Broadway Theatre in Letchworth Garden City is marking the centenary of the end of the Great War this autumn through film, spoken word, music and drama.
Not About Heroes – Sun 21 Oct - is an award-winning play by Stephen MacDonald about the unique friendship between celebrated World War One poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon. The story celebrates the centenary of the Armistice and the meeting of both poets in Craiglockhart Hospital in 2017 where they bonded over their hatred of war and love of poetry.
The play won a Fringe First award at the Edinburgh Festival. Owain Gwynnas plays Owen and Daniel Llewelyn, who won Best Actor for the role at the Wales Theatre Awards, plays Sassoon. Skilful writing, inspiring acting, the strength of friendship and a passion for words make this an exciting drama suitable for all ages.
Private Peaceful - Tues 20 & Weds 21 Nov - is the powerful story of Private Thomas ‘Tommo’ Peaceful, a young soldier awaiting the firing squad at dawn. This play is an adaptation of the novel Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo, the third Children’s Laureate, who was inspired by a visit to Ypres where he learned that many young soldiers were court martialled and shot for cowardice during the First World War.
The play is coming to Letchworth from the West End and is suitable for ages 8+. It is a great introduction to the power of theatre, and as Tommo looks back at his life, including his childhood in rural Devon and first days at school, it is guaranteed to move audiences of all ages.
A Day to Remember - Sat 10 Nov - is a musical and spoken Remembrance event by performance poet and gifted wordsmith Toby Thompson together with the lively and talented community choir Letchworth City Chorus. Toby Thompson, who has performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company and at the National Portrait Gallery, will tell the stories of young conscripts in the trenches and their mothers and sweethearts at home. His words will be interwoven with beautiful and haunting music performed by the Letchworth City Chorus (Great British Prom Winners 2017).
The choir will sing The Armed Man by composer Sir Karl Jenkins, a piece they last sang in the battlefields of Normandy in 2014 to commemorate the D-Day landings.
They Shall Not Grow Old - Tues 16 Oct – is a ground-breaking new film to mark the 100 year anniversary of the end of World War One from director Peter Jackson. The film will be beamed live to Letchworth from the British Film Institute London Film Festival and will include a Q&A with Peter Jackson hosted by Mark Kermode. Peter Jackson brings alive the faces and voices of men who fought in the Great War using cutting edge technology. Colourising original footage from the Imperial War Museums’ archives to look as if it were filmed yesterday, he combines the images with audio sourced from the BBC archives. The result is a level of detail that has never been seen before and a greater understanding of the humility and humanity of a generation.
Beth Dawes, Marketing Manager for Broadway Theatre says: “We feel that it is important to mark the centenary of the end of the Great War and we are delighted to be able to do this through arts and culture. We believe that our series of four shows is creatively diverse and will offer thought-provoking perspectives of the First World War. We have put a lot of thought into creating a programme that will move and inspire different audiences. It is a privilege to help people to remember and reflect on the sacrifice and futility of war through the artistry of the performers and the power of the pictures painted in words and music.”