On Sunday 10th September, Imagineer Productions began their Staffordshire tour of War Bride with a performance at the Museum of Cannock Chase.
The theatrical production is set during World War 1 and follows the story of two friends who sign up and train together before being sent out to the front line.
We began the day with a talk from local historian Patrick Corfield who set the scene brilliantly and gave a real flavour of what life would have been like during that time, particularly for people living locally in Hednesford and Cannock.
Patrick very amusingly introduced the audience to front pages of local newspapers at the time which included headlines such as ‘Local bicycles in head on collision at busy juntion!’ He also gave a fascinating insight into local workers at the famous colliery here in Hednesford, many of whom were boys of just 11 and 12 years old.
Following this we were treated to the first performance of War Bride delivered by the cast of Imagineer. The piece is an emotionally charged tale of two friends who sign up to fight for their country and subsequently embark on a journey of friendship, comradeship, chaos, tragedy, devastation and mass bloodshed. The performance was incredibly moving and underpinned by a fantastic soundtrack which captured the mood perfectly.
Students from Staffordshire University Academy then participated in a 2 hour workshop helping to devise their own version of the production. Roles integrated into the piece included women left on the home front who received letters from loved ones, and men who failed to sign up through either refusal or necessity. The students performed these roles in a very heartfelt way and were commended by Imagineer actors for their professionalism.
A fantastic day was had by all and considering the weather on the day, both performances attracted a modest audience. The project gave students the opportunity to connect with local history and really get a sense of what it felt like to be alive at the time of a devastating world event.
War Bride continues it’s tour this week with performances and workshops in Burton, Perton, and Cannock Chase. For more info visit http://www.staffordshiregreatwar.com