatre company in the industry. This whole experience from day one at rehearsals until the final show day is something I could see myself doing as a career, and that I am very excited to work hard in order to get to it

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Dear Granny Biscuit

Dear Reader,

IMG_7824

My Granny Biscuit, found in an old album in the dining room, she was about 25 when this photograph was taken.

This is my Granny Biscuit, she is now 86 years old and is one of thirteen children. The story that she tells in the video is of my great Grandad Freeman(her father) and great Granny Mooney (my Grandads mother). My Granny discovered when it was nearing her wedding day that when Grandad Freeman was going off to war he had left his job as a postman. In the absense of Grandad Freeman, Great Granny Mooney took over the job of delivering thousands of letters from the front line to the houses of their loved ones, sometimes delivering good news but often not.

Great Grandma

Great Grandma Mooney

Great Grandma Mooney took on the role of a Postwoman and my Granny and Grandad found out near their wedding day

Granny and Granddad on their wedding day

Granny and Granddad on their wedding day

that their parents had had a connection from the war, in that they had exchanged jobs. I found this out on a night at the beginning of the process where we were having a game of scrabble ( that she won hands down)and wanted to know more.
I called my Granny and asked her if I could do an interview with her to learn more about it.
She found it incredibly hard to talk about but decided to go ahead and tell me all she knew. Here’s a section of the interview that I will show to the girls and see if we can use it in the show

Hope you have enjoyed having a look at a bit of my family history

Sincerely Yours,

Charlotte

xx

Why World War One? A reflection.

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.

(Day, R. , 2014)

(Day, R. , 2014)

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.

(Chapman. J, 2014)

(Chapman. J, 2014)

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:

The Second Minute

Where we sit on a Local Scale

 Works Cited:

.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.

 

“In his hands”

So here we find ourselves, the night before own big push on the front line of the stage “in his hands” (Milne, 1918). The night before our first performance of “Sincerely Yours” and for some reason I have not been going over my lines or my dance routines as relentlessly as I normally would. Instead, I have been drawn to the letters from the First World War boys again. And despite our performance being more focused on the roles, positions and states of the women during The First World War I find myself connecting with the women in the closest way by reading the letters that the soldiers sent home to their sweethearts, family and friends.

00000238-3
(Vaughan, W. McMaster University Libraries)

Some talk with passion and yearning, some with hope, some accepting of their fate before they even know it and some talking seemingly about nothing of deep meaning. However, it is these letters that are most interesting and arguably say far more than those men who literally spelt out how much they missed home. These men who were “quiet” in what they were saying, often commenting on the weather, that they were well and hoped their letter recipient was the same, or that they couldn’t say much. However, the recipients of the letters could find everything the needed to know and just how their boy was doing in the rows and rows of kisses that would fill the bottom of the page.

28th May, 1918,

Dear Father,

Just a few lines in answer to your letter which I received today.

Yes I got my food alright and you can have supper if you like to go for it, and you can bet I always go for supper. I am taking your advice and eating all I can.

I will see the officer about the allowance in a day or so, as I have heard today that two or three boys mothers are receiving an allowance, but I don’t know how much.

Well, I think I will have to close now. As I haven’t anything more to say just at present. Hoping you are quite well.

From your loving son,

Ted.
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
PS. Love to Dolly and Frank 

One of the roles that officers in the Great War had to fulfil was to read and censor every single letter sent back to England in fear that it might reveal some vital piece of information that would prove dangerous in the wrong hands. However, these rows of kisses was the one thing that would never be censored. The men and boys would expose themselves as to how much they loved the person they were sending the letter to, show their fear and longing to be reassured and generally that regardless of how little interesting content their letter had, they were alive and saying all they needed to in the rows of x’s. Some men would do kisses all over the bottoms of their letters and some even squeezing kisses up the sides of pages.

France24 March, 1917

My dearest Emily
Just a few lines dear to tell you I am still in the land of the living and keeping well, trusting you are the same dear, I have just received your letter dear and was very pleased to get it. It came rather more punctual this time for it only took five days. We are not in the same place dear, in fact we don’t stay in the same place very long… we are having very nice weather at present dear and I hope it continues… Fondest love and kisses from your
loving Sweetheart
Will
xxxxxxxxxxx

And a common theme would be that their fate was “out of their hands”, “in the hands of the Lord”, they could not foresee what was going to happen but “all [they could] do was put [themselves] in God’s hands for him to decide” (Earley, 1918). They knew that they had had all the training available, all the luck and well wishers hoping they prospered but it was out of their hands and what was going to be was just going to be. Upon reading these letters tonight, I have never particularly noticed this theme in the letters, but tonight of all nights, it has rung more true to our 10 girls theatre company than ever before. The show has had all the rehearsals possible, we have our families, friends and loved ones wishing us well, sending us messages of luck and belief and now it is out of our hands and tomorrow night: what will be will be.

 

Works Cited

Frank Earley, ‘Pray for me’ (1918).

Ted Poole, ‘Becoming a Man’ (1918).

Will Martin, ‘Forever Sweethearts’ (1917).

All above accessed on http://aggsliterature.wordpress.com/wwi-letters-home/ on Thursday 22nd May 2014.

Vaughan, W. McMaster University Libraries. Accessed on May 22 2014, http://pw20c.mcmaster.ca/case-study/socks-boys-marion-simpson-and-knitters-first-world-war

Waiting…

image

Cox, E 2014

Today has been our technical rehearsal so Jamee, Jess and Louise have been running around like headless chickens, whilst everyone else has been waiting in the green room to see if we are needed. So we are waiting, waiting for our four hours. I have currently supplied a pencil to Jess when she manically ran in asking for one.

Cox 2014

Cox, E 2014

I know we are not waiting that long but each time Jamee, Jess and Louise come into the room we all look up expecting news. We don’t know who they are going to need. I know I can’t really compare it but it reminded me of the women, mothers, daughters and sweethearts who would wait for the postman to arrive in the morning. They would either receive good news in the form of a letter from their boys and men, or they would have a knock at the door and receive some of the worst news they would ever hear. It must have been excruciating, I really don’t know how they would have coped, always wondering, always thinking and always missing them. Waiting, waiting, waiting…

 

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Cox, E 2014